Facebook is now a part of our daily lives and many pharmacies have already started using it to expand their relationship with their customers.
The simplicity of the tool, however, should not make us forget its nature and the codes that must be adhered to.
The concept of disseminating information, caring for others, and the values conveyed by the pharmacy must go far beyond the commercial aspect of its activity.
Many Facebook pages have been created by pharmacists.
And for good reason, since one in two people today has a presence on Facebook.
Far from the complex strategies that digitalisation of the pharmacy imposes, here we can connect with the client and expand our relationship with him in an inexpensive and safe way.
But because time is valuable to the pharmacy, if we really want to create a 100% functional and truly "professional" Facebook page, we need to think about the best way to use this tool.
Let's ask some questions
For what purpose?
Facebook was originally used in a personal environment.
It is an exchange of information and feelings on an individual basis to the public who are our 'friends' and follow us.
The idea of sharing is inherent in this social network.
But how do you translate this into the world of pharmacy? Who is our target?
So it is necessary for the pharmacy to have first defined its strategy to answer the question to which we are addressing.
This is not often the case. But because we need to target our messages, Facebook is a way to raise awareness of our target audience, otherwise our message will be lost on the Internet.
Are we in a secluded zone or, on the contrary, in a very competitive zone?
What activities and specialties do we want to promote? The answer to these questions is one word: Extension.
Facebook is an extension of the proximity to its "walls" that begins when the patient leaves the pharmacy.
And don't forget that it's mainly the human dimension of the pharmacy that Facebook will highlight!
A personal or professional page?
Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of creating a personal Facebook page like many pharmacists.
It is possible to have a professional Facebook page that brings specific benefits and therefore opening a personal page is futile.
Here you can find information specific to the business world, access to the pharmacy website, address, opening hours, activities, offers...
But beware, in order for many to see your message, you must forward it, according to their ethical rules of the pharmacist's profession and Facebook.
Facebook is like a pharmacy newspaper, reporting on the pharmacy's events and life, fully integrated into its social environment, its neighborhood, its environment...
A local life that the pharmacy can relay.
These events can be special days organized for example, around a pathology, for a prevention check, or related to World Health Days, national events...
In the event of epidemics or seasonal diseases, prevention advice such as influenza can be given, Gastroenteritis etc.
There can also be a chat, where experiences are shared on a given topic, for example diabetes or baby care.
At the same time, it must be a diary sufficiently diversified to interest different target groups, different communities.
Feel free to personalize your communication, discuss the specialization of each of your team, even naming them, in order to create even greater proximity.
This content should highlight the role of the pharmacist as a natural interlocutor for patients who, on health and wellness issues, are familiar with Internet communication.
Facebook facilitates this human relationship.
Facebook also hides the difficulty of editorializing this content and ensure that it is comprehensible and interesting.
We are in the health world and the content can be quite scientific.
So we need to know how to give the information. Writing simple things that are sometimes complicated is not always easy.
Also, know how to connect internet users, import images and videos, because text alone is no longer effective on Facebook.
What to do with commercial offers?
Making Facebook a marketing tool is wrong.
And yet we see pharmacies that only make commercial offers on Facebook.
People here are mainly looking for information about their health, and why not, occasionally, have some commercial promotions, but without the whole page being full of commercial offers.
Yes, promotions must be announced in a neutral way and arouse the interest of a number of products in action on a particular health or beauty issue.
For example, in September with the issue of hair loss to provide information and advice on how to deal with it and at the end to have a similar commercial offer.
Marketing offers are generally tested on the pharmacy web site rather than Facebook, whose main purpose is to build customer relationships.
Who can (should?) Take over this?
There are many providers that can provide you with a Facebook page along with website creation and a web service package.
They suggest a co-management of this page, suggesting regular content.
Some pharmacies may be satisfied with this content, but obviously, to ensure this proximity bond, implies that pharmacists need to put a little bit of their hand in it.
This co-management works very well, the provider provides general health information, and the pharmacist then, converts them into more specialized information about the pharmacy and its area.
There must be an internal organization for publishing information from time to time, either by the pharmacist himself or by a member of his team who is familiar with the use of social networks.
The key is to identify the right person who can create and publish interesting content regularly, while ensuring a regular and balanced posting frequency.
Avoid leaving the page without information for more than a week, but also avoid a "tipping over" that can get tiring. Up to three "new" announcements per week are the right pace.
Is there a coordinator?
Facebook is a living page, it is decorated with comments, mostly informative and largely positive.
But it happens, certainly less often, that the comments are negative.
It depends on the content of the negative message.
If it is considered constructive, we encourage the pharmacist to respond, if it is 'purely aggressive', we simply delete it without further comment.
Should we look for "search sources" for content?
Looking up sources for any information is necessary.
We do not publish information without researching it or simply because we saw it online. This is a question of credibility.
Not only the content is the way to make your page credible, but also to create interactions in order to make your Facebook page more attractive.