Social media and your Pharmacy
Social media has come a very long way in a few short years. From a way for teenagers to keep tabs on their friends, it has become a powerful marketing tool - one that your pharmacy needs to use.
Social media - by way of social media marketing - is now seen as a powerful way for retail businesses of all types and sizes to reach a growing section of the population that includes valuable prospects and customers. If you're not speaking directly to your customers - and potential customers - through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, you're missing out on some powerful new business drivers.
Marketing on social media - or social marketing - can bring remarkable success to your business and even directly drive leads and sales.
Social Media Marketing Tips for pharmacists
Using social media is not like putting ads in your local paper. You are not advertising in the classical sense - instead, you are providing content that will interest your target audience. Content - all the things you can use to interest, excite and motivate your readers - is the most important element of social media marketing. Make sure you post regularly and offer truly valuable information that your ideal customers will find helpful and worth reading. The content that you share on your social networks can include images, news of new products and treatments, how to use products - even videos.
You can even provide links to other material that you have found online. Just remember, different social media marketing channels require different approaches.
Facebook and your pharmacy
Facebook is no longer cutting edge, but it can still be an important communication tool for community pharmacy, because it has so many daily users - a huge proportion of the population is on Facebook, whether we like it or not, to the tune of 2.41 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2019*.
Facebook is a service that people use when they want to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and informal - and be sure you sound friendly and approachable.
Organic reach on Facebook - where your post is shared with other people by you readers - can be extremely limited. You may have to consider paid advertising which can get your message out to where it counts. Remember to make your post useful to readers. For example, send people to your online booking calendar where they can book in for their travel vaccines and flu shots.
Using Pinterest to promote your pharmacy
Pinterest is currently one of the fastest-growing social media marketing channels and is becoming a strong search engine. It allows your pharmacy to showcase product ranges while also developing your brand personality with eye-catching, unique pinboards. Remember that the social network's primary audience is female - making it ideal when you want to showcase the latest beauty trends. Show the look - and link to your website, with details of the techniques - and of course the products - needed to achieve it.
Instagram is another image-based service, and actually part of Facebook - and connected to your Facebook page, is a must-have tool. You’ll need to put some time into growing your local audience but it could pay dividends.
Daily posts can showcase your pharmacy services and you can create lives and Instagram Stories from within your pharmacy - ideal if you have a new product or a promotion. You can even sell products directly through an Instagram posting.
Google My Business
Google My Business is not primarily a social platform but it is an essential tool for any bricks and mortar business. It lets you control how customers will perceive your pharmacy on Google search and maps. Making it look good and providing useful images and your opening hours is the next step - and make sure you include all the search terms you want to be found with. Operate a smoking cessation service? Make sure you include Stop Smoking as a search term.
You can also talk to customers through Google my Business in real-time.
For example, if you sell mobility scooters, you can add the category ‘mobility centre’ to your profile, making it visible to people for those keywords. It is tremendously powerful.
What about Linkedin for your pharmacy?
LinkedIn should be seen as one of the more professionally-oriented social media services. It may not be the first choice for retail promotion, but LinkedIn Groups provide a means to network and share content with like-minded individuals. This means it can be great when there is a professional debate that you want to join in - and it can be ideal for posting jobs.
Do you need help?
Making the most of social media is now a full-time job in many businesses, and you may not be able to spare the time to develop the expertise you need, let alone take care of creating new content, posting and analysing responses.
Fortunately, it can be relatively easy to outsource the work of running your social media marketing. New web and social agencies are popping up in most towns, and they will be able to provide you with a range of services to suit your available budget.
Of course, the cost of skilled people’s time will be high, and you may need to compromise if cash is tight. But rather than run the risk of not harnessing the power of social media, you might want to consider borrowing to cover the investment. Your social media should be able to pay for itself in terms of additional business that it generates for you - even if you need a little help with your cashflow at the outset.
Dealing with the costs of outsourced social media
The costs of outsourced social media are precisely predictable - there are no hidden charges from the social platforms themselves, and you can invest as much or as little as you wish - but you might want to create a social media splash to establish your pharmacy, with paid advertising as well as cleverly written and designed content.
At Rangewell, our financial team includes specialists working to support the pharmaceutical sector. We know the cost of social media - and the kind of investment you will want to make.
That means that by calling on us at Rangewell you can be sure of getting our experts working for you - and the most cost-effective ways to raise the finance you need.
*Stats according to Facebook Newsroom & correct at time of publishing.