Pharmacies

Effective Use of Social Media, Part 1

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Effective Use of Social Media: Staying Relevant

Social media can be considered drip marketing. You're getting your pharmacy's name out there on a very regular basis to current and potential customers. I look at social media in a similar way that some companies use billboard advertising: you're promoting your store on a billboard on the web, with a message you can change every day.  Sure, some folks may drive right past it, completely ignoring what you have to say. The challenge is getting the majority of people to look at it and take some type of action after reading your message.

Part of that challenge is ensuring your message is relevant and changes frequently, about one time per day. You want people to read what you have to say and derive some type of benefit from it. Having a clear social media strategy begins with knowing whether you want to advertise or educate your followers, or perhaps a little of each.

When it comes to advertising, I'd recommend running a promotion every three or four days.  Any more and you start looking a bit desperate. I took an admittedly non-scientific poll among friends about this, and the feedback was unanimous: When businesses they've "liked" on Facebook start over-promoting, they just "unlike" them (just like those billboards). Building rapport with those that follow you is important.  Once these individuals can look to you as a resource for relevant information, that's when your advertising can really make a difference. 

That takes us to my preferred strategy - educating your friends and followers. There is always a news story out there that you can link to and make a brief, but intelligent comment about. I try to do this daily, or at least every other day. My marketing concept is to position our store as problem solvers and an information resource. More and more people are using the Internet for news, and more people are using social media sites to gather it.  Having a web presence and using it to establish your pharmacy as a go-to resource for pertinent information can make you a relevant player in the online marketing segment.

Social Media Quick Tip:
Still not sure what information to provide online or how to do it?

There are all kinds of places to find interesting articles and information to share.  Start with Google Health News or the Health and Wellness section of an online news site. If there is a story in your local paper's online edition, post a link to it and add your commentary to demonstrate your expertise.

As for the specific tool to share information, Facebook and Twitter are best.  If you want people to know that their friends have been at your store, Four Square is for you.  If you like to blog (by video or text), YouTube and Word Press are great vehicles.  

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