Understanding Facebook Live and How to Leverage It for Your Pharmacy

Facebook Live is a new engaging alternative for standard posts or video that allows a pharmacy to engage real-time with their social community.

Social media platforms are always updating and enhancing their design or functionality. Perhaps you’ve seen the new LinkedIn format or tried Instgram story creation, but even if you haven’t heard of these, you’ve likely watched or just noticed a Facebook Live video on your feed.

Facebook provided this new engaging alternative for standard posts or video that allow an individual or business to engage real-time with their social community. But how can you make these work for you?

With a personal or verified business Facebook page, live videos are a breeze through your mobile device. There are, however, some things you may want to consider before hitting go:

  • Use the proper equipment like a selfie stick.
  • Outline what you want to say in advance.
  • Mix it up and invite guests to participate on occasion.
  • Have a water nearby just in case you get thirsty.
  • Find a spot with good lighting.
  • Avoid overly loud areas or consider wearing a microphone if needed.

Once you’ve decided Facebook Live is right for your personal or business Facebook page, it’s time to think about the content you’ll be producing. Here are a few ideas for using Facebook Live to build your brand.

1. Highlight events, contests, or seminars.

The best thing about Facebook Live is that it’s a transparent touch point with your patients. If you have an event planned, Facebook Live can amplify and drive better engagement.

A few years ago, I hosted a women’s summit for my compounding pharmacy and we discussed finding balance. This would have been the perfect time to leverage Facebook Live if it had existed. Plan to go live for a portion of your event or broadcast a 20-minute presentation, whatever your community will find engaging.

Always remember the special regulations that pharmacies must adhere. Keep HIPPA first and foremost in any plan that could reveal patient information. Make it your goal to honor your patient’s rights. Ask for and get a signed consent before highlighting a patient during your broadcast. Set up where you know you will not catch any unsuspecting patients during your broadcast. Most patients are happy to give a testimonial or be featured in a broadcast, but do not assume that is always the case.

Think outside your pharmacy’s events. Are you running in a 5k for charity? Go live after the event and thank employees and customers for supporting a great cause. Amplify your community involvement with clever Facebook Live video posts.

Finally, if you’re building your thought leadership profile, go live from a conference or seminar. Let people know where you are and highlight the top takeaways of the event.

Don’t forget that people will be watching live as well as viewing the recap, so give them a few prompts that encourage questions and engagement.

2. Show-off your latest products.

Community pharmacies have a great opportunity to highlight products around the store through Facebook Live.

A local pharmacy in my area has a section for specialty candles and accessories of all kinds. A video that walks customers through the different types available should they need a unique gift, is a great way to enhance their brand. Of course, you should be prepared to answer questions about the quality of each product. For example, with candles, note how long it will burn and describe the different scents that are available.

If you don’t directly offer a front end retail component in your pharmacy, you can still use Facebook Live to highlight your special services. For instance in a compounding pharmacy, you could highlight the specific dosage forms that you can make into gummies or a specialized dog treat that includes a pet’s medication. These services could be something your customers may be interested in and they have no idea that you are able to offer these services.

Let your customer know your story. What is it that sets your pharmacy apart ? Highlight what is unique and different about your pharmacy and focus on that service. Remember to be prepared to answer any questions about what you choose to focus on and be prepared to answer those questions during the broadcast.

We all have a life story and a message that can inspire others to live a better life or run a better business. Why not use that story and message to serve others and grow a real business doing it?

3. Respond to Q&A.

If you are active on social or have a blog, you likely have questions coming in from patients on occasion. Pull a synopsis of what you’ve heard and go live to answer a sampling of the most commonly-asked questions.

You should have some prepared questions to answer, but also be open to answering them on the fly if your viewers reach out during the Facebook Live. This access and transparency is a huge win for your business and can help build your standing as a thought leader in the your medical community.

4. Offer tips and suggestions.

Themed Facebook Live events are a great way to discuss a topic your customers care about. Perhaps flu season is right around the corner and you want to address questions and concerns about the flu vaccine.

Prior to going live, be prepared to share information should your patients not engage during the live segment. Prepare as if you were going to talk to a patient one-on-one and coach them on identifying family members or friends who might be a candidate for the flu vaccine. Have some data so you can share some statistics from the CDC about the flu. Be genuine and educate while staying vigilant so you can focus on responding to your patients as they comment during your broadcast if they are on live.

Reach out and bring in a local guest from the community. This can be a big win. Perhaps you want to have a local doctor swing by to discuss a medical issue or you might have a teacher share a short message with tips about infection control in the classroom, like hand sanitizer. This would be a big topic at the start of the school year or when there is an flu outbreak in your community. Recently, several counties around our area closed schools in attempt to slow a flu outbreak. What a perfect opportunity for a community pharmacy to step up and educate the community and highlight their pharmacy and services in the process.

Be observant and creative! Look for ways to educate and ask your patients what they would like to learn. Be ready to create the content they are interested in learning.

6. Go behind-the-scenes or celebrate employees.

Your pharmacy and your staff is your biggest asset. Give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your pharmacy or introduce them to your team. Avoid broadcasting sensitive areas that highlight where you store controlled drugs. Use common sense and avoid any areas that you would not be able to show a patient.

If you have an outstanding staff member, prepare 3 quick facts about them and give them a shout out on Facebook Live. If you have an interesting compound or infusion process that customers don’t often see, walk the viewer behind-the-scenes for a look at a day in the life of a specialty pharmacist.

7. Listen to your customers and track metrics and feedback live.

One of the biggest benefits about Facebook Live is live feedback. People can like or react to your message while it is happening. Those watching can indicate they like what they see by clicking and a heart which floats across the page. As more viewers engage and see comments or engagements from fellow viewers they will be encouraged to engage themselves.

Comments also happen in real-time. Not only can you respond, but those watching the video later can comment or simply read through the questions posed by others. As with all social outlets, conversation is critical. Don’t let questions sit out there unanswered. Engage your customers and offer to solve their problems.

8. Edit and reuse the Facebook Live video content.

Once the video is complete, don't just move on. You can title the segment and make comments to ensure your key messages come across. Then you can leverage the video on your Facebook page or push it out on other platforms.

This is your chance to amplify the engaging content you created and help it have life beyond the live segment.

Make sure to post in advance of the event so that your community knows when you will be live. By advertising your Facebook LIve you can encourage more engagement real-time. Then, just keep amplifying on the back end.