- Not having a social media presence today is like not having a listing in the phone book in past decades.
- A robust social media presence can direct more customers to your pharmacy and build more loyalty among existing customers.1
- In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee you can make progress on your pharmacy’s social media.
Customers are increasingly turning online to make purchasing decisions. Whether they are searching for a pharmacy on Google or checking a Facebook page for their first impression of your business, maintaining a robust online and social media presence is essential.
Why online presence matters
- 89% of smartphone users look up a local business online at least once a week, and half visit the store within a day.2
- 82% of consumers check online reviews before a first-time purchase.3
- 72% of Internet users have looked for health information online in the past year.4
Many of the actions you can take to improve your online profile take little time. When you drink your cup of coffee in the morning, or the halftime break occurs in your favorite sports program, grab your laptop and try these:
- Review your basics. If you already have an online presence, make sure the information is correct. Don’t assume that the phone number on your Facebook profile doesn’t have a typo, that a staff member is regularly checking the postings, or that you remembered to update your store hours when you changed them. Mistakes don’t make a positive impression and can drive away potential customers. (See the Health Mart® resources, “Online Directories: A How-To Guide” and “Would You Turn Down a Free Billboard?”)
- Track your competitors. Do you know what your competitors are posting on social media or what’s being said about them online? For example, if Yelp reviews regularly complain about the lengthy wait times at your competitor, consider emphasizing your fast refills and free deliveries in your marketing efforts.
- Adopt others’ good ideas. Check out how other pharmacies are thriving online. Are they posting a variety of content? What posts drive engagement such as likes, comments and shares? For example, Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy has nearly 2,500 followers on its Facebook page, and Parkland provides a mix of content, including health information, product ads and posts about an employee’s new baby. Or check out Aubrey Health Mart Pharmacy’s Facebook page to see its 30-second videos created to introduce staff members.
- Make your social presence sociable. Don’t overdo the corporate mode on your professional social media handles — be personal and personable; create personal connections with customers by not making it all about business. Pelican Drug Health Mart posted a photo of staff dressed up as prescription bottles on Halloween. (See “14 Great Facebook Posts from Community Pharmacies.”)
- Integrate social media. Add a social media component to your other activities. For example, when hiring, post an announcement on your Facebook page, like River Road Health Mart Pharmacy. When you schedule a print or radio ad for a promotion, add that to your social media calendar too. Also, make sure that your website and social media pages all link to one another.
- Schedule posts. Using an app such as HootSuite, create social media posts in advance and set them to appear on multiple channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. (See “How to Craft and Schedule Social Media Posts Using HootSuite”.)
- Use hashtags. Adding the # symbol with a relevant word or phrase helps online users find your post when they search for topics. Use the search function on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check for posts with a particular hashtag, such as #pharmacy, and use hashtags in your posts to lead more people to you. (During McKesson ideaShare in July, you can follow the action at #mckessonideashare2017.)
- Be spontaneous. By having a social media mindset, you can find creative ways throughout the day to connect with people online. For example, on Jan. 7, 2017, Easley Health Mart Pharmacy posted a photo of the pharmacy after a snowfall. Other pharmacies regularly post how much they were able to help a customer save on prescriptions.
To reap the full benefits of social media, consider delegating that task to someone who can devote time to it every day and can ensure a prompt response when people post on your Facebook page or post a Yelp review. See also “5 Ways to Make Your Social Media Efforts More Successful” and “6 Steps to Boost Your Online Visibility.”
Follow and share
In addition to posting your own content, share and comment on other posts to boost your pharmacy’s online presence. For example, follow the Health Mart Pharmacy page on Facebook and the social media accounts of pharmacy associations to which you belong.
1 “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing,” Jayson DeMers, Forbes, Aug. 11, 2014. LINK
2 “Local SEO Statistics You Must Know,” Stacey Rudolph, Business 2 Community, May 31, 2016. LINK
3 “Online Shopping and E-Commerce,” Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center, Dec. 19, 2016. LINK
4 “Health Online 2013,” Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan, Pew Research Center, Jan. 15, 2013. LINK