December 19, 2019
Inside: An active Twitter presence creates brand loyalty that leads to better business for your pharmacy.
Twitter might feel unnecessary if your pharmacy already has a Facebook account, but they serve different purposes. On Facebook, the people who visit your page are typically already patients. But Twitter is a platform where you can grow your brand awareness and pull in new patients.
According to a study conducted by Twitter, users are more open-minded and open to discovering new things than the general population. Most people who use Twitter also share what they’ve seen offline, which means a Twitter account can increase your brand awareness in real life, too.
Even though it may feel easy to get lost in Twitter’s ever-changing newsfeed, when you have a consistent presence, it has real potential to translate into more patients and more sales. Sixty-seven percent of Twitter users say they are more likely to shop with brands they follow, and they are tuning in to the site to learn about future products and services.
Here’s how to create a Twitter presence that catches patients’ attention.
While many people use their Twitter accounts as a stream-of-conscious diary, as a business, you need to keep your pharmacy’s mission in mind.
Share health tips on your Twitter to build your reputation as a healthcare destination. Keep it timely—during cold and flu season, you might remind your followers to wash their hands. Or, during the holidays, you could share tips for eating healthy. Then, recommend related products that you carry in your store to encourage online followers to become real-life patients.
You can also use your Twitter account to foster relationships with other local businesses. If you retweet a post about a sale at the business down the street, they’ll often return the favor by retweeting your big news. This also shows followers that you’re more than just a name in their feed—you’re a small business that cares about the community.
You probably won’t find your senior citizen patients on Twitter. But by developing a consistent Twitter presence, you could capture the coveted millennial demographic. Nearly 40 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use Twitter, according to Statista.
A Pew survey indicates Twitter users also have higher-than-average incomes than the typical American, as well as higher-than-average levels of education.
Millennials typically use Twitter to stave off boredom and to share their own experiences. As a business, that means you can generate buzz by encouraging your followers to share about themselves or by posting humorous content they want to share.
While you want to keep your content informational and relevant to your pharmacy’s services, tweets aren’t meant to be dull.
Twitter is a place where you can get a little bit silly. The restaurant chain Arby’s has garnered a large Twitter following by making artwork out of their sandwich boxes, while Netflix creates memes that are relevant to their shows.
Even though Twitter is essentially a marketing tool, your Tweets shouldn’t sound like they’ve come from a marketing committee. Keeping things breezy and having a sense of humor can go a long way in making your pharmacy brand memorable for your followers.
On your pharmacy’s Facebook page, you’ll find diminishing returns if you post more than three times a day.
This is not true for Twitter. While Facebook posts tend to hang around on your followers’ timelines, Tweets have a much shorter shelf life. According to Constant Contact, there is no such thing as Tweeting too often. Start with five times a day, but do more if you can.
If the thought of devoting that much time to your social media account is daunting, you can use services like Tweetdeck to schedule out posts in advance instead of stopping in the middle of your work to Tweet.
If you’re not using hashtags, you’re not using your pharmacy Twitter account to its fullest potential. Hashtags are words or short phrases that start with the “#” symbol, sort of like a keyword, and they can help new followers find your Twitter page.
You can use hashtags to host chats by inviting your followers to tweet using a specific hashtag. Tweeting popular hashtags along with a link to your website can also drive traffic. Ultimately, using relevant hashtags like “#pharmacy” or “#wellness” is a way to make sure your Tweets reach the people who want to see them.
Your pharmacy’s Twitter account can serve as a direct line to patients. Just like you strive to provide top-notch customer service in the store, you can do the same on Twitter.
When patients tag you to ask questions about your products or services, answer them as best you can in 280 characters.
Sometimes, unhappy patients will tag the pharmacy to complain about an experience they had. When that happens, apologize publicly, but suggest they contact you via phone, email, or direct message so you’re not hashing out all the ugly details in the open.
The key to successful patient interactions on Twitter is speed. Twitter users expect a response in one hour or less when they Tweet at a brand. If you keep them waiting, you won’t leave a positive impression.
One concrete method to drive your Twitter following to your pharmacy website (and then hopefully into the physical pharmacy), is to utilize your Pinned Tweet.
A Pinned Tweet stays at the top of your profile, instead of getting lost among all your posts. It’s the first thing people see when they visit your profile, so it’s the perfect place for a call to action.
If you have big news you want to share — like that you are now offering flu shots, or your hours are changing—say it in a Pinned Tweet.
Link to your website, and make sure to use a trackable URL so you can measure how effective the Tweet is.
Remember, you can only pin one Tweet at a time, so choose what you highlight carefully.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified 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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