Tag Archive for: Social Media
Social media has permeated just about every facet of modern life. It has become part of our culture. Today, people keep in touch and find information via text messages, tweets, snapchats, Facebook posts, and from Google. Social media is here to stay, and it’s important to know how to use it properly to promote your independent pharmacy.
Social media offers a unique opportunity to reach hundreds of current and future customers with your messages, which can be extremely helpful for your pharmacy business. Social media can act as a vehicle to deliver a wealth of information instantly. It enables pharmacy owners to gain important feedback from customer surveys and allows pharmacists to communicate with patients, and share valuable advice. Communication using social media can also allow you to share store updates, health recommendations, product reviews, photos, videos, and links to websites devoted to health matters. Social media engagement helps foster customer relationships, communication, and connection with your local community.
However, there are many important things to consider when you engage in a social media program for your pharmacy–like protecting patient privacy. Here’s a deeper look at best practices for using social media for your pharmacy.
Learn the Standards
Being a pharmacist requires special knowledge when it comes to social media. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) encourages pharmacy owners to rely on social media for educating the public about different medications and for providing information on proper usage. Additionally, the ASHP strongly warns against violation of patient privacy and confidentiality and encourages pharmacists to be mindful of what they post on social media. To ensure that patient privacy isn’t being violated, you should:
- Adhere to all laws, regulations, standards, and other mandates intended to protect patient privacy and confidentiality
- Exercise professional judgement and best practices as they relate with compliance and privacy requirements and always refrain from sharing specific patient information
- Select privacy settings on your social media accounts that provide the greatest degree of protection for personal information while keeping in mind that privacy settings are not perfect
Use the Right Networks
There’s a social network for just about everything nowadays. Each social media site is focused on a specific user type, and not everybody is on every single social network. The networks that you personally use may not be the ones your patients are using and vice versa. Look at your target audience and/or average customer and find networks that cater to that audience. For example, if the majority of your customers are family-oriented and live in suburban neighborhoods, they are most likely on Facebook. On the other hand, if your average customer is a young professional who spends a majority of her time at work, you may be able to reach her via Twitter, as this network provides instant access to the latest news and events. Before making a new profile, ask your customers what social media sites they use. Then, you know that you will be creating the profiles that are most likely to reach your customers.
With all of the different social media sites out there, it can be difficult to know the difference between them all. Here are the major differences between the major social networks: Facebook has a general population of users while LinkedIn is primarily used for business and professional networking. YouTube is the largest video hosting service and can offer a unique opportunity to post DIY and educational health videos. Twitter is used for instant communication to followers. The use of #hashtags will allow you to target to pharmacy and health related groups.
Know the Potential Dangers
Social media can be incredibly powerful, but it’s important to remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Facebook and Twitter messages can be a great way to communicate to the masses, but once a post or tweet is created, it can be hard to delete. It’s easy to delete messages from your page, but once others see them, they are out there, available for people to view, copy and save. An inappropriate post or privacy violation can instantly turn people off or worse, get your pharmacy in trouble for patient confidentiality issues.
Social media gives your pharmacy a fantastic tool to communicate with customers and position your business as a health leader in the community. Your pharmacy can post helpful information that to educate consumers about health issues, epidemics, immunizations, screenings and anything else your target customer would find valuable. Social media is here to stay, and the pharmacies that choose to engage are going to have the best results.
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.
Looking for ways to stand out from the crowd? Download our free eBook, 3 Innovative Ways to Compete in the Pharmacy Market