On a scale from Novice to Master, how would you rate your pharmacy’s social media prowess? If you’re like most pharmacies, you probably placed yourself somewhere in the middle of the scale.
Why Should Your Pharmacy Be on Social Media?
Social media is a great way for pharmacists to get out from behind the counter and reach your patients, customers, and community beyond your pharmacy walls. Social media makes it easier to draw in more customers; it’s free, simple to use, and much of the audience you’re trying to reach is already there.
You’re skilled at engaging patients in your pharmacy. Through social media, you can engage with your customers and potential customers in a meaningful way that will improve customer loyalty and help your business grow. Get ahead of the competition and enhance patient engagement by becoming a social media savvy pharmacist.
Which Social Media Channels Should Your Pharmacy Use?
Starting your pharmacy’s social media presence can seem overwhelming when you look at all the channels available. But there’s good news: your pharmacy doesn’t have to be on every channel just because it seems like the trendy thing to do. That’s a good way to become a victim of Shiny Object Syndrome.
Instead, you can and should be selective about the social media channels you invest your time and energy in. There are two main factors to consider when determining where your pharmacy should be on social media:
You know who your customers are. This is also your target audience on social media. Use your customers’ high-level demographics — like age, geography, and interests — to determine where your audience already is. Then meet them where they already spend their time on social media.(Not quite sure? Your customers will generally tell you what social networks they can use. Just ask.)
Choose channels that fit what you have to say. If you don’t have the resources or talent to consistently create compelling images, then Instagram isn’t the right channel for your pharmacy. Consider what you want to say about your pharmacy and how you will say it, and the right social media channels will be obvious.
Data Source: Pew Research Center
From this chart, you can see that engagement on Facebook is really high. Nearly 80 percent of online adults in the U.S. use Facebook, and three-quarters of those say they use it every day. When we look at Instagram, 50 percent of users are on the platform daily. These are incredible opportunities to get out in front of people often!
For more insights, including what age ranges and genders are most active on each social media channel, check out the full 2016 report from Pew Research Center.
Wondering What to Talk About?
The next step is putting together a social media content plan and calendar. This will help you determine what you’ll be posting and when, so you can develop a regular schedule for promoting your pharmacy. This is often where pharmacies get stuck — what should you talk about?
It’s simple. You want your posts to be interesting and useful for your patients. We’ve done the research to find topics that are working for pharmacies now. Here are 10 ideas to get the conversation going.
1. Talk about general health and wellbeing.
As an authority on medications, you are a trusted source for information in your community. Put that knowledge to work and share guidance about prescriptions, OTCs, supplements, and current wellness information.
2. Educate about your profession.
You do more than just count pills. Share the story of your pharmacy and the services you offer. Talk about what makes you unique. This invites the community to respond and take advantage of services they may not have known you offer.
3. Use Quotes.
Any cursory glance at social media will show you right away that quotes are very popular posts that get shared quite often — which expands the reach of your posts. Making them relevant to your business and your patients is important, but know that quotes are a great way to reach out and gain some visibility in your community.
4. Share statistics.
People love quick bits of data they can use to help them make health decisions. If you come across a statistic about a health topic, share it with your pharmacy’s Facebook or Twitter community and offer an invitation to take questions. Be ready to respond in a timely manner by setting up notifications when people reply to you.
5. Celebrate your employees and events.
Is it your technician’s birthday? Your pharmacy’s anniversary? Are you having a special sale on gifts? Are you initiating a smoking cessation clinic? Share those updates specific to your pharmacy, and see the likes, replies, and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pour in to support you.
6. Celebrate holidays.
You may be closed for Thanksgiving. It’s helpful to let your patients know in advance and then schedule an update on the day to let your patients know how much you appreciate them even when you aren’t at the pharmacy.
7. Conduct a poll.
Once you have a number of followers who engage with you online with likes, shares, and comments, offer them an opportunity to give you instant feedback. Most social media channels have this functionality built in, so give your community the chance to provide a quick vote on a topic.
8. Answer questions.
You get questions all the time. Capture those and pepper your social media with FAQs. This not only helps reduce repetitive questions, but it shows your patients you are anticipating their needs by proactively answering their concerns.
9. Have contests.
You can do giveaways for photo contests, shares, or app check-ins. The prizes don’t necessarily need to be big, but they can add to the enthusiasm around following you on social media by answering, “What’s in it for me?”
10. Show you’re listening: reply or share.
When people mention you, reply to them. Thank them for kind words or apologize for a negative experience while trying to make it right. Of course, you should always honor your patient’s privacy when commenting, but they will appreciate knowing that you are, in fact, listening. Social media is a two-way channel. The more you demonstrate that you are a good enough friend to do more listening than talking, the more dedicated your pharmacy’s social media following will be.
NOTE: This post was updated on April 19, 2017, to remove links that were no longer working.