Consumers prescribe social media presence

Many consumers would like their pharmacist to be more active on social media, new research has found

PrescribeWellness’ 2017 Pharmacy Social Media Survey has found that 78% of Americans would consider following their pharmacist on social media – in fact, 48% already do so.

And 42% say they wish their pharmacist were more active on social media.

The survey involved more than 1000 American adults and examined how they choose their pharmacy, what services they value most, and their interest in interacting with pharmacy online and through social media.

Nearly half the respondents (47%) say their preferred social network for interacting with their pharmacist would be Facebook, followed by Twitter (15%) and Instagram (12%).

A third (34%) say they’re interested in their pharmacist’s website, and 25% would be interested in an emailed newsletter.

They say the top benefits of following their pharmacist on social media would be to find out about deals and promotions (58%); to find out about new offerings or services (39%); for health care news (37%); for news and tips on health and wellness (37%) and for seasonal vaccine reminders (31%).

Almost all of the survey respondents (92%) would listen to recommendations from their pharmacist about health education or advice, and more than half (54%) would be more inclined to buy or use a new product that their pharmacist recommended on social media.

“These survey findings confirm that consumers would like to bring their relationship with their community pharmacist outside of the pharmacy setting and think of them as a valuable ally in their health and wellness,” says Al Babbington, CEO of PrescribeWellness.

“As pharmacies continue to go ‘beyond the fill,’ social media is another tool they can use to connect with current—and prospective—patients by offering useful advice, vaccination reminders, promotions and other preventive care messages.”

Sixty-two percent of Americans use their pharmacy’s website. The website services they use the most include:

  • Refill requests – 61%
  • Online orders – 47%
  • Medication reminders – 29%
  • Medication list – 28%
  • Online appointments – 20%
  • Messages from their pharmacists – 19%

Another recent PrescribeWellness survey revealed that Americans prefer visiting local pharmacies to their doctors for many services. Most of the reasons hinged upon convenience, and top reasons include:

  • Their pharmacy is a “one stop shop” for many health and wellness needs – 26%.
  • The local pharmacy is easier to get to than the doctor’s office – 24%.
  • They get faster (23%) and friendlier (22%) service.
  • Their pharmacist helps keep their medications in order – 19%.

Twenty-one percent of American parents say they prefer visiting their local pharmacy because it is more convenient than the doctor’s when they have the kids with them.

Earlier this year Australian research, involving 31 practising pharmacists from nine countries, found none delivered individualised services to consumers via social media.

While many of the pharmacists’ stores had Facebook pages which were used to engage with the community, the pharmacists were wary of “friending” customers as they felt this could blur the line between professional and personal relationships.

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