In today’s digital age, it’s no secret that having a social media presence for your business is an essential part of growing a loyal customer base. Social media allows pharmacies to join groups, take part in industry conversations, and share information with a wider audience. Social media has literally changed the way businesses interact with their current and prospective customers. Getting started with social media is easier than you might think.
If you didn’t take “social media 101,” you might be overwhelmed at the thought of using social media for your pharmacy. Even if you are active on your personal Facebook account, utilizing social media for your pharmacy business may seem daunting.Thinking about utilizing social media for your pharmacy? It can be extremely beneficial for business, so here are some best practices to get you started:
Learn the standards
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has a statement on their website encouraging pharmacy professionals to use social media to connect to and educate the public. Social media is a great way for pharmacies to enhance their relationships with patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the public. However, the ASHP also states that pharmacy professionals who use social media should do so in a professional, responsible, and respectful manner. Additionally, they warn pharmacists to be careful not to violate patient privacy.
Target your audience
Social media has evolved so much over the past several years, and it seems as though there’s a platform for just about everything. Before creating an account, identify which sites your target audience might use the most. For example, Facebook has a pretty general audience while LinkedIn is more geared toward professionals. Twitter tends to have a younger audience, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a diverse audience there as well. If you’re looking to share visual content, YouTube is your best bet. There’s no point in creating an account if you’re not going to use it, so do some research and talk to your customers before joining.
Share useful information
As a pharmacy entrepreneur, you’re a highly trained professional with many years of experience. Don’t underestimate the value of the knowledge you have. If you think something is important or helpful, share it! You never know who could benefit from the information you share. Also, don’t be afraid to share articles from other industry experts. Your social media posts can be yours or from reputable third-parties (just be sure you give credit when it’s due). Every piece of credible information you share helps develop you as a thought leader in your industry.
Interact and engage
Think of social media as an avenue for creating conversations. After all, it’s called social media for a reason. You shouldn’t be spending all of your time posting content but rather think of social media as a two-way conversation. Spend time looking through comments and posts, and respond to what other people are posting. It can be as simple as saying, “We’re glad you found this helpful.” Additionally, when you encounter negative comments, don’t delete them. Instead, take the time to respond to them and find ways to improve the situation. When you try to fix any wrongdoings, you’re showing your audience that you offer extraordinary customer service and that you care about your customers.
Be careful when giving advice
The value of your online presence increases as more and more patients turn to the Internet to seek medical information. With all of the misinformation out there and “self-diagnosis,” you may be tempted to give out all of the free advice that you can. While it’s important that you counter misinformation with your expert knowledge, be careful not to violate patient privacy and always encourage patients to meet with a doctor or pharmacist face-to-face. Remember: you don’t to give advice online. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but if you do give advice, just make sure you’re mindful.
Always be professional
When you post on social media, you’re not only representing your pharmacy brand. You’re also representing yourself as a professional pharmacy entrepreneur. Mistakes on social media can create the perception of a lack of professionalism. Whenever you post something ask yourself: “is this how I want my brand represented online?” It’s okay to be funny or witty if it makes sense, but think through what you are communicating before you hit send. Also, try not to complain on your company social media accounts, and avoid being negative or using slang.Social media is a great place to share industry news, give advice, and promote new programs. Before you start posting, it’s important that you educate yourself on social media best practices so you can avoid preventable mistakes.
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