March 2, 2021
When it comes to social media for business, Facebook is currently the reigning champ, and 93 percent of independent pharmacies currently use it to connect with patients, according to the 2020 NCPA Digest.
But Twitter is mostly an untapped market — only 18 percent of pharmacies have a Twitter account. Even though it may not have as many active users, Twitter is still a free marketing opportunity, and it allows you to connect with a different audience than your Facebook page.
If you’re currently waffling on whether you really need a Twitter account, read on to learn the advantages of the platform.
These days, consumers expect businesses to have a presence on social media platforms like Twitter. If a potential patient looks for your pharmacy on Twitter and finds that you don’t have an account (or have an account that hasn’t been updated since 2013), they might assume you’re either no longer in business or that the pharmacy isn’t technologically up to speed.
If you don’t have a Twitter account, there’s also a chance that a business with a similar name might take the most appropriate handle for your pharmacy and end up confusing your patients. By establishing a Twitter account, you can ensure Twitter users can find the most accurate information about your pharmacy.
Twitter is more conversational than any other social media platform, which means it’s a great way to get to know your patients. When you reply to your followers, check out their profile pages and read their bios to learn a little bit more about them.
The nature of Twitter’s threaded replies means it’s easy to go back and forth in real-time — which means you get to know who they are and what they respond to. And unlike an email conversation which may unfold over hours or days, with only 280 characters at your disposal, a Twitter reply usually only takes a few moments to type out.
You can also use Twitter features like polling to figure out the products and services your patients are interested in.
The conversational nature of Twitter also means it’s a great place to develop your brand voice. Because you want to be seen as a trusted healthcare provider, it’s important that you maintain professionalism with your brand voice, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your Twitter presence has to be stilted or overly formal. You can embody your pharmacy values and be a resource without resorting to jargon your patients won’t understand.
Your brand voice on Twitter may deviate from your brand voice on Facebook. While your Facebook page could aim to be educational, your Twitter could aim to chat with patients about their favorite products. Both approaches position you as a local health expert while playing to the strengths of the platform.
Although Twitter might not have as many active users as Facebook — 24 percent of American adults use Twitter compared to 70 percent who use Facebook — Twitter gives pharmacies an opportunity to connect to younger patients.
In general, your regular pharmacy patients probably tend to skew older, so if you’re looking to expand your clientele into a younger demographic, Twitter is a great place to start. People ages 18 to 29 make up about 40 percent of Twitter users, and 81 percent of millennial Twitter users say they check the platform at least once a day.
Since Twitter feeds move fast, you’ll have to post frequently to catch younger users’ attention. But since millennials value authenticity in marketing, your status as a small business means your pharmacy is poised to make meaningful connections.
If you’re only on Facebook, your posts probably don’t have much organic reach. Facebook’s algorithm has deprioritized posts from businesses, and by the end of 2020, the average Facebook post only has an organic reach of 5.2 percent.
On Twitter, on the other hand, you still have the potential to go viral without paying for your posts to pop into people’s timelines. A clever joke about something that’s happening in your community might prompt your local followers to share and introduce your pharmacy to people in your area.
As a local business, you don’t need your viral tweets to spread across the nation, but being quick to comment on local events can make your Twitter account a hit in your town.
On Twitter, people find new accounts and conversations via hashtags, and you can use hashtags to establish your brand image and reach new followers.
Come up with a custom hashtag. It could be your pharmacy name or a call to action that has to do with your pharmacy, like #stayhealthychicago or #vaccinatingkansascity. You can use the hashtag in your pharmacy’s tweets, and also encourage your patients to tweet about your pharmacy using the hashtag.
When your patients use the hashtag, they are essentially marketing your pharmacy to their friends and followers. And when you use the hashtag you are building brand awareness and making your pharmacy more discoverable on Twitter. You can even aggregate all your patients’ tweets and put them on a digital display in the pharmacy to let patients know what people are saying about you on social media.
If a patient has a bad experience at your pharmacy, they may head to Twitter to complain about it. You need to be on the platform to intervene when that happens.
Keep tabs on what people are saying about your pharmacy, and if someone has a complaint about your service, reply to them as soon as you see it with an apology and an offer to make it right. Not only will this hopefully appease the person who had a bad experience, but it will show their followers that you care about your patients and are committed to giving them a good experience.
Being accessible on Twitter also makes it easy for patients to get in touch with you online if they have a question or concern.
If you aren’t on Twitter, you risk online patient complaints taking on a life of their own and ruining your pharmacy’s reputation.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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