Social Media, Store Websites, and the Pharmacist

May 16, 2017

What you need to know about crafting your pharmacy’s 5-star online presence.

Everyone knows that websites are important, that a thriving social media presence is key to building brand awareness, and that getting your name out there is the most important thing you can do for your business. 

But how many pharmacists are actually taking the time to develop these vital resources? And even if you are confident that your website and social media presence are top-notch, it’s always good to have a refresher. 

So here are five tips to help you increase your pharmacy’s online presence.

1. Take another look at the basics of your website

This might seem obvious, but so many websites don’t give their customers the information they need. Take a look at your pharmacy’s homepage and pretend you’re a new customer looking at the site for the first time. Is it obvious where your pharmacy is located? Is it easy to find contact information, including address and phone number? Do you provide easy-to-find information about the services you offer? Is there a way to read about your store’s history or who owns it? Can a new patient find out what products you have in the store? Are your store hours easily visible?

Watch: Using social media responsibly

2. Make your website great

Once you have the basics down, start looking even deeper into what your website should and could become. Does it look modern and engaging, or does it look like something you would load up over 90s-era dial-up? In all likelihood you are not both a pharmacist and an expert web designer, but there are many services willing to help build your website and make it look great. Companies like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and dozens of others will make it easy for you to build and maintain your website. A well-designed website can make all the difference to a prospective customer. Think of it this way: You keep your store clean, organized, and updated, so why wouldn’t you do the same for your website?

3. Use social media-and use it well 

It is vital that you have a strong social media presence to help you stand out. Get involved in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Make it easy for people to find your accounts-advertise them on your website, in your store, and to your friends and family.  

Look at what other successful stores around you are doing. When are they posting? How often are they posting? What types of things are they posting? Looking at their strategies will help you form your own. Once you know what other stores are doing, adapt and find a way to make your profiles your own. Social media is about telling a story, so tell the story that you want your store to tell. If you’re a small family-run business, let people know that! Post pictures of you and your staff to show that you’re a small organization that really cares about the community. If you’re a larger operation, emphasize the range of services you can offer. Make a connection with your audience and they could become fans for life.

Related article: Marketing your pharmacy through social media

Consider Gatti Pharmacy in Indiana, PA. Drug Topics spoke with Jennifer Clark, Marketing Manager at the pharmacy, about successful strategies that she has used in a small pharmacy. She said that the best posts on Facebook and Twitter are the behind-the-scenes posts. “People love seeing our team and recognizing the people they interact with each week,” she said in an email. “I try to turn these posts into mini-stories that give people a true sense of who we are and what we do, beyond just filling their prescriptions.” She added that pharmacists should not be “afraid to be human and share your company’s story.”

Up next: How do you deal with bad reviews?

 

4. Deal with bad reviews

If your name is out there, you will inevitably have people reviewing your store on social media. If you do your job well most of these will be good, but what do you do about the few bad ones? These can seriously damage your reputation online, potentially driving away customers.

The first step is to respond to the negative comments. If you can, contact the customer directly or else respond wherever the review was posted. Figure out what the complaint is really about. Do this as quickly as possible to let your customer know that you care about his or her opinion.

Read more: Social media and pharmacy: 6 tips on best practices

The next step is to learn more about how reviews work on the sites you use. Every site tracks and weighs reviews a little bit differently. Once you know how these work, you can start developing strategies to prevent bad reviews and make those bad reviews go away.

Finally, make sure to promote your good reviews! Gatti Pharmacy’s website and social media pages are filled with quotes from satisfied customers. Clark said that she gathers any posts that people make on her website or social feed, and then contacts those people to ask if she can promote them (making sure they give permission to use their name before including it). She has also tracked down customers and interviewed them about their experiences. With these strategies, potential customers who visit the site or social feed can know instantly what kind of experience to expect. 

5. Set Goals 

Like anything you want to succeed at, you need to set goals for your online presence. Make sure these goals are, in the words of the consultant George T. Doran, SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. How many new followers do you want to have by next week? Next year? In five years? Don’t expect success over night. Set modest goals for yourself, and you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make if you keep working at it.

Related article: 12 steps to a rewarding career in pharmacy

Come up with plans for how often to post or update your website amd your social media feeds. A completely out-of-date Facebook page can be as bad as not having one at all. Do you want to post once day? Three times a week? Make a plan and be consistent-this lets your patients know that you are active and relevant to them.

“Social media is more than just posting content. It’s research, time, and sharing your company’s voice,” says Clark. “Have a strategy for everything you do. Think about your ‘why’ and what goals you hope to reach with your efforts. Just don’t be afraid to be human and share your company’s story.”