Which Social Media Platform Works Best for Your Pharmacy Business?

Without an effective social media presence, you may never know how your brand's being represented online.

Without an effective social media presence, you may never know how your brand’s being represented online.

Although traditional advertising via commercials and billboards remains the focus of the marketing budget for most community pharmacies, large chains have set a clear example by investing in tools like Google Ads, e-mail messaging, and social media channels.

Your patients have access to social media at their fingertips, and they’re talking about your business. It’s time to take control of the platforms that best serves your business and its needs.

Here are some key options for those just getting started with social media and those who want to try something new:

Facebook is a must.

According to Pew research, 72% of adult Internet users are on Facebook. That’s a captive audience just waiting for engagement.

Not only are younger users actively engaged on Facebook, but this platform is also the easiest way to access every age group. If you don’t have a Facebook page, make sure to check and see if a temporary page has been created already with map details.

Use Facebook to share your hours, highlight promotions, and provide meaningful tips to your users. Keep content short and sweet, using images or videos whenever possible.

Tag and engage local community groups. For example, if the local high school’s playing its rival, tag the team’s page in your message. This will allow your post to be seen by more users and increase likes.

Try running a promotion where Facebook followers get 10% off in your store.

Twitter will help you build relationships with the next generation.

Twitter’s a much different platform than Facebook. Its users are mostly younger, so it provides a tool to engage the next generation of patients. Tweets are limited to 144 characters, so you really do have to keep it short and sweet.

If you’re managing a social content calendar, your Twitter post can largely mirror your Facebook one. However, hashtags are even more important on this platform. Use them to call out your city, so when a user is looking at a list of tweets about #ATL (Atlanta), for example, they may run across your pharmacy and decide to follow it.

Yelp is a can’t-miss opportunity for the new word-of-mouth.

Yelp is the go-to platform when deciding which restaurant or local business to visit. Pharmacies have a huge opportunity to know what’s being said and serve a proactive response role.

Consumers today want to know what their peers think about a local provider. They listen to feedback and have access to unique avenues to do so. Yelp is one of the key platforms for this authentic review. If a customer is looking for a pharmacy in your area and your page doesn’t exist, or the pharmacy down the road has more reviews, you’re already missing a chance to engage that customer.

Upload pictures of your pharmacy and ask regular patients to post a Yelp review. Perhaps, offer 10% off for those who review your service.

It’s very possible to get a negative review on Yelp, but at least then you know it’s out there, and you have a chance to respond and make it better. Much like with any social platform, you’ll want to respond in a timely fashion to demonstrate your commitment to customer service.

Google+ will make sure you’re integrated into Google’s network.

Google is so pervasive that it’s become a regularly used noun and verb. Google+ may not be the favorite platform for consumers, but it’s increasingly important for businesses.

Through a Google+ page, you can update your Google Maps location information and ensure that reviews are available from Yelp or other programs. Successful integration with Google+ may also mean better search optimization. When someone’s looking for your business, it’s a must that they’re able to find it.

Build and maintain a basic Google+ page with the same details you use on Facebook. Make sure to include imagery and strong branding, and as with any other platform, be prepared to engage.

YouTube lets you tell your story.

Videos are becoming easier to create and are very effective when engaging on social. Do you already have commercial running on a local station? Upload it to YouTube and start posting it on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t be afraid to create additional videos. Introduce your staff and do a walk around your pharmacy. Whatever your goal, use this platform to introduce your viewers to your pharmacy and what makes it different.

Then, share the videos on your social platforms and encourage comments and engagement. Perhaps you get a question on Facebook about staying healthy during flu season: do a quick video response and thank the user while providing helpful tips for others in the community.

This level of responsive communication is the key to building authentic relationships and gaining patients for life.

Other options exist for the social explorer.

Instagram and Pinterest are great for retail pharmacies that have products in the storefront to show off. A compounding pharmacy could also use these outlets to share a unique product or solve problems for a specific group, like women facing menopause. Although Instagram should be updated at least weekly, Pinterest can be engaging without constant input.

For social video and images, consider Snapchat or Vine. They both engage a younger group, but if you have some great product to showcase or tips to share, they’re worth considering.

Finally, LinkedIn is a great opportunity to highlight your pharmacy in the business community. It can help with recruiting and allows for posting to local professionals. If you’re hoping to engage medical professionals in your community and encourage nurse practitioners or any other groups to send business your way, look no further than LinkedIn.

Using one or more of these platforms will help you know how your brand’s being represented online and guide you to invest in other social media channels.