CHPA Chat - Medfluencers: Supporting Trusted Brands on Social Media and Beyond

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Episode Summary

Host Anita Brikman sits down with board-certified pediatrician and co-founder of Forever Freckled, Dr. Katie Friedman. Together, they discuss the rise of the healthcare social media influencer and how consumer healthcare product companies can leverage this ever-evolving form of marketing to reach consumers through those they already trust. Dr. Katie also provides some must-know tips to consider when identifying and engaging with #medinfluencers to help boost your brand.



Episode Transcript

Anita Brikman: Advertising as we know it, it isn't enough and has evolved. The mass marketing approach has changed and now influencers are playing a much greater role in building brand loyalty and credibility. Today, we talk to someone who specializes in the healthcare space and offers parents in particular advice that they are looking for. Let's talk about influencers and how they could help build your brand.

Speaker 2: Welcome to CHPA Chat. Conversations in the consumer healthcare industry with Anita Brikman.

Anita Brikman: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of CHPA Chat. Today we're talking about social media influencers. When you hear that term, do you think about the celebrities and fashionistas who are all the rage on YouTube and TikTok? Yep. Those are influencers with major followings, especially with teens. During the pandemic, a new type of influencer has gained growing popularity. The medfluencer.

Healthcare providers with their own dedicated followers who want to take care of themselves and their families better with the advice of somebody they trust. These influencers can also serve as a powerful marketing force for consumer healthcare product companies. Joining me to talk about this is Dr. Katie Friedman, who along with her sisters has created Forever Freckled. We're going to talk about what Forever Freckled means.

Dr. Katie is an emergency pediatrician who also serves as an advisor for the CHPA Educational Foundation and KnowYourOTCs. Dr. Katie, welcome.

Dr. Katie: Thank you so much, Anita, for having me. I'm excited about today's podcast.

Anita Brikman: So first of all, Dr. Katie, let's talk a little bit about you and your sisters and what Forever Freckled is.

Dr. Katie: Sure. So when I started having children, my sisters started having children, and we got a lot of pets. As a pediatrician my friends and family around us started calling us and texting us, what is this rash? How do I treat this fever? How do I crate train? What's the best breastfeed feeding products? And we realized that there was a real need for information out there for new moms, existing moms who are bringing new babies into the home, pet owners.

And I am a board-certified pediatrician. I work in the emergency room, so I love to talk about safety, safety and obviously health. And then my twin sister is a veterinarian. So, she likes to talk obviously about, I just got a puppy. So talk about puppy care. Diet, exercise, really important information. So along with my third sister, we created an all encompass website, where you can go, it's like a one-stop shop for parents and pet lovers to get medical advice for their kids, their pets, and be able to shop products, the newest products out there, the latest fashion, affordable fashion, my little sister does affordable fashion. And it's really just a place to get to know us as sisters and follow our stories on Instagram, our sisterhood, and our family and all of our kids and our pets and our craziness and our travel, but really important, the root of it, is to have a resource, to have a pediatrician and a veterinarian that can provide sound medical advice.

Anita Brikman: And why are you Forever freckled?

Dr. Katie: Because we're all freckled and red-headed.

Anita Brikman: I love that. What a great name. All right. So here you are. What made you decide to go into the influencer space? You said you were getting all of these kinds of, from friends and family, these questions. How did you decide to take this to this next level of becoming an influencer and maybe in that answer, tell us what that actually means.

Dr. Katie: The reality is, is we started it as a hobby. I saw there was a need. We put up a WordPress, a very small website and just started writing articles based upon the questions that we were getting. What is hand, foot and mouth disease? I think that was the first thing I wrote. Because that name sounds so scary, but in reality, it's just a viral process.

And what ended up happening is, as parents discovered us and started following us on Instagram, we became a resource for them, and we were able to grow our audience space. And over the past few years, we have done a lot of work, not only on our platforms, on our social media, we're pretty strong in Instagram and on Pinterest and Facebook, but we've been able to really provide other companies with important content and information for their websites as well.

So a lot of the work that we do is we'll do lives, we'll do webinars, we do Q and A sessions so that we can provide a community base for our partners as well as ourselves.

Anita Brikman: So one thing that I've heard kind of tossed around, mega influencer, macro influencer, micro or nano. This seems like something that should be like in the computer world, not in influencers, but how do these differ in the audiences you reach?

Dr. Katie: Sure. So a macro influencer is someone that has a very large audience space. A million- [crosstalk 00:05:26].

Anita Brikman: Could that be like the Kardashians?

Dr. Katie: Well, there would be the pinnacle of micro. That'd be more like celebrity, but there's a lot of influencers per se that have a million followers or two million followers, over 500,000 followers. And they are considered to have a larger audience base, but really what's also been becoming popular is a micro influencer, which actually has a smaller audience base. So like between 20,000, and let's say 150,000, but it's a very engaged audience. So I know you had mentioned in the intro, there's an influencer for everything right now. So if you're home decor, there's an influencer. If you're a mommy blogger, there's an influencer. There's food bloggers. So these micro influencers really hold onto a small, but very engaged audience and they're coming for specific information.

So let's just take a food blogger, for instance. They're coming to get information about food, so they're very engaged in that particular influencer. They respect and trust that influencer and those micro influencers have become pretty valuable in marketing. It's a new trend in the marketing world, is really reaching more, maybe more micro influencers than one macro influencer.

Anita Brikman: So when we talk about the companies who are CHPA members, would they want to be looking more at these micro influencers, with these dedicated audiences who are interested maybe in self-care or what to do with their kids, et cetera? Does that seem like the best route for them to take?

Dr. Katie: So I think it's important to, at least with my partners, is set out your goals, right? So if you're looking for just rope exposure and you want just people to see the product and know the product, maybe in your marketing strategy, you are going to pick a macro influencer that has a very, very large audience.

Maybe you're looking for high turnover engagement, and then you pick a smaller audience of, let's say, it's a gardening tool and maybe it's a gardening influencer. And that person is going to have a lot of influence on those people because they're coming specifically for that topic and those recommendations. So it really depends upon what your ultimate goal is, and trying to serve those goals. Are you trying to community-base? And that's one thing that at least for me in the last year or so with COVID, I've found that a lot of people are reaching out to me specifically because a lot of things that we were able to go to a mommy and me class, a lactation class, a CPR class, a pet training, a pet trainer or pet class is not available. So a lot of people are utilizing this timeframe to bring everything online and provide virtual classes.

Now Clubhouse has become a very popular platform that people are utilizing to kind of talk about and do a mommy and me class. So what has been happening for me is they will pair me...I'm considered a micro influencer. So my moms, I have a smaller audience base, I mean, it's 50,000 people, but they come to me specifically for pediatric advice. They will pair me, which is interesting, and I think a very effective tactic, is they'll pair me with someone that is a macro influencer that has a larger audience, and we'll sit and chat about whatever it is that product like vitamin supplementation. And we'll talk about newborn care and what vitamins your newborn should be started on, what you need to initiate in the newborn phase as far as vitamin supplementation. And that becomes really powerful because in this space, I think that people are really longing for education because there are so many influencers out there.

And because it's relatively saturated, a stagnant picture on a post with a product, it's not that it doesn't do well, but there's a lot more value in what content that person is creating for you. It's very important now the trend is your picture being saved? Is it being shared? And so when you talk about the content you want to create, is it saveable content? And is it content that you can then repurpose for your own company, right? So if it's a small reel that I'm doing for...Let's say acetaminophen or ibuprofen, maybe it's the, instead of just talking about acetaminophen, maybe it's a 32 second reel on fever control. Do you want to get your child's fever under control? Here are three quick tips that you need to know. And then not only do I say that, not only do I utilize that for my platform, and so my audience base gets to see those important tips and learn what fever reducing medication is, but then also that company can utilize it on their website and their social media. And it becomes important for them as well.

And that's what's nice about having content that is shareable and saveable and content that's kind of what I call dense education versus kind of just like...This is the best fever reducing medication out there, but why? We want to know why. As parents, I think that there's just this need to understand what it is and why, and what can I learn from this person?

Anita Brikman: So, Dr. Katie, I love what you said about providing additional tips and information around any product you're talking about. How do you maintain credibility as a pediatrician, even when you might be endorsing a product? It sounds like you do that by giving a lot of extra information that you personally believe in, and that you would tell your own patients, whether your audience chooses to buy the product or not.

Dr. Katie: Sure. So that's such a great question. So two things. One, we're very picky about who we choose to work with. When a company comes to us and wants to partner with us...When we choose to work with a company, it's a company that has the same mission that we have, the same messaging that we have. And when we approach a campaign or we start to content plan, I always look at the product before I even sign with a partner and say, what can I teach my audience about this particular topic? So maybe for instance, we'll stay with the fever reducing medication, because we've already kind of talked about that in the past.

What can I teach my audience base? What is my audience base and what are they looking for? So I'll say what is considered a fever? A lot of parents don't know what's considered a fever. They think 98.9 is a fever, when in reality it's a 100.4. We'll talk about what are the common mistakes parents make with fever reducing medications? They don't give enough. They don't know how to alternate with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. So we talk about tips that are in that arena, and I'm always thinking to myself, what can I teach my audience or their audience base with this particular product? Because I feel that in this world, nobody wants a product kind of like, I like to say, shoved down their throat. We want to learn. it's way more productive, and I feel people trust that influencer more when they feel like it's an organic flow, and content that kind of feels evergreen and something that they're taking away.

And then in that content, I'll give them my top favorite fever reducing medications, or maybe I say, as a pediatrician, these are the top things you need in your medicine cabinet, or the five things you have to have in your diaper bag. And so we make it a topic that's very appealing to a new mom or a parent, and we do it in a way that they're gaining a lot of information. They're trusting the information that's coming in because it is information that I really take time and effort into writing. And then they're more willing, I think, to buy that product because of the content that's being put out there.

And that's kind of what we're going back to, Anita, when I'm saying with kind of the trend of influencing is what is the content that's being produced? It's not really about the picture with the stagnant picture, with the influencer, but rather, what is this providing for the person that's watching it or the person that's reading it.

And then the other thing I would say to manufacturers is depending upon what your goal is, go out and find that influencer that you think is a great fit, right? If there's something in specific that you're selling, go find that influencer that really is creating great content in that space. Maybe it's a creative reel. Maybe it's a TikTok video. Maybe it's a live that you want to do with them. Maybe it's a Clubhouse event that we're talking about.

Maybe you're a diaper rash cream, and we're going to talk about diaper rash and newborn rashes and you're creating content around that. And that becomes the focus of the content. So three tips on diaper rash that you need to know. And so you're obviously still promoting the product and that's the most important priority of all these campaigns, but you're getting information that some-

Oh my gosh, I love that tip about...I didn't know this about diaper rash and send it to their friend on Instagram, or they save it and share it with their pregnant best friends that just found out that she was pregnant. And I think that that's really where we're headed right now because these classes and things that we were able to go into before have really...We realize that a lot of the stuff that we thought we needed to do in house, although I do think that's really important and has a valid value all in itself is that we can get a lot of that virtually.

Anita Brikman: That is so exciting to hear. And I think it really does give our manufacturers some ideas about choosing influencers and again, the power that that can bring to their overall marketing strategy. Now, switching gears to the Foundation and KnowYourOTCs, clearly we are not a big budget organization with products to sell. We are a nonprofit, the nonprofit arm of the consumer healthcare products industry. And we are all about medicine safety and happier, healthier lives through responsible self-care.

Why do you work with us so closely on KnowYourOTCs?

Dr. Katie: So I've been working with KnowYourOTCs forever. I always tell my sisters when I have the opportunity to educate parents on...I'm an emergency room physician, so when I have the opportunity to talk to parents and educate them on prevention and safety, I'm all in. And whether it's a lucrative partnership for me or not, my ultimate mission is to be able to help people and to educate people.

And what I love about KnowYourOTCs is that although I do promote products, this gives me the opportunity to really just talk about safety and the things that I love. Like we just did a breastfeeding one that was really fun for me to write because a lot of women suffer with the fears of can I take this medication? When should I take this medication? Is this safe for my baby? And being able to provide that information for people and do it with a company that's whole mission and passion is to teach parents and people about the safety of over-the-counter medications, how to administer them, how to save them, how to dispose them, was really...It's just an honor. I really enjoy that work. So it's been really, really fun and I've been working with KnowYourOTCs forever. It was one of my first contracts that I ever signed and I've been working with them continually for years now. It's such a great fit for me.

Anita Brikman: Well, we are not going to let you go. Okay? Got that? You're going to have to keep working with us on and to check out some of Dr. Katie's work, it's in the expert articles section of and Dr. Katie, where can people find you and your sisters one more time? And just so that our manufacturers know too, in case I need a pediatrician or hey, maybe I need a veterinarian as a influencer. How do they find you?

Dr. Katie: Yes. And we do so much great space with lives and Q and A's and Facebook lives. So yes, that would be amazing. I would love to work with the manufacturers, but...So you can find us on social media. So our Instagram, we have a pretty big Instagram. We do a lot of work on Instagram. So on our Instagram stories, you can really get to know us and our families and that's at Forever Freckle blog. And then our website is And you can check it out and you can see it's like the pediatrician, the veterinarian, and the stylist. And it gives you like a little snaps of each, and that's in our articles fall in those categories.

Anita Brikman: All right, I'm going to have to check this out because you know, definitely have kids, definitely have a pet, and can always use fashion advice. Dr. Katie, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Katie: Thank you so much. It was really a pleasure and I hope everyone has a great week.

Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us here at CHPA Chat. For more information, and to hear our entire catalog of shows, please visit


Katie Friedman Headshot in green blouse
Dr. Katie Friedman
Co-Founder, Forever Freckled

The views expressed in this podcast are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

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