KOLs, make way for DOLs

By Jennifer Webb


Social media has become a powerful tool for communication, education, and engagement in the healthcare industry. Many HCPs (healthcare professionals) use social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs to share their expertise, insights, and opinions with their peers and the public. The HCPs known as Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) are changing how healthcare information is shared and consumed.

DOLs reach further than KOLs

DOLs are not just traditional Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) with a large following and a high reputation in their fields. They’re HCPs passionate about healthcare and have a knack for clear and concise scientific communication. DOLs aren’t motivated by self-promotion, but by the desire to educate, engage, and challenge their audiences. They’re also experts at creating relevant, trustworthy content that resonates with their followers.

DOLs are powerful influencers

DOLs can significantly impact healthcare decision-making at an individual and organisational level. They can influence public health policies, clinical trial recruitment, treatment guidelines, disease awareness initiatives, patient support programs, and more. DOLs can also provide valuable feedback and insights to healthcare companies on their marketing materials, messaging, data, products, and services.

Tips for effective DOL engagement

But how can healthcare companies effectively engage with DOLs and leverage their potential? How can they build authentic and long-term relationships with these influential online HCPs? And how can they embrace social media as part of their marketing strategy to promote their brand and products?

Here are some tips and best practices for healthcare companies to consider:

Identify the right DOLs for your objectives

Not all DOLs are created equal. Depending on your goals and target audience, you need to find the DOLs who are relevant, influential, and resonant for your specific topic or therapeutic area.

  • Relevance means that their content matches your objectives and interests.
  • Influence means they have a large, engaged following who trust their opinions.
  • Resonance means that their content is frequently shared and discussed by others.

Once you have identified DOLs who are relevant, influential and resonate with your objectives, you need to learn more about them. Understand their background, expertise, interests, preferences, values, motivations, challenges, and pain points. Get to know the content they create or share, what platforms they use, what tone they adopt, what topics they cover or avoid, and what sources they trust or distrust.

The more you know about your DOLs, the better you can tailor your engagement strategy to suit their needs and expectations.

Provide valuable content that educates and engages

One of the most important ways to engage with DOLs is to provide them with valuable educational, engaging, trustworthy and actionable content.

When it comes to delivering content, you can choose from various formats, including articles, blogs, white papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, and e-books. There are various topics at your disposal, such as disease awareness, clinical data, treatment guidelines, patient stories, best practices, case studies, expert opinions, and more.

In summary, it’s crucial to provide content that:

  • Adds value to the DOLs and their followers.
  • Helps your audience learn something new, solve a problem, answer a question, or spark a conversation.
  • Isn’t overly promotional or sales-y but meaningful, educational, and engaging.

You can also co-create content with DOLs by inviting them to participate in your content creation process. And by all means, ask for feedback too.

Why not find out more about us or get in touch for a no-obligation conversation about the biggest challenges you are facing?

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