Community Pharmacies Actively Use Social Media, Survey Says

If you think social media is just for tech-savvy teenagers, think again.

If you think social media is just for tech-savvy teenagers, think again.

Results of a recent survey by RxWiki show the impact that social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, can have on community pharmacies.

According to the findings, which were released on September 9, 2016, two-thirds of surveyed community pharmacies actively use social media. Of those pharmacies, 63% use Facebook and 24% use Twitter. However, they have low usage of other social media sites, such as Instagram (12%) and Pinterest (2%).

Almost 70% of those respondents felt that social media has made a positive impact on their business, either by allowing them to stay connected to their patients or by driving customers to their store.

“Posting on Facebook helps us stay connected with our patients in a way that works for them,” said Petty Vogel, office manager for Coastal Pharmacy, in a press release from RxWiki. “By pushing great content to our patients through social media, we can extend the personal relationship we have with our patients to the digital forum.”

So, how are pharmacies using these social media platforms? The survey responses suggest most post health-related content and general information about the pharmacy, usually one or more times a week. The individuals in charge of posting vary. In some pharmacies, it’s the pharmacist who engages in posting for the account, while in other pharmacies, the owner or business manager manages the platform.

Still, not all community pharmacies are ready to adopt these digital strategies.

“Most small businesses don’t think that social media can really drive results for their businesses, especially for populations that might be a little older or for businesses that deal with serious issues like patient health,” stated RxWiki Senior Vice President Azim Nagree. “But what we’ve seen is that people of all ages are consuming content because it’s really like talking to your pharmacist.”

Among respondents who indicated that they don’t use social media, lack of time was the biggest reason cited, although respondents who do use social media typically spend just a few minutes each day managing their accounts. Fewer than 20% of respondents said that lack of understanding about the platforms is the reason they don’t use social networks.

Social media can also be used as a tool to increase business, as well. In addition to traditional advertising, 23% of pharmacies surveyed admitted to advertising on social media, especially through Facebook, in order to expand their brand. They typically spend between $10 and $100 per month.

“We find that advertising on these networks can generate more business for us, and with the targeting capabilities, we can reach only the people in our area,” said Shawn Sams, owner/pharmacists at Louis Morgan Drug #4.

Social media can serve as effective means to reach a larger audience interested in the general pharmacy community, as well as directly target the pharmacies’ specific patients and their needs. The results of the survey indicate that social media isn’t a trend that’s likely to dissipate any time soon, and fitting community pharmacies’ reach into a digital format has become a more prevalent strategy.

The survey was sent by e-mail to 13,100 community pharmacists on August 16, 2016, and 181 responded.