Keeping on the bandwagon

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Six common mistakes that pharmacies are making with their social media, by Sarah Rendell

In Australia according to Sensis almost eight in ten people now use social media.

That’s why many pharmacies have jumped on the bandwagon and signed up to various social media platforms. Which is great as social media is an amazing tool for building relationships with customers. However, it’s vital to have the right marketing plan in place.

So, today we will share some common mistake that pharmacies are making with social media and offer solutions to such problems.

1. Consistency

Everyone initially is excited when they first create a social media profile for their pharmacy. They are all amped about the shiny new marketing strategy, but then 3 months later they have already forgotten about it.

This is a mistake A LOT of pharmacies are making. Social media requires an investment of time; it’s not as simple as loading a cover and profile photo. It requires patience, creativity and consistency. However, when you have the right strategy it can be very rewarding for your business.

Think of your social media the same way as any other marketing strategy. Like event management a general rule is to provide enough promotion about an upcoming event. However, imagine if you just sent out one invite and then left it at that? The attendance for the event would be low as it wasn’t promoted. This applies with your social media as well. If you do not let people know about your social media, then they won’t know.  Social media is an opportunity to have conversations with customers when they’re not physically in your store. Therefore, the way to introduce your profile is by posting consistently and engaging.

As a pharmacy owner sometimes, you will be time poor so a way to ensure your social media is regularly monitored and updated is by making it a collaborative project. You can appoint some team members within your pharmacy to help with creating content, engaging, scheduling and posting. Your team will be made up with various skillsets and experience. Utilise their knowledge to create an online identity which positively reflects your pharmacy.  

2. Wrong platforms

It’s easy to create a profile for your pharmacy however, to get people to interact with your profile is a completely different story. One mistake that pharmacies commonly make its signing up to all social media accounts without considering how each platform works for your audience.  Pharmacies do not have to be on every platform just because everyone else is. Social media is a marketing strategy for your business so, if a platform does not help you reach your target audience and build brand awareness then don’t sign up.

For example, if you have a pharmacy that is in the CBD and surrounded by offices then LinkedIn might be a great way to promote your pharmacy. LinkedIn is designed as social media for professionals, so you might tap into your local audience by engaging on this channel. However, if your pharmacy is in a suburban environment surrounded by young families then LinkedIn wouldn’t be the right channel for your audience. Instagram might be a better option for your pharmacy as its used by people aged 18-34 which would tap into the young family demographic.  

Identifying what social media platform has the most opportunities is key and utilising only those channels. Your time is precious so remember not to spread yourself too thin and only focus on social media that benefits your business.

3. Only promoting products

The beauty of social media is the opportunity to publish relevant content, grow your customer base and most importantly, engage with customers. Social media builds relationships and if done correctly is very powerful for a pharmacy.

What social media isn’t however being just plain advertising. It’s not traditional marketing like a print advertisement or a flyer in the letterbox. However, some pharmacies are trying to utilise social media only for advertising. Social media is personal with people choosing who they follow and engage with. People follow brands that they find interesting and want to learn more about.

Some pharmacies are posting images of their latest catalogue and nothing else. Does that really encourage engagement from customers? Social media is about being sociable and communicating, if you’re just promoting products then your profile might be a nuisance. Think about your inbox and when you get receive ONLY email advertisements from a brand, do you tick the unsubscribe button? Because that is what people do with their social media only unfollow instead of unsubscribing.

4. Content

Following on from point number three choosing the right content for your social media is very important. However, some pharmacies make the mistake of only sharing content about their pharmacy. Yes, the profile is designed to showcase and promote your brand however, content doesn’t necessarily always have to be about your business.

For example, with big box discounters in the marketplace a clear strategy is to focus on elements of a pharmacy that isn’t based solely on price. One of these strategies is community engagement. So, some content that might encourage engagement from your customers is to share insights about the local community. You could post about upcoming events in the area, interview other local allied health professionals or share photos of local iconic spots.

So, your social media needs to be a healthy balance of different content that interests your customers. Remember to think outside the square and have fun with what you create.

5. Focusing too much on followers

This is probably one of the most common mistakes that pharmacies make, focusing too much on how many followers they have for their social media profiles. What you must understand however is lots of followers doesn’t always equate to money in your pocket.

The most important lesson about social media one can learn as a business is it’s all about the quality of the relationships you build and not the quantity. So, rather than focusing on the number of followers it’s wise to look at other numbers. This can include your website clicks, engagement rates, mentions, hashtag usage and impressions.

6. Expecting fast results

A lot of pharmacies have expected fast results and when they didn’t gave up. Social media requires patience and discipline. You must invest the time to create the right strategy for social media and then wait for customers to discover you.

So, remember to be patient and work on your profiles for at least a year. Once a long period of time has lapsed and your experiencing low results then perhaps it’s time to switch up your strategy. Just remember to not give in too quickly.

In Conclusion

Do not let these mistakes deter you from using social media. It’s a great tool for pharmacy and will help build relationships with customers. Social media provides an opportunity for you to communicate with customers when they are not physically in your store.

Think about your existing loyal customers, these relationships were built over time from them visiting your pharmacy. You need to translate the way you built such relationships into the digital space. Think of strategies to build rapport and showcase your pharmacy’s personality.

Sarah Rendell is client communications manager at Peak Strategies, Pharmacy Specialist Chartered Accountants Australia

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