New MicroMass Study of Social Media Behavior Offers Connection Planning Insights for Healthcare Marketers

May 4, 2010

CARY, N.C. and MORRISTOWN, N.J., May 4 /PRNewswire/ — Want to connect with Americans who are most likely to seek and share health advice? Look to Facebook. But those who actually maintain the best health spend more time on sites like MSNBC and CoolSavings, while those who devote the least attention to their health favor sites like YouTube. These are among the findings of a new social media segmentation study by MicroMass Communications Inc., a world leader in behavioral marketing.

The study, combining original MicroMass research with national market data from the vast Simmons database, was undertaken to identify how and why U.S. adults use social media, explore their attitudes toward healthcare and medicine, and develop insights into the best ways of exchanging healthcare information via social media’s expanding array of interactive options.

“Social media is still unexplored territory for most pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device marketers,” said Alyson Connor, vice president and group director of strategic services at MicroMass. “This research gives marketers new insights into social media users and where and how to effectively engage with them.”

Four main audience groups emerged from the MicroMass research, distinguished by shared personality traits and common social media habits. A snapshot of each group follows, along with a glimpse into their health-related attitudes and behaviors and comments by Connor on ways of effective ways of connecting with each group.

Power Socialites love being in the spotlight, are early adopters, and use social media to voice their opinions, meet others, and expand their personal visibility. Favorite sites include Facebook and Match.com.

Although Power Socialites get sick more often and don’t work at eating a well-balanced diet, most claim that friends ask their advice about health and nutrition. Power Socialites look for and trust well-known brands, surpassing all other groups in agreeing with the statements “Most expensive medicines are usually the best” and “I always look for most-advertised medicines.”

Connor says that the key to connecting with Power Socialites is to leverage their view that social media is a stage for expressing themselves to the world. “Web sites with Twitter and Facebook feeds, for instance, help them amplify their influence.”

Sincere Influentials maintain strong relationships with established friends and are constantly looking for ways of improving the quality of their lives. They use social media to support their close-knit relationships and to share advice and recommendations. Favorite sites include Evite.com and Craigslist as well as Facebook.

Sincere Influentials make health part of their daily lives, getting regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet. They score the highest of all groups on the statements “Friends ask my advice about health and nutrition” and “I’ll pay anything when it concerns my health.” They are more likely than other groups to independently explore treatment options and challenge their doctors’ recommendations.

Connor says that the best way of connecting with Sincere Influentials is to help them gather and share peer advice. “Cause-related initiatives and programs that tap into mom-bloggers are examples of activities that respond to their desire to be better friends and parents.”

Solo Escapists feel more solitary than other groups, regard technology as a personal companion, and look to social media for entertainment and diversion, favoring sites such as YouTube and Download.com.

They don’t take very good care of their health, scoring the lowest on statements such as “I try to eat healthy food and a balanced diet” and “I have regular medical checkups.” They are also the least likely to buy advertised medications or pay more for branded drugs.

Connor says that an effective way of connecting with Solo Escapists is to invite them to play. “Activities like online scavenger hunts and geocaching adventures meet their requirement for entertainment and stress relief.”

Independent Achievers are grounded, conservative, well-informed, and use social media for simple solutions and practical information. Favorite sites include MSNBC and MapQuest.

Ironically, they are the least likely to be sought for health advice, although they are the healthiest of all groups — they rarely get sick, work at eating well and exercising, and get regular medical checkups. They have faith in their doctors, but opt for self-treatment with nonprescription drugs when possible.

“The best way to connect with Independent Achievers is to give them tools for doing everyday tasks more efficiently,” says Connor. “Online concierge services and simple mobile applications are activities that help them find solutions more quickly and easily.”

The MicroMass study on social media behavior is the first of several behavioral research projects being conducted by the company this year. The study incorporates national data from Simmons, a syndicated marketing data service that surveys 24,000 American households a year, measuring demographics, psychographics, brand and media usage, and shopping and purchase behaviors.

For more information about the MicroMass research, including a chart summarizing key behavior types and connection insights and a white paper on the topic, visit MicroMass Communications.

About MicroMass Communications, Inc.

Founded in 1994, MicroMass offers unrivalled capabilities in the application of behavioral science to marketing challenges. The company brings together under one roof the expertise and services for building sophisticated, multi-channel programs that span the full marketing continuum and build enduring relationships between customers and brands.

Headquartered in Cary, N.C., with a second office in Morristown, N.J., MicroMass is one of the fastest growing agencies in its field. The company’s client roster includes some of the most respected names in the life sciences. For more information, visit www.micromass.com.

        MicroMass Insights: Connecting With Key Social Media Personalities

                         Behaviors &            Some SM       How to
    Type                  Attitudes            Favorites      Connect

    Power                Use SM for            Facebook*      Provide a stage
    Socialites           self-promotion        Match.com      for voicing
    34% of               -Love the spotlight   Fandango       their views &
     respondents          & giving advice      CNET.com       expanding their
                         -Money, status,                      visibility,
                          brand conscious      *Note: 47%     e.g., Web sites
                         -First to try         of all         with Twitter &
                          anything new         Facebook       Facebook feeds
                         -Think expensive      users are
                          medicines the best   Power
                         -Seek advertised      Socialites
                         -Not particularly
                          healthy, but friends
                          seek their advice on

    Sincere              Use SM for nurturing  Facebook       Help them gather
    Influentials         relationships,        Evite.com      & share
    27%                  improving QOL         Craigslist     information
                         -Maintain strong      CareerBuilder  with peers,
                          Relationships                       e.g., cause-
                          with friends &                      related
                          family                              initiatives &
                         -Active, vocal,                      programs that
                          Engaged                             tap into mom-
                         -Frequently seek &                   bloggers
                          Share information
                          with peers
                         -Most likely to
                          research treatment
                          options & challenge
                          their doctors
                         -Good health a daily

    Solo Escapists       Use SM for            YouTube        Invite them to
    20%                  entertainment,        Download.com   play, e.g.,
                         Diversion             EA.com         online scavenger
                         -More introverted                    hunts &
                          and solitary                        geocaching
                          than other groups                   adventures
                         -Seek diversion,
                         -Regard technology as
                          a personal companion
                          and escape
                         -Least likely to care
                          for their health or
                          be impressed by
                          advertising and

    Independent          Use SM to simplify    MSNBC          Help them find
    Achievers            daily activities      MapQuest       solutions faster
    19%                  -Grounded, content,   USAToday.com   and easier,
                          Pragmatic            CoolSavings    e.g., intuitive
                         -Value simplicity                    mobile
                         -Healthiest of all                   applications,
                          groups, but least                   online concierge
                          likely to be asked                  services
                          for health advice
                         -Regularly see and
                          Trust their doctors
                          but self-treat
                          when possible
                         -Don't correlate
                          higher priced
                          medicines with
                          greater efficacy

    Source: MicroMass Study of Social Media Behavior and Implications for Healthcare Marketers, May 2010

    CONTACT: Julie Laitin (212) 286-2424    Cynthia Amorese (908) 665-8072
             Email: jlaitin@julielaitin.com Email: camorese@comcast.net

SOURCE MicroMass Communications, Inc.

Source: newswire

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