Social media…it can be a confusing beast to tackle for a small business. Should I Tweet? Should I Facebook? Does it even matter? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself when it comes to marketing what your pharmacy has to offer, especially when competing with the big box stores.
We’re going to help you determine the answers to these questions for your Pharmacy. It’s important to note that the answers to these questions aren’t the same for everyone. You may see the need to utilize a couple different platforms, while in some instances there may not be enough of an audience to utilize either. We’re here to point you in the right direction.
Here are a few things that you need to think about before you jump into any social media platform:
Identify your audience – You know best who your customers are. Determining your target audience, whether it’s existing patients, new patients or both, helps you mold your message.
Establish your message – What matters to your customers and how can you address their needs?
Set goals – Why are you using social media? What do you want to get out of it? How will this help your business?
What will you offer – How can you help your audience? What content will you provide?
Schedule your social media time, and remain consistent.
Don’t rely entirely on automation – Using some automation is fine, but it is important to engage your audience. Ask and answer questions.
Round up reliable resources – You don’t have to create original content every time you make a post; as long as your information is relevant to your audience, it is useful.
And the bottom line is just to be yourself. People want authentic relationships, and what better way to serve your community than to be a reliable resource for healthcare information?
Social Media is a powerful tool in today’s marketing landscape that you can use to help make an impact in your community.
If you’ve ever played volleyball before, you know that the best way to typically score a point is to bump…set….and spike the ball. You simply defend the ball with a bump, and then set it up for an eye-popping spike. It’s a great feeling to spike the ball, but it’s utterly dependent on the setup shot by your teammate. A perfectly placed ball from the setter position allows you to place all of your power into the ball, ensuring a point each time. Pharmacies have been ‘defending’ themselves in about every area, and rightfully so. In the case of ACO’s, we have been set up with an awesome opportunity to set ourselves up for the ‘spike’ of a generation.
ACO’s essentially hold the healthcare system ‘accountable’ in several ways. One such way is by encouraging discharge planning and continuity of care upon discharge by reducing (or even eliminating) payments if the patient is readmitted to the hospital for the same condition in a relatively few amount of days. Therefore, an incredible amount of focus is being placed on improving the process by which patients are sent home from the hospital. As a pharmacist myself, I see the inherent issues that arise from the current process of patient discharge from the hospital.
With the myriad of daily tasks and issues facing the independent pharmacist on a daily basis, it’s not surprising to find that many local pharmacies don’t have a website. It doesn’t take much business acumen, however, to know that websites are vital to today’s business landscape. If you’re an independent pharmacist without a website you may feel overwhelmed by the task of setting one up, when in reality establishing an online presence for your pharmacy can be incredibly easy.
Pharmacy websites should embody the word ‘simple.’ You want your users to feel welcome and to quickly find what they are looking for. The key to a simple website is to understand who your audience is, let your users be your guide! Most independent pharmacies will have two people groups that will interact with the site: current patients and potential patients. Continue reading →
It seems like everyone is talking about vitamin D these days and your patients are probably asking you about it too. As a result of people getting less sun exposure due to climate, lifestyle, and skin cancer concerns, there is a growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it is estimated that up to 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that many experts classify as a hormone. It mainly functions to keep normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and support bone health. Current research is also pointing to a role in protecting from psoriasis, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. New research is showing an increased risk of heart attack, depression, and certain cancers associated with low vitamin D levels. Based on these findings, many healthcare providers have increased their recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to 1,000 IU and higher. Continue reading →
More pharmacists than ever before are going beyond the prescription counter to partner with their patients in incredible ways. After all, pharmacists are found in the smaller arteries of America that large health entities can’t reach. A landmark August 2010 New York Times article, “In Health Shift, Patients Make Pharmacist’s Appointment,” covered this trending new topic and began a dramatic shift; pharmacists are improving healthcare by scheduling appointments with their patients for a variety of needs. PharmacyForward.com is the newest creation from the CreativePharmacist.com labs that aims to help pharmacists in this emerging market.
The site is the first searchable database of clinical services offered within the pharmacy space and allows patients to make an online appointment with the pharmacist. Offering online scheduling will make it easier for the members of every community to know the clinical services that pharmacists provide and give them an easy way to make an appointment. Continue reading →
Most of your patients have probably heard about the many benefits of increasing their intake of omega-3s and are coming to you with questions. Omega-3s are being studied for their positive effects in coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis), depression/mood disorders, and cancer. Here’s a quick review that may be helpful when discussing this topic with your patients. Continue reading →
Many people are now making the connection between how what we eat impacts our state of health and wellness. The quality of food we eat can affect our energy and mood, beyond just quieting a grumbling stomach. With more and more health-food stores, neighborhood co-ops, and farmer’s markets expanding into new neighborhoods, it’s now easier than ever to find fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods.
While it does take some time to transition away from the standard American diet, your body, mind, and spirit will certainly thank you. Even after one day of whole-food based meals, you may feel lighter and more energized. Hopefully it will continue to inspire you and those around you to strive for the highest quality food. Quite honestly, your health and wellness depend on it. Continue reading →
You may find your health-coaching patients asking you about taking herbal and dietary supplements more often these days. As they continue on their quest to improve their health, it’s likely they’ll want to experiment with more “natural” therapies. I personally always approach herbal and dietary supplements with an open and curious mind. But as trusted healthcare professionals, it’s our duty to make sure our patients are taking a safe combination. Herbals have tremendous healing potential but they’re also potent substances that should be respected as such. Continue reading →
I will admit that I never thought much about the canola oil I routinely use for my baking until I asked myself one day, “is there a canola plant”? Canola oil comes from crossbreeding several types of rape plants. The rape plant is part of the mustard family, along with turnips, cabbage, watercress, horseradish, and radish. Traditional rapeseed oil was used for cooking in Europe, India, and Asia. But it naturally contains a high percentage of erucic acid, a toxic fatty acid. These levels have been reduced significantly through the process of crossbreeding, which replaces the erucic acid with oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat). This was done by Canadian scientists in the 1970’s and is the origin of the name, canola oil-“Canadian oil, low acid”. Continue reading →
As pharmacists transition into the new role of health coach, one of the common obstacles involves helping patients overcome their personal barriers. Often times when patients present to you, you are seeing the cumulative results of years of poor lifestyle choices. But it is important to empathize with the fact that these choices are usually connected to some common personal barriers including bad habits, negative attitude, and lack of a support system.