Social Media for Pharmacists: How to Be Professional and Engaging

Pharmacy Careers, Pharmacy Careers August 2016, 0

Social media can help pharmacists take control over their brand image.

Social media can help pharmacists take control over their brand image.

Building a social network and engaging with the community is critical for both independent pharmacists and pharmacists with blogs.

Independent pharmacists who own their own stores should consider using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to attract customers and build a sense of community. It shouldn’t take too many minutes of your day to update your social media platforms, and the reward for this work will translate to loyal, frequent customers.

For pharmacists who write blog posts, social media is the most effective way to remind people to stop by your website and read your content. Pharmacists should be sure to schedule a post on social media for each new article they write.

Here are some tips pharmacists can use to boost their social media presence.

For Facebook:

  • Use short, declarative sentences or calls to action, such as: “Stop by our pharmacy today for your flu shot!”
  • Upload photos that are 1200 x 630 pixels—these are the ideal dimensions for shared images.
  • Schedule your posts for when your audience is most likely to be online. To find this data, click on Insights on your Facebook page, then Posts on the left-hand side. Maybe your readers like to check their Facebook page at lunch, or maybe they don’t get time until after dinner. Time your posts to make sure they will attract the greatest number of eyes.
  • Experiment with how often you post and find a balance between posting too little and oversaturating people’s feeds.
  • Share a variety of content. Ask questions, tell them what you offer, and provide education.
  • Watch what your favorite Facebook pages do, and try using some of their techniques. In the Overview section of the Insights tab, Facebook highlights “Pages to Watch.” This is also how you can find out how engaged people are with similar pages on Facebook.
  • Try tailoring your content. If you have a product that you know will be especially important or popular in a specific population, you can choose the preferred audience for the post. When creating a post, select the target symbol in the lower left corner. A box will pop up that offers a preferred audience. If you want people who are interested in nutrition, for example, type that into the Interests box.
  • If you’re struggling to gain followers or you find that no one is liking or commenting on your post, you can also pay for followers or “boost” posts to get more reach.
  • Write back to people who have questions or comments on your posts.
  • Do not complain about patients. Besides the obvious problem of potentially violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, your followers won’t appreciate negative posts. One pharmacist complained about a patient who was upset when a medication wasn’t in stock, and his post went viral and led to a National Health Service investigation.

For Twitter:

  • Sign up for websites like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets and keep track of people who mention or retweet what you tweet.
  • The ideal dimensions for images on Twitter are 1024 x 512. Make sure to include a photo with every post, because images make your tweets much more likely to be retweeted.
  • Since Twitter feeds are constantly updated throughout the day and not everyone will see what you tweet, don’t be afraid to schedule the same or slightly altered tweet more than once.
  • Favorite and retweet others’ tweets. They’ll be more likely to look at your feed and engage back with your content.
  • Try joining Tweetchats to share your content and build community. One pharmacy-focused Tweetchat to consider participating in is #Rxchat, which takes place on Wednesdays at 12:30 PM EST.
  • Don’t use too many hashtags. Focus on the most important nouns or phrases.

For Instagram:

  • Share the personal side of your pharmacy if you keep an account for your independent pharmacy. Consider sharing photos of your staff with information about their background or interests in the description text.
  • Try taking photos of new OTC products in stock. If it’s a nice day out, remind patients to stop by for some sunscreen at your pharmacy, for example.
  • Currently, Instagram does not allow for clickable links within posts, but you can put your pharmacy’s website or blog URL in your bio.
  • Not sure which filter to use? A team of researchers looked at the most popular filters around the world and found that Clarendon topped the list.1 Gingham was the next most popular in 16 states, while Juno was most popular in the West, South, and Northeast. Montana residents like Mayfair, Nebraskans like Walden, and Arkansas natives goes crazy over Sierra.
  • Tag your post with your pharmacy’s location so customers can find out what where exactly you’re located.
  • Like Facebook and Twitter, use short sentences, and sprinkle in only 1 or 2 hashtags.

Reference:

  • Study: the most popular Instagram filters from around the world. Canva. https://designschool.canva.com/blog/popular-instagram-filters/. February 10, 2016. Accessed June 15, 2016.