March 1, 2016
The power of social media in today’s market is only growing. And, showcasing your independent community pharmacy on social media can help you build business, educate patients and grow brand loyalty.
Your pharmacy likely already has a presence on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. But if you don’t, it’s never too late to start.
Here are 17 tips to help increase your pharmacy’s presence through effective social media practices.
Before you begin, it’s a good idea to create a plan, also known as a social media strategy.
A social media strategy includes information about the types of patients you want to target, what type of content you want to post and which social media platforms you’re going to use.
Creating a strategy for social media is important for the future consistency and success of your online presence, and creating a plan can help you avoid mistakes.
Patients who follow your social media will be more likely to regularly visit your pages, and to consider visiting your store if you consistently post a steady flow of content.
Post interesting, useful and educational content that will drive people to your pages. Share information about the latest pharmacy and health care news, talk about the over-the-counter (OTC) products your pharmacy has to offer or post a photo of your staff. (Here are more ideas for what to post on your social media pages.)
Connecting with local businesses and organizations on social media will help you build camaraderie that can ultimately benefit your pharmacy. Meeting, connecting and following social media pages from other businesses in your community can help you learn new ideas to implement in your pharmacy and increase your chances of gaining new patients.
Being responsive to people who comment on your social media pages will demonstrate that you care. Your independent pharmacy already provides a personal touch in your store, so be sure to communicate that through your social media presence, too.
Always be positive in your responses. If someone posts a negative comment on your page, don’t remove it. Respond thoughtfully and ask what you can do to help. Remaining positive will help keep your pharmacy looking professional.
Social media platforms, such as Facebook, include features that track your social media performance.
Facebook analytics, called Facebook Insights, allow you to see which posts received the most ‘likes’ and which posts reached the most people. Facebook even offers a tool called “Pages to Watch,” which allows you to compare your page with competitors’.
When you know which posts had the most success, you can post similar content to drive more engagement.
Gain more views on your social media posts by targeting a specific audience. Facebook allows you to select an audience by factors, including gender, age and location.
If you’re promoting a special on women’s health supplements, for example, you may want to only target women in your area on that specific post.
You can boost your posts using social media advertising for a small fee. These posts expand your reach because they’re served to people who may not follow you. The duration of the boosted posts vary in price for how many days you choose to keep the ad up.
For social media beginners, hashtags can seem like a difficult concept to grasp. A hashtag is the pound sign symbol (#), with a word or group of words that organize content into a searchable link. An example is #pharmacy. Hashtags connect people and promote discussions.
Develop a set of three to five hashtags for your business to use regularly. When you continually use a hashtag, your brand will be more memorable to people visiting your social media pages. Using hashtags will also help you connect with other like-minded businesses and allow for your patients to start a conversation.
Showcase your professional insight by creating a blog and sharing your posts on social media. Write about topics your patients may be interested in learning, such as nutrition tips, best practices for taking vitamins and heart health strategies. When they see your informative posts on social media, and learn to count on you as a health care expert, they may be more likely to use your pharmacy.
Including images in your social media posts catches the attention of your audience. People will be more likely to click on your content if you have an intriguing image with a call to action such as, “Stop by our pharmacy today to get your annual flu shot.”
Everyone enjoys getting something for free. To promote your pharmacy, consider holding a social media contest by giving a gift card to the person who likes your post first or offering promotional giveaways, such as a free bottle of vitamins or a free pharmacy T-shirt, to the first 10 people who comment on your post.
Consistency is key on social media.
For your patients and followers to recognize you, and be able to follow you on different social media platforms, it’s a good idea to use the same username for all of your profiles.
The content you post should also remain uniform across all of your social media channels. Even though there are differences between Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, the content you post on each profile should be delivered in a similar way. Connecting your profiles to one another is an easy way to ensure consistency.
Maintaining consistency will help you build your brand, and make your independent community pharmacy more easily recognizable.
People want to follow social media pages that are authentic. They don’t want to feel like they’re just being sold a product or service. Make sure to balance your promotions and sales content with social media posts that showcase your pharmacy’s individuality. Share photos of your staff and celebrate achievements, such as your pharmacist becoming certified in CPR.
Unless you have a social media expert on staff in your pharmacy, consider using a platform, such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to help you save time. These platforms allow you to pre-schedule posts, so you don’t have to interrupt your workflow every time you want to post on social media.
Make your social media a source of reliable educational information, and a place to build relationships and trust in your pharmacy. Providing expert advice on dietary supplements or sharing valuable knowledge about the pharmacy industry on your social media pages will enhance your pharmacy’s credibility.
Encourage patients to review your pharmacy on your social media pages and on other websites, such as Yelp or Google.
Online users who read good reviews about your pharmacy will learn from others’ experiences and may be more likely to choose your independent community pharmacy over your competition.
Try out different techniques on your social media. Maybe polls garner a lot of attention for your pharmacy, or fun facts about your employees get more attention. Test out different social media tactics to figure out what your followers enjoy seeing the most, and what works best for your business.
Sometimes social media posts don’t go as planned. Here’s how to avoid common social media blunders.