Social media is a powerful tool for the patients, caretakers, and advocates; it provides an arena to learn, share experiences, and develop support networks around specific medical conditions.
For clinical researchers, social media presents opportunities to gain insight into the patients’ perspectives. By listening to patients, researchers can develop more patient-centric clinical trials with more effective protocols.
When it comes to patient recruitment for clinical trials, we can utilize social media communities, advocates, and conversations to share information about clinical trials through IRB-approved messages that drive potential patients to a study website or research site.
An important part of effective networking, social listening, and recruitment on social media is a shareable hashtag.
Simply put, hashtags are a way to organize and categorize social media posts around a certain topic. They allow people to quickly find information, join in on a conversation, and become part of the news flow for a certain topic or condition.
Hashtags are important in the clinical trial space as they represent a simple way to:
- Build recognition and awareness around a cause or condition
- Reach a larger audience with your message
- Help communities come together
- Examples: #LCAM for Lung Cancer Awareness Month or #Crohnies for Crohn’s patients
- Encourage users to explore content and treatment options
- Follow or join conversations around a particular topic
- Share live updates from a healthcare event or conference
- Participate in important Twitter conversations
- Identify potential advocates or influential people and organizations within a disease community
Hashtags don’t need to be anything flashy. Something the disease name or acronym is enough to bring together people and insights. The key is finding the most popular and relevant hashtags for your topic rather than creating new ones (unless, of course, you’re looking to start a new campaign, movement, or conversation). Some communities have worked to streamline the hashtags being used to ensure conversations are easy to find, so be mindful of what others are using before you post.
Want to learn more about how using hashtags or other outreach tactics can enhance your patient recruitment efforts? Contact us with questions.