How Pharmacists Can Build Their Brand on Social Media
Among the health care professionals staking their ground on social media are a growing list of pharmacists and pharmacy students.
Social media presence is an important part of any brand or business—and pharmacy is no exception. As patients turn to the internet and social media more frequently to seek information, social media platforms have provided great tools for patients and health care professionals alike. Among the health care professionals staking their ground on social media are a growing list of pharmacists and pharmacy students.
Being an influencer can also be a real job these days though. Some of the biggest influencers in health care, such as Dr. Mike, ZDoggMD, Kevin Pho, and other physicians and health care professionals are creating personal brands and controlling the narrative around their expertise. Pharmacy influencers, such as Adam from The Fit Pharmacist, Leslie from The Lactation Pharmacist, and Suzy from The Pharmacist Mom’s Group, have carved out niches that they use to unite and educate others about a specific topic or movement.
Because patients and consumers are able to find more information than ever, many professionals have created platforms to divulge it. Not every physician or pharmacist is in a traditional medicine space either.
Many of these professionals have branched to wellness, fitness, skincare or functional medicine (Hello Dr. Mark Hyman!). Regardless, it’s important no matter what space a person lands, as they use their influence to spread information, promote advocacy, and raise awareness within their niche.
As an influencer, you are a brand. You decide what is at the heart of your content, what type of tone you’d like to have with your audience, and you get to determine how much of your personal life you’re going to share.
There isn’t exactly a rulebook that details how to be a top influencer—and that’s because there really is something for everyone. Ultimately, at the heart of it all is connecting with your audience.
So, let’s talk about what that means.
What is an Influencer?
According to SproutSocial, an influencer can be defined as someone who has “specialized knowledge, authority, or insight into a specific subject.”
Influencers then use this authority to connect with their target audience and give them advice, connect them with tools they can use, and promote products that the audience may be interested in. Pharmacists, pharmacy students, and other professional accounts usually fall in the micro-influencer or content creator categories.
There are several types of influencers, each with an essential role in our digital world:
- Celebrities: People who have multiple platforms to reach their audience, such as television, ads, social media, and video.
- Industry Experts: People who have made a name for themselves as an expert in their niche, who have an audience who tunes in specifically to improve their own knowledge. They may do in-person engagements as well as digital work.
- Micro-Influencers: People who have created a brand for themselves on social media and have amassed a large following online.
- Content Creators: Bloggers and vloggers who create content on a smaller scale, but still have an engaged audience.
How Do Influencers Make Money?
The biggest questions people usually ask are what do you do, how do you start, and how do you make money? Although being an influencer won’t immediately start you off with a 6-figure salary and steady work opportunities, many people use their job as an influencer to supplement their income.
Though it may look glamorous from the outside, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Over time, some can transition to working traditional full-time jobs to doing social media full-time instead.
Some of the outlets that influencers may use are digital products, podcasts, sponsored posts, or affiliate marketing. We will do a much deeper dive into this subject later in the series.
Four Steps to Consider Before You Start
Is this something you just want to play around with and see what lands, do you want a fun hobby that supplements your career or do you want to make a career out of it? There are a few key questions to ask yourself before you start.
- Ask yourself why: Why do you want to start a public social media presence? Don’t worry, this answer can evolve as you go. Answering this question will help you focus your brand and target your audience with content that is right for them. Some reasons may be to explore a creative interest, supplement your career, make connections, build a platform for advocacy, or build credibility in a niche field.
- Explore Social Platforms: One of the first steps to becoming an online influencer is actually signing up for the same platforms that your audience uses. For some people, Instagram is the only way to connect to their audience. For others, TikTok, Twitter or LinkedIn may work better. To set yourself up for success, do research on which platform is right for you before you start investing serious energy into this goal.
- Zoom in on Your Focus: Think about what you want to be known for. Make sure that any opportunities you pursue align with that vision. It will reduce your audience’s trust if you are an influencer that focuses on health, but suddenly decide to do a sponsorship with McDonald’s for a cheeseburger. To build an effective brand, you need to start out small and specific to gain an audience and continue to foster that relationship. After all, it can be tempting to try and land big brand deals, but you have to remember that your audience’s reaction is what will make or break those deals.
- Grow Your Expertise: Your brand is you. Just like you wouldn’t want to be the same version of you that you were in middle school, you don’t want your brand to stay at the same level. You need to continually push yourself to learn, improve, and do more so that you can continue to grow and help your audience as well as your own expertise.
Don’t forget that one of the best things is the ability to change. How you start does not have to be where you end.
The journey to becoming an influencer can allow you to manage your own career, connect with thousands of like-minded people, and build an income for yourself. Take careful first steps to make sure that you are on the right path to success and that you can meaningfully connect with your audience.
In the end, your brand and position as an influencer can be a reflection on your own expertise and that should always help lift up the community you work with as well.