Christian Burns, an avid entrepreneur and research advocate, is the President of Elligo Health Research. He is passionate about serving patients and sites by identifying innovative solutions that will transform the traditional clinical trial model. Christian’s passion for clinical research began when he first participated in a clinical trial at a young age. Since then, his fascination with the industry and entrepreneurial spirit has continually pushed him to find ways to transform and improve upon existing processes, from site operations and management, to digital marketing and technology. Through his leadership of three companies, Christian continues to expand much needed services and offer innovative solutions within the clinical research space. Elligo works directly with sites, health systems, sponsors, and CROs in over 130 countries to support their operations, sales, marketing, and technology needs.
1. Listen & Acknowledge
Ignoring COVID-19 or pretending like everything is normal can come across as inauthentic at best, and tone deaf at worst. Let your followers know that you’re listening and acknowledge our new normal.
Even a simple “It feels weird to promote clinical studies right now, but…” can go a long way in showing your followers that you’re listening and caring. Devastating physical and mental health conditions still exist during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and may even be exacerbated by it. Be honest with your audience about why it’s important and how your organization is taking action in whether volunteering is a good alternative for them or not today.
2. Keep Posting
Your followers are spending more time online than ever before, and staying connected to them is in your best interest. If your studies are on hold, this is a perfect time to build yourself as a clinical research thought leader in your community. Continue to share posts about clinical research, any indications you specialize in, and anything helpful about COVID-19.
3. Be Empathetic
COVID-19 is affecting everyone around the world in different ways. Even nationally, some communities and regions are being hit much harder than others. Remember to think outside of your own situation, have empathy for your followers, and offer compassion. With this in mind, think twice before posting memes! You don’t have to mention COVID-19 explicitly in all of your content, but do take into consideration the tone of your copy and how people facing a different reality than yours might interpret it. Remember that some of your followers have lost their jobs, are caring for a loved one, trying to work at home with a toddler, might be sick themselves, or may have even lost someone close to them. The way you handle hard times will stick with your followers, so you want to make sure that you are a source of comfort for them during this time.
4. Provide Organic Value
Turn your platforms into a valuable resource for your audience. Focus on engagement first, instead of driving traffic, by providing extra education through videos, carousel posts, or news articles instead of constantly asking to swipe up, share, or sign up for a trial.
To help increase engagement, make your first line noteworthy. Remember that when people are scrolling on social media, they only read the first few sentences. Ask a question in the beginning, or make it memorable by writing a hook. For example, if the post is about at-home sanitizing methods to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, you might say, “How often are you washing your hands at home?” or “Are you washing your hands enough to keep your family safe?”. The key is to pique the interest of your audience and build trust with them. If you’re still recruiting, you’ll need to make sure your audience trusts you enough to consider applying for a trial during this time. Always keep your values and mission statement in mind when you post.
5. Show Your Adaptability
Are you pre-screening from home? Is your site monitoring patients electronically rather than in person? How are you keeping your patients —and your staff— safe during this crisis? Be open and be loud about factors like these; it could be a determining factor for a potential patient.