5 Patient Recruitment Social Media Tactics Besides Facebook

With Facebook making headlines around data security and privacy concerns, you may be considering advertising alternatives for your clinical trial patient recruitment. While Facebook is still one of the most powerful advertising platforms out there, it's smart to consider diversifying your ad placements. Even if Facebook continues to reign supreme, you may find that certain channels are more effective for a particular trial or patient population.

Below, you'll find five social media sites with ad platforms. Each has different options for ad creative and targeting. If you're interested in trying a new platform, start with a small budget and measure results. You may discover an untapped source for interested patients.


Quora is a platform that allows users to ask questions on any topic. Anyone can answer a question or Quora, but users include their credentials in their profile, so answers from experts are more likely to rise to the top through community "upvotes." You can target Quora ads by topic, platform, or location.

When you're first looking for the best keywords to target, Marketing Land recommends importing your keywords from another platform, such as Google AdWords, for ideas. But be careful about exporting over your ad copy from AdWords – Quora is strict about incorrect capitalization and formatting on their ads. Make sure your ads are grammatically correct, too.


200 million monthly users visit Pinterest to save content and create inspiration boards. Many users follow through on the items they pin, too – a whopping 87% of users make a purchase based on something they found on Pinterest.

While those statistics make it a powerful platform for e-commerce, promoting a clinical trial may require a bit more planning. Because Pinterest users tend to save pins to look at later, it may not be the best platform option for short-term studies. If you have a long-running campaign, or are recruiting patients into a database to be contacted at a later date, Pinterest may be a good option.

Another benefit to Pinterest is that in addition to interest targeting, Pinterest also offers "actalike" targeting, which works in a similar way to Facebook's powerful "lookalike" audiences. These kinds of audiences are created by uploading the email addresses of your users or audience, and searching for users who have similar interests and activities on Pinterest. Unlike Facebook, for Pinterest targeting you only need 100 users to create a new audience.


While Twitter doesn't allow clinical trial promotion on its ad platform, you can consider using it to promote trial opportunities organically through your site's account. If you don't have many followers, consider working with patient advocacy groups or nonprofit partners for help with promotion. You can also look into joining a Twitter chat about your trial's condition area, or about clinical research in general. You can find a list of healthcare-related Twitter chats on Symplur.


Reddit is a message board and content aggregator that covers every topic you can think of. While it sometimes has a bad reputation for being a home for controversial conversations, it's also worth looking into, particularly if your target audience spends time on "subreddits," conversation threads around a particular topic.

Through Reddit's ad platform, you can target your ads broadly or on subreddits. The platform allows clinical trial advertisements if you include "proof of approval by relevant regulatory authority." These types of ads are also subject to review and pre-approval by Reddit.


Craigslist ads are a popular option for promoting clinical trial opportunities. If you list your trial as a volunteer opportunity, it's free to post.

Because your targeting is limited to choosing locations, your post may bring in more patients that don't fit your requirements than other platforms. Try to include as much information as possible in your listing, and clarify whether or not it's a paid opportunity.

If you're looking for more ways to find the right patients for your trials, learn more about Antidote's approach. We work with a network of hundreds of health nonprofit and patient advocacy partners to connect patients with research. Download our case studies to learn more.