When it comes to clinical trial marketing and recruitment efforts, awareness is great, but success hinges on making a tangible connection. To be clear, when I say ‘success’, I am specifically referring to the marketing efforts that lead up to study enrollment (or at the very least, pre-screening). Internet campaign impressions and click-throughs are important, but if people don’t take the next step of actually contacting the clinical trial facility, then there is no hope in helping those patient – and that is what we all want.
Social Media and Patient Recruitment
I spend a lot of time thinking about social media and clinical trial marketing. Unlike typical consumer brands, there’s a limited desire or reason to become a life-long brand ambassador or enthusiast of a clinical trial facility. And this is where I start contemplating the ROI of building up a Facebook fan following. Hang in there folks (gasp) -
I’m not saying that Facebook isn’t a good communication tool or that you shouldn’t try and get ‘likes’. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely value in communicating your site’s events, studies, insights, investigator expertise, etc., but what are our options for making patient connections? How can we take social media further than a self-contained wall post dialogue? You can of course do a pay-per-click campaign on Facebook using geo-targeted ads that click through to a landing page. That’s old news and I’ll assume that we’re all doing that by now. But what else?
Recruitment Forms in Facebook
It will be easier for me to talk in specifics now, so let’s take a look at one of my clients Florida Clinical Research Center. I’ve been eager for a way to have their enrollment forms integrated into their Facebook profile. I wanted to leverage web pages that have already been built and present them through Facebook – so it moves from just a social arena to an action item arena. This is where it gets exciting because now we can do just that.
Facebook has introduced an app for iFrames where you can serve up your hosted content to be fully functional and integrated within your profile page. This has replaced the old FBML Landing Tabs (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry as it’s obsolete now anyway).
Totally clueless of what I’m talking about? See it in action here:
On the left hand side, you’ll see two links – one for ‘Maitland Studies‘ and another for ‘Bradenton Studies‘. Click on either one and you’ll be taken to a Facebook tab that displays a landing page of various enrollment forms for Florida Clinical Research Center. These enrollment forms are being delivered via an iFrame. Although you are in the context of Facebook, you are now viewing EXISTING content, hosted in a completely different place than Facebook (http://flcrc.wordpress.com/), but fully integrated into the profile page.
The landing pages are separated by clinical trial site locations. The iFrame allows you to develop the application so that you can point it to any website or sub-page within a site. As an easy starting point, you could simply use your website’s contact us form – you can then experiment with going more granular at the indication level or location level. People can fill out and submit the form just as they would if they were on the actual site, but the advantage here is that they don’t have to leave Facebook.
Keep in mind that if potential volunteers don’t know about your Facebook page, then you’ll render this application useless. It has to be part of an overall strategic communication plan. One option is circle back around on those Facebook pay-per-click campaigns and rather than point them to an external landing page – route the click throughs to your newly integrated iFrame app so social users don’t have to meander out of their networking environment.
How to Create the Facebook iFrame App
I know what you’re likely thinking at this point – how exactly do you create an iFrame app? You have to first become a verified Facebook developer. This is not nearly as scary as it might sound. From there, you can build a new app that points an iFrame to a specific URL. Once you finish building the app, you add it to your Facebook page. Step by step instructions would make this already too long blog far longer.
If you’d like to further explore, I invite you to contact me at Intellavia. You could also try your hand it by searching around for “how to build a Facebook landing page with iFrames”. Here’s one place you can check out. One thing to note about that particular blog – if you already have the URL built that contains the landing pages you are trying to integrate, you can skip over the entire “Design Your Page” section.
I love it when technology allows us more opportunities to communicate the importance and benefits of clinical trials. With 1 in 4 people affected by a mental illness and a growing population of uninsured sufferers, it’s all the more critical to let people know of this very valuable resource.
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