How Healthcare Companies Find Relevant Intel on Social Media

Data always reveals unexpected consumer intel, but novel insight isn’t necessarily valuable insight. With an increasingly high amount of health literacy amongst patients and caregivers, extracting relevant intel on social media is imperative – and challenging. Let’s help you simplify the process, by offering ways to quickly cut through the noise and surface insight that matters.

ultimate how to guide for social and media analytics

Many healthcare companies make sourcing consumer and caregiver insight harder than it needs to be – but who can blame them? The sheer quantity of conversations happening on social media makes manual searches outdated before they’ve even scratched the surface. And many analytics tools offer little by way of clarification, as they fail to pinpoint real-time, actionable insight in a sea of seemingly relevant surface conversation.

Case in point, below we see the “healthcare challenges” conversation offering very general intel, but a more nuanced understanding happens when we apply a personal narrative theme to filter the insight:

infographic nuanced healthcare challenges

Here, we’ll share key tactics for uncovering this insight, including:

  • Monitoring relevant forums, websites and blogs for candid chatter
  • Broadening your patient demographic profile
  • Developing a content strategy to maximize engagement

Monitoring Relevant Channels for Candid Chatter

In a recent webinar with Enviza on How Cerner Enviza Uses Digital and Social Media Data to Boost Patient-Centricity, we explored ways to surface relevant from forums and other relevant sources, including websites and blogs. And they were able to dial it in more specifically, in fact, to see where people would end up in the UK and in the U.S., discovering a variety of destinations, including general discussion forums for rare diseases to highly medically relevant websites. And this is a great first step in a topic search, as understanding where consumers are discussing relevant topics reveals relevant insight!


From there, examining conversations more in depth reveals the level of awareness around treatment options, what type of interaction consumers are having with HCPs, and also how they discuss developments of new treatments happening in the market. Consumers regularly ask and answer each others’ questions, offering a world of insight around what is working for them, what isn’t – and what, if any, misperceptions around treatments exist.

People often speak very candidly about their experiences, sharing information about what they went through, including:

  • Any adverse events they may have experienced
  • The results they had
  • Treatment cycles they went through
  • Their interaction with hospitals
  • Interactions with other patients
  • Interactions with HCPs

And then there are differences between audience segments to note as well – and this is also something that can be segmented. We see differences in how a patient and caregivers behave and discuss disease challenges, treatments, and progression – and it varies by channel as well.

For example, chatter on Twitter is mostly industry type of discussion and conversation; Instagram is a showcase for resilience and hope, with a more positive message. The differences vary by healthcare challenge, but the vibe is definitely different for each based on many factors – and all of this means HCPs must broaden existing patient demographic profiles to accommodate this variety.

Broadening Your Patient Demographic Profile

Health equality is an important consideration for every HCP, and this ties into the need to broaden one’s patient demographic as well. Having a variety of viewpoints is an essential element for any clinical trial, and for patient advocacy groups.

HCPs that capture experiences from a spectrum of sources will create offerings that more closely align with the needs of an incredibly vocal online audience. And it will help them target underserved segments facing accessibility challenges – a group that is online searching for options and freely sharing insight around their struggles. Also – patients notice brands that take action in this respect, as do an increasing number of organizations that track this type of advocacy:


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A post shared by Billings Clinic (@billingsclinic)

A big part of this understanding includes having an understanding of the age groups talking about you online. Below, we see 18-24 year olds exhibiting a noticeable uptick in healthcare conversation this past month, indexing higher with this group when compared against general Twitter conversations for this age range.

And with the ability to investigate the “why” behind the “what” we can quickly determine that BTS is generating the buzz, with a band member sharing that he’s healthy: 

This insight may not feel earth-shattering, but it can be for a pharmaceutical brand seeking to connect with a younger consumer base. Many have the ability to partner with an influencer of BTS’ stature, and even those who don’t – they can partner with relevant micro-influencers that attract target audience engagement. It’s all simple to sort out with a few minutes of investigation in NetBase Quid!

Developing a Content Strategy to Maximize Engagement

As HCPs work to uncover insight, a content strategy emerges. As we drill down with more specific searches, as detailed above, we capture a more in-depth understanding of so much:

  1. Where patients are engaging
  2. What patients are saying about treatment and treatment options
  3. How various patient and advocate segments are interacting, and distinct challenges facing each
  4. New and underserved communities and their specific pain point

By creating a crosstab of key indicators that make sense for the area of service, HCPs can segment their understanding further to capture insight around responses to medication, targeted therapy, chemotherapy. Or, it can explore various diets that patients discuss, as well as vaccinations, radiation, etc. And maybe you just want an overarching view of your topic, using different indicators segmented by gender: 

And now, we can add all of that to that the very specific language each uses as they talk about their hopes, fears, successes, and challenges. We know what, where and even a good bit of why – and now we’ve even revealed how. The focus is on how they talk about things, not just what they’re saying. And we look closely at not only their language, but the sentiment attached to each and the amount of passion they feel when discussing a health care provider or relevant topic. 

From there, we can examine the sources consumers are sharing – and armed with that intel, as well as the channels where they interact, we can craft messaging that answers their most pressing needs and then share it on the channels and in news media they currently consume. It will feel like it has been made specifically for them – because it has been. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to craft ‘made for you’ messaging that hits home with your potential patients too!

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