Every pharmacist has heard it a thousand times: your pharmacy needs to be using social media to promote your business. This message is heard across every industry, yet 24% of small businesses are still not using any form of social media1. More now than ever, consumers are turning to online resources such as Facebook to make buying decisions. It is important for local pharmacies to create and maintain a strong social media presence.
The most modern form of social media sites saw their beginnings in the late 1990s2. Much like television and radio, social networking sites were initially discounted as a niche interest for a small number of people. But like television and radio, social media’s popularity has exploded and is part of many people’s daily lives. Today there are over 2.5 billion active social media users worldwide3 with the most popular social network being Facebook. Social media platforms provide you with the unique opportunity to connect with your current patients while also being exposed to possibly hundreds of potential new patients with every post shared. It is likely that many patients at your pharmacy are already utilizing social media on a daily basis.
There is a misconception that the majority of people logging in to social networking sites are younger teens and adults. This is false- multiple studies confirm that individuals aged 65 and older are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook4. In 2010, less than 10% of adults over 65 were using any social media, but as of 2016 that has grown to 35%, and is expected to continue to increase5.
Using social media platforms can be extremely valuable to your pharmacy on multiple levels. There are measurable benefits that can be tied to a successful social media strategy. A 2017 report regarding social media marketing efforts cited that 88% of businesses experienced increased exposure, 78% experienced increased traffic, and 52% reported increased sales that can all be traced back to their social media efforts6.
Meet your patients where they are
There are certain benefits of social media that aren’t as easily measured. As a pharmacist, you are well aware of the importance of the pharmacist-patient relationship. Beyond providing an opportunity for promotion, websites like Facebook allow you to provide more value and add a personal touch with all your patients. Patients who live with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, may appreciate seeing articles about the latest research, diet tips, or about easy exercise routines. Similarly, patients who are loyal, but infrequent visitors would likely enjoy seeing more personal updates, like when your staff celebrates their favorite technician’s birthday, or you celebrate your pharmacy’s anniversary. Additionally, social media sites like Facebook provide your patients with an alternative way to contact you with their non-urgent questions at any time (Will your pharmacy have special hours for the upcoming holiday? Do you have their favorite tissues in stock?).
Just as televisions and radios have stayed classic staples in American life, it seems that social media is here to stay as well. Given this prediction, it is best for pharmacies to begin including Facebook and other social media platforms into their business model. As a local pharmacist, your patients already trust the service and advice that you provide for them and their families. Capitalizing on social media will allow you to further build a relationship with your patients, provide further value to their care, and attract new patients while doing so.
- Panko, R. (2017, March 8). Social Media for Small Business: 2017 Survey. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://clutch.co/agencies/social-media-marketing/resources/small-business-2017-survey#channels
- Hendricks, D. (2013, May 06). Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/the-complete-history-of-social-media-infographic.html
- (n.d.). Number of social media users worldwide 2010-2020. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
- Perrin, A. (2015, October 08). Social Media Usage: 2005-2015. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/
- Social Media Fact Sheet. (2017, January 12). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/
- Stelzner, M. A. (2017, May). 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Industry-Report-2017.pdf