Inside: Instagram is more than just photos — why you should make a profile for your pharmacy.
If you only want to maintain one social media account for your pharmacy, Facebook is still your best bet — nearly 70 percent of American adults use Facebook. But if you want to expand your social reach, Instagram is a great place to build up a brand presence.
Instagram’s users skew younger, so if you’re looking to make an appeal to Millennials and Gen Z, you can probably find them there. Over the years, users of Facebook have been cutting down on how much time they spent on the social media network, but according to an eMarket survey, the amount of time users spend on Instagram per day has been increasing since 2016.
The platform is also an effective way to grab the attention of new potential patients — 62 percent of users said they have become more interested in a business after visiting their Instagram page.
Here are some of the things you can accomplish with an active Instagram presence for your independent pharmacy.
Engage with patients
You can build solid relationships with patients on Instagram by engaging with them. When followers leave comments on your photos, be sure to like and reply.
Instagram allows you to take it a step further in your stories. You can ask followers questions — about what they’d like to see in the store, their favorite products, or positive experiences they’ve had in the pharmacy — and then share the answers. This kind of engagement makes patients feel like they are part of the team.
Build a brand image
Because Instagram is a visual medium, it allows you an opportunity to get creative with branding. Arby’s uses its Instagram page to showcase innovative uses for ketchup packets and crafts you can do with your empty sandwich boxes, capturing a fun and authentic image.
In Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, you can showcase the people and products of your pharmacy in a less polished and but still meaningful way that lets your patients in on the “behind the scenes” workings of your pharmacy.
Expand your e-commerce
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many pharmacies to venture into e-commerce for the first time, and Instagram can augment your pharmacy’s online shopping options with its new shoppable posts.
When you post a photo of a product on your Instagram, you can add tags that will bring up a product description and price, and if users are interested in it, they can easily click through to your online store.
It’s a seamless experience, and 72 percent of users say they have purchased something through shoppable posts.
Instagram Dos and Don’ts
Instagram can be a great tool to help new people discover your pharmacy, and it works best when you build a polished presence.
Here are some basic dos and don’ts for putting together an attractive and professional Instagram profile.
Do: Post High Quality, Cohesive Photos
You don’t need to have a fancy DSLR camera for your Instagram photos — an iPhone will do. Just make sure your images are well-lit and the subjects are in focus.
To go the extra mile, make sure your photos stick to the same color palette so when users look at your profile, all the pictures in the photo grid look like they are part of a series.
Don’t: Post Irregularly
If you post too infrequently, you risk your followers forgetting about you, but if you flood their feeds, they may get annoyed and unfollow.
A good rule of thumb is to post once per business day. If that’s too often for you, find a consistent schedule that works for you. Posting twice a week is better than abandoning your account for a month, then posting 10 photos in a week.
Do: Follow Appropriate People
The accounts your pharmacy Instagram account follows should reflect your values. Other local businesses, fellow independent pharmacists, healthy living accounts, and the patients who interact with your account regularly are all good accounts to follow.
Remember that the people who follow you can see the people you follow, so keep that list business appropriate.
Don’t: Get Obsessed with Follower Counts
Building up your Instagram following is important to get your message out, but don’t get too fixated on numbers. As an independent, local business, your most important followers will come from a limited group of people who live in your area, so focus on connecting with those people.
Do: Craft Compelling Copy
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but you get a chance to add a few more with the captions you write. They don’t have to be essays. Two or three sentences can add important context to the images you post, whether you are promoting a product, wishing patients a happy holiday, or congratulating an employee on their retirement. Use the same marketing voice you use on other social media platforms and make sure to check for typos!
Don’t: Underfill Your Bio
Instagram gives you limited space to tell people about your business — don’t waste it. A good Instagram bio will include a compelling call to action. Some businesses update their bio every time they run a new promotion to encourage people to take part.
Make sure to fill out every part of your profile, including adding your address, email, and website. If you want to point users to specific information or services, you can use a Linktree to direct them to multiple places on the web.
Do: Use Hashtags
Just like Twitter, Instagram has hashtags that you can use to boost your visibility. The right hashtags will help you find your target market. Use hashtags related to pharmacy and healthcare, the hashtag for your town or metro area, or hashtags related to running a small business.
You can even create your own hashtag, like the name of your pharmacy, and encourage patients to use it when they visit your store or want to share about products they purchased there.
Don’t: Overuse Hashtags
While hashtags are an important tool, they can be a double-edged sword. If you used too many of them, you risk looking unprofessional. You can also end up attracting followers that are never going to become patients.
Before you use a hashtag, look through other posts with that hashtag. It may have a double meaning that you wouldn’t want your pharmacy to be associated with!
An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies
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 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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