Helping pharmacists connect with their patients in new, innovative ways.
Social media platforms quickly evolved and now accomplish much more than just connecting with friends. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are transforming how people do business, personally and professionally. When conducted with a thoughtful plan of action, properly utilizing social media increases exposure for your pharmacy by reaching new customers who will build your business.
The continued growth of social media creates an opportunity for pharmacies to reach patients in new ways: enter the Pharmacist Social Media Influencer (PSMI). While few PSMIs consider themselves social media influencers, they all successfully built a following based on the pharmaceutical information they share through social media. While none intended to become influencers, they began with a desire to educate patients and spread valuable knowledge about their pharmaceutical expertise. While smaller, community pharmacies may not want social media stardom, establishing an online presence builds community relationships and reaches new clientele, which is good for business growth.
Which social media platform is right for your pharmacy?
To grow business through social media, pharmacies must understand their market, customers, and the various social media platforms. Social media platforms and their features are constantly evolving. Start first by knowing more about the platforms and how they best fit into your business and marketing needs.
Social Media Platforms
- Facebook is the most widely used social platform among all ages and the preferred platform of users ages 40 and over. Facebook has continued to adapt to the social media landscape by adding videos, stories, ads, and storefront options for its users, which may account for its popularity and longevity.
- YouTube is not far behind as the second-largest search engine in the world, favored for its long-format videos, which are ideal for educating followers. Many users look to YouTube for an answer to a question and find tutorials and lessons with step-by-step videos.
- Instagram, the next rising social media platform popular among younger social media users, creates an opportunity for growing business through video stories and a successful advertising feature. It also works well with TikTok and Facebook.
- Twitter functions as a fast-paced platform with a younger audience of users. While it is great for real-time engagements and new customer service outlets, it requires several daily posts to maintain an active presence.
- TikTok is becoming increasingly popular among the younger demographic. It allows for longer videos than Facebook and Instagram, which may be helpful for education. The video-only format allows for creating a voice for your pharmacy and a face for the public to recognize, know, and trust.
- LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals and an excellent tool for connecting with other pharmacists. Most educated adults have and use LinkedIn for professional purposes. LinkedIn allows consultation with other pharmacists for patient collaboration, business advice, and networking.
In many cases, the content you create can be shared across several platforms. For instance, you can create a TikTok video and share it on Instagram, and hosting a live video on Instagram will be shareable on Facebook as well. On all platforms, links can be inserted to drive traffic to your website, blog, or YouTube channel. While you don’t have to have an account on every social media platform, knowing the formats your customers are using and which are the easiest for you to integrate into your business increases the success of your social media plan.
Because different groups respond to and value social media in different ways, it is important to know your audience and how they prefer to interact. Learn their age range, everyday needs, preferences, and social media habits.
Social Media User Preferences
- Baby Boomers and seniors (age 58+) 50% of this age group have a Facebook account, and 49% use YouTube. This age group’s social media focus tends to be health and community, and most use prescription drugs regularly. Make sure social media information is easy to understand, and information is easy to access. Engagement tends to be conversational responses to topics that interest them, like heart health, medication interactions, working with Medicare, and tips for health and wellness for seniors.
- Gen X (age 42-57) are the fastest growing group of social media users and favor Facebook and LinkedIn. Nine out of 10 Gen xers have a Facebook account, and they tend to make healthcare decisions for the family. Convenience is essential to Gen X, so focus on mobile technology for products and services. Primary topics of interest include preventative care, quick tips for care, case study results, and information on services and promotions offered by your pharmacy.
- Millennials (age 26 to 41) will soon replace Gen X as healthcare decision-makers. A 2019 survey revealed that Millennials use social media multiple times a day and prefer to get news and information online, resulting in an audience interested in learning more about your goods and services from social media before physically entering your store. Topics of interest to Millennials include family planning and parenting, travel-related needs like vaccines and sunscreen, holistic treatments and supplements, and fitness.
- Gen Z (age 10-24) While many of this group may be too young for your target audience, it is important to note this is the largest group alive today. What you share today may entice customers of tomorrow. Gen Z favors social media outlets like Instagram and TikTok. Studies show this age group responds to image-driven media, photos, graphics, and videos. They also use multiple social media sources to learn about new products and engage with brands. Keep it short because they prefer quick, accessible content. If you want to attract more customers in this age group, social media is a must.
Tips and tricks for pharmacies and social media
As you begin using social media for your business, follow these guidelines:
- Keep it professional. Because you are privy to patients’ private information, never reveal patient treatment details or personal information. Even identifying patients that visit your pharmacy could violate privacy laws.
- Be consistent. Post regularly and provide a variety of content for your followers. Include pharmacy staff introductions, share current articles or studies, publicize community events, and share store promotions.
- Develop a social media voice. How you engage your followers will form your online persona. Be yourself. Whether you tell jokes, focus on community, or promote fitness, your online interactions establish your brand. Be consistent in what you present to build trust.
At first glance, it may not seem like a good fit for pharmacy and social media, but when conducted carefully and professionally, social media outlets create valuable opportunities to grow business for your pharmacy or increase your profile reach as a pharmacist. Many pharmacies already maintain a Facebook business page with basic information. Using existing social media accounts or creating new ones, pharmacies can begin to grow just by sharing more information with their followers. Grow your business by utilizing social media as a valuable tool for patient education, public service announcements, business promotion, community outreach, and networking.
Since 2013, DiNovo Cleanroom Supplies and Packaging Solutions has been a leader in delivering cleanroom consumables, disinfectants, medical devices, and cold chain shipping solutions to the compounding and specialty pharmacy marketplace. As an educational resource, coupled with top global manufacturer partnerships, DiNovo is able to help pharmacies drive efficiency, manage costs, and enhance compliance to help guide you through a constantly changing pharmacy marketplace.