Magazine article Drug Topics

Time for Pharmacies to Get "Social"

Magazine article Drug Topics

Time for Pharmacies to Get "Social"

Article excerpt

DISPENSED AS WRITTEN

From keeping us in touch with Mends and family to reconnecting us with former colleagues, social media have changed the way we interact. Recently brand and business pages, from Facebook pages for local grocery stores to a Twitter account for Snickers candy bars, have been popping up on popular social media sites.

What does all this mean for independent pharmacy owners? It means that community pharmacies now have an opportunity to promote their businesses online with an added level of personalized interaction that many competitors cannot match. To accomplish this in an environment where customers already congregate is an unprecedented opportunity.

From time to time, there is media buzz about businesses that have "gone viral" using Facebook or other promotional social media tools. That kind of social media success may seem easy.

However, businesses that take an 'Tf you build it, they will come" approach to social media end up struggling to achieve their desired results, leaving them frustrated and doubting the true value of social media.

These 5 universal best practices can maximize potential for social media success and help to earn an online audience's respect, business, and referrals.

Share engaging content

Good content strikes a balance between adding value to the community, engaging your audience, and promoting your business. Consider the types of information you would share with patients in your store; social media should be an extension of that relationship. A few ideas:

* Links to third-party health articles

* "Discussion-starter" questions (e.g., "What are you doing to prepare for flu season?")

* Information about community events your pharmacy will be sponsoring or taking part in

* Photos and videos that give a visual impression of your pharmacy

Remember the importance of "quality over quantity," Posting 1 engaging update is better than churning out several of lesser value.

Build a content bank

Develop a content calendar around timely or seasonal topics. For example, focus on allergy information as spring approaches, outdoor health and safety in summer months, and flu prevention in the fall. This allows you to strategically plan the subjects you'll be posting and maintain a balance between marketing messages and useful, engaging information. …

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