As we all know, social media has become more than an outlet to post pictures of your food or your cat’s latest destructive antics. It has long been a platform to boost your brand, company, or general presence on the internet.
For independent pharmacies, your Facebook page is an invaluable marketing tool and a way to establish your presence in the community.
As with many things in the pharmacy industry, it’s all about numbers. Facebook has shaped social media into what it is today:
Facebook is the third most popular website in the world behind Google and YouTube. Nearly 3 billion people use Facebook every month, according to Statista.
The website has many features (more on that later) that can generate word of mouth.
Compared to Twitter or Instagram, it’s the only social media outlet where users can leave reviews on your place of business. As such, it’s essential to run your Facebook page as effectively as possible.
There is a method to the madness of social media, and embracing Facebook in all its charms and quirks will make help you reach a wider audience.
Here are some of the Facebook best practices to make the most out of your pharmacy’s Facebook profile.
Sometimes the simplest thing to do is also the hardest — but it can be the most effective. The almighty blue check mark next to your independent pharmacy’s name simply makes you look legit.
In the era of misinformation, users are more likely to go somewhere that has a verified page on Facebook. It gives them a rightful sense of security and comfort knowing that your independent pharmacy is the real deal.
For starters, make sure your pharmacy’s profile is a business profile and go on the Facebook website to request verification. Follow the corresponding steps and the rest should take care of itself.
Though having your page verified is the online equivalent of having a superpower, it’s how you fill your patients’ feeds that’ll make you stay in the game.
By far the fastest growing feature on Facebook is their Reels feature. It’s a clear reaction to the otherworldly success of TikTok, where users can make or watch short, easy-to-digest videos.
As the last year or so has shown, this is much more than a passing fad. News companies, journalists, and countless popular brands are using this format to further their popularity and online presence. At an independent pharmacy, you’ll not want to leave any stone unturned.
Come up with fun, lighthearted video ideas to film that also reinforce your brand. Have your logo or pharmacy name be constantly prominent in your videos so viewers will intuitively remember your brand.
Reels are also a great way to promote your pharmacy’s services, namely clinical services and vaccines (hello flu season), so start recording.
Creativity is a plus and a must here. Stand out from the rest of the competition by following online trends and combining them with your brand (within the bounds of professionalism of course).
You’re an independent pharmacist, completely separate from the rigid and stale methods of global chains. Using Facebook Reels is among the Facebook best practices for your brand to show why your independent pharmacy is the place to be.
In this clip from the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast, Phil Cowley, Owner of Cache Valley Pharmacy, explains his approach to social media and how to let your personality shine through.
You should never feel like you’re dusting the cobwebs off your page. Your Facebook page’s online presence is basically currency, a marketing method that depends on consistently putting out content.
Don’t let your page get lost in the shuffle with the competition. Posting on a consistent and meaningful basis will inevitably catch the attention of current and potential customers.
On the flip side, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Your pharmacy’s page isn’t a news site, so avoid bombarding your followers’ feeds with an avalanche of posts. Oversaturating your feed will have the unintended effect of turning your followers off from paying attention to your posts.
Be mindful of when you’re posting too. Posting frequently in the late night hours will give users the impression that you’re a 24-hour pharmacy. If that’s not the case, it’s best to avoid false advertising.
Post in the morning or early afternoon hours when your pharmacy is hopefully fully staffed and running at optimal efficiency.
Facebook users are most active between 8 AM and 12 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to Hootsuite.
Check out your Facebook business analytics to see when your users are engaging with your posts and proceed accordingly.
Yes, the fact you’re now offering flu vaccines is something you’ll want everyone far and wide to know about — but there’s a limit. Moderation, just like in a healthy diet and exercise routine, are the name of the game.
Now this one might warrant a “proceed with caution” stamp. The best way to develop a strong customer base within the online realm is to interact with other users — respond to your reviews (the Google ones too), reply to comments, the whole nine.
The more you regularly respond to comments, the quicker your page will receive the almighty “Very responsive” badge.
In this clip from the Beyond the Scripts Podcast, President of GRX Marketing Nicolle McClure explaining the importance of customer reviews.
The caveat to this is knowing which comments/messages are not constructive. There will inevitably be customers commenting or messaging you passages that are essentially reviews.
For the positive ones, feel free to comment your thanks and appreciation for their patronage.
The negative comments require a bit more discretion.
Absolutely reply to comments that offer constructive and well-intended criticism, as customers often appreciate it when companies acknowledge certain shortcomings, as long as they make a concerted effort to improve.
Then there are the wildly negative comments. It’s basically up to you whether or not to respond. Just be sure to be absolutely impeccable and precise with your words so you can minimize the chances of escalating the situation.
As with all things online, this is a delicate tightrope act, so proceed with caution.
We all love reading. Our brains actually benefit from digesting the written word. But the land of social media favors visuals and graphics over sentence structure and prose.
Pictures, videos, Stories, and Reels are among the most important Facebook practices and will become your best friends (though you don’t have to friend request them).
An often overlooked part of posting visual media on Facebook is the design of your posts: the file type, aspect ratio, and resolution. You’ll naturally want to post content with crystal clear quality and not have it turn out a pixelated collage.
Facebook actually provides specific recommendations for your photo and video posting needs. Design your content accordingly to ensure your content is as appealing as it can be and not have it a complete eyesore.
Using well-done visuals is one of the Facebook best practices that will catch the eye of prospective customers.
Social media is an infinitely resourceful tool for your independent pharmacy if used properly. You’ll want to market your small business in the most positive light possible, but remember that you’re allowed to have fun with it.
In fact, the success of your pharmacy’s Facebook page might depend on the fun factor, so keep your ear on the ground and embrace the latest internet trend (within the parameters of professionalism of course).
Word of mouth is a powerful thing for an independent pharmacy and these techniques will make yours stand out from the crowd in the best way possible.