Social media and networking is not all fun and games despite the photos, videos, games, and late-night tweets. In fact, social media is one of the most valuable and accessible marketing tools the independent pharmacy has in its pocket — literally. With a little knowledge and some dedication, you can use social media as a tool to build your business, and then some.
Welcome to our Social Media Series! In this three-part series we will discuss the value of social media, where to find your customers on social media –– and how to utilize those platforms, and then wrap up with a look at the top three social platforms that will best serve the pharmacy industry.
If you were thinking about branching out and incorporating social media into your daily routine, this series is for you. So, let’s begin!
Social media 101
What is social media besides pictures, those infamous ‘selfies’, memes, and funny videos?
Social media is defined as “the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest.” (1)
Over the past two decades, social media has grown some serious teeth to become the media channel with the most engagement over television and radio. The average social media user spends approximately two hours a day logged in (2). Researchers also report that consumers now spend 15 minutes more each day on their favorite social media channels than on television (3).
What does social media mean for your pharmacy services?
Social media opens doors and opportunities for you. When they’re not in your pharmacy, your customers spend a whole lot of time on social media. But, you can put their social media time to work to get business into your door again and again.
Your customers and partners do not simply share pictures and videos through social media. They share experiences. They talk to others. They watch people, places, and businesses that add value to their lives. And if they love something (your pharmacy, staff, the products on your shelves), they’re more than happy to rave about it to the world.
Social media also is one of the first places a consumer looks to for a pharmacy partner. Consumers look for online presence — it adds a sense of business credibility and puts a human face on your pharmacy: a healthcare-savvy friend they can turn to 24x7.
Even better, social media gives pharmacists, techs, and staff a chance to step out from behind the counter to engage with customers, boosts credibility (if you provide great service), and lets you easily reach customers wherever they happen to be (in the office, in the living room, or even in a hospital waiting room), organically.
Do you really have the time or budget to be (physically) in all those places at once? Probably not.
Social media can represent a dream come true to market your pharmacy services and can make you more visible to important business-building partners, such as pharmaceutical distribution services and group purchasing services.
Why not become easier to find and rave about?
The Benefits of Social Media: Stats Don’t Lie
Businesses around the globe are reaping the rewards of social media exposure. But don’t take our word for it. Statistics prove it.
Fifty percent of American Rx consumers say they follow their pharmacists on social media. Forty seven percent of consumers turn to Facebook, while 15 percent follow pharmacies on Twitter, and 12 percent go through Instagram. (4)
Breaking it down further, researchers say that pharmacy consumers turn to pharmacies that offer, through social media, the following (4):
- Acceptance of their insurance or Medicare Part D plan: 57%
- Competitive drug prices; 50%
- Expanded store hours: 45%
- Useful web sites: 32%
- Deals and promotions: 58%
- New offerings or services: 39%
- Health-care news: 37%
- Relevant news and tips about health and wellness: 37%
- Seasonal vaccine reminders: 31%
Even more poignant, 92 percent of consumers say that they listen to their pharmacists’ recommendations on health education or advice, while more than 54% tended to buy or use a new product that their pharmacist recommended on social media (4).
That’s a lot of data supporting the viability of social media to build and boost your pharmacy’s business.
The numbers don’t lie. Social media can have a positive effect (5) on an independent pharmacies customers and business. And, let’s face it, in a market as volatile and competitive as pharmacy can be, the edge is going to go to those pharmacies that make themselves visible in that sea of competition. So, don’t be a wall-flower on the social scene, hanging back in the shadows watching –– jump in and participate. You might just find your market popularity growing and your customer loyalty strengthening.
Has your pharmacy participated in social media? Which sites do you find most helpful? How has the incorporation of social media into your routine impacted –– positively or negatively –– your pharmacy? We’d love to know and may even share those experiences in future blog posts, white papers, and e-books. If you’d like to add your experience, please contact BB Drake.
Be sure to follow this blog for more tips, insights and bulletins that can help grow your pharmacy and save you money – all from your partners at AlliantRx.