Getting social

Digital engagement breakfast panel (L-R): Hamish Chadwick, Branding Expert; Aaron D’Souza, General Manager,; Shannon Kerr, Group Marketing & Operations Manager, instigo; Louise McLean & Stacey Fuller, pharmacy owners & finalists, Guild Pharmacy of the Year 2017.

We share some digital marketing and social media tips from the experts at #APP2017

Several presenters at APP provided some super valuable tips on how pharmacies can manage their online presence.

Simon Chamberlain from MedAdvisor presents at APP

Simon Chamberlain, General Manager of Product & Strategy at MedAdvisor, spoke about how pharmacies need to move into an online marketplace.

“We’re not just talking about an e-commerce store, but how we can create a new and vibrant channel to communicate about your products, a new digital channel that your customers can respond to,” he clarified.

“We know that customers value what digital can deliver. In 2015, 62% of customers used internet banking and that number continues to rise,” said Mr Chamberlain.

“When we get more engaged customers we get stronger longer and reduced competitive thread, and as a result we see highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, and spend 60% more per transaction.

“It all has to start with understanding your customers better, and that means building up your view of who they are.”

Instigo marketing manager Sharon Kerr also pointed out the importance of knowing your audience at a digital engagement breakfast session hosted by PDL.

“It’s getting that content right, getting that tone right,” she told attendees.

Branding expert Hamish Chadwick agreed.

“The key thing is to first think about who is the audience, what do they want, how can I differentiate my pharmacy?” he told AJP.

“And then from there, use that as a guide to execute the technical side of the strategy, which is getting involved with the platforms that you choose to engage with.

He says the marketing strategy depends on what sort of business a pharmacy is operating.

“Do they offer any third-party services, is there some sort of speciality, is there some knowledge they have? I think once you get an understanding of what your own strengths are, then you can look at how you market that message.”

“It’s getting that content right, getting that tone right” – Sharon Kerr, Instigo

Aaron D’Souza, general manager of, told AJP that it comes down to “being genuine”.

“Like any message, marketing or otherwise, social media is social and the part of you about being social is about being personable, genuine, authentic to who your business is, who you are as a human being as well, and then bringing that out on a digital platform, whatever that digital platform is, so that all of your activities – whether that be compounding, whether that be professional services, dispensary, beauty – whatever is the heart and soul of your business, bring the best of that into social media. It’s just another way of communicating with your customers,” said Mr D’Souza.

“Know who you are, know what your offering is, put down on a piece of paper and talk with your staff about it, and then say, guys how are we going to do this as a team? If you run it as a one-man show, you’re never going to succeed.

“As a business owner, you’ve got your balance sheet to worry about, you’ve got your P&L to worry about, you’ve got a staff member who’s about to quit, you’ve got all of these customers that you need to look after, social media is down the end. But all of those things are based upon bringing customers into the store and having a community around your store, and that’s what social media is driving,” he said.

“The one thing about social media is you get a short period of time of people going through their newsfeed … you have to be on point. If you’re not on point, you’re not relevant.”

Hamish Chadwick’s top tips:

  1. Don’t let the technical side of it frighten you. Get help.
  2. Know what real value you provide.
  3. Be structured about what content you’re going to publish.

Aaron D’Souza’s top tip:

If you’re going to do it, make sure it’s part of the everyday. Dedicate a little bit of time every single day to feed the machine. It’s like a tree, you’ve got the seed, you plant it, you have to water it and give it nutrients. And every single day, [share] a little bit of content which comes in line with your overall strategy in not only just digital marketing, but your marketing in store as well.

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