Facebook is now 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 standards that must be followed.
The concept of disseminating information, caring for others and the values conveyed by the pharmacy should go far beyond the commercial aspect of its business.
Many Facebook pages have been created by pharmacists.
And there is a good reason, since more than 50% of Greeks today have Facebook presence.
Far from the complex digital strategies employed by the pharmacy, we can connect with the patient-customer and strengthen our relationships, in an inexpensive and secure way.
Since time is of the essence for the pharmacy, if we really want to create a 100% functional and truly "professional" Facebook page, we have to think about the best way to use this tool.
Let us ask a few questions:
- What is the purpose?
Facebook was originally used for person-to-person communication.
It is an exchange of information and feelings on an individual basis, among "friends" who follow us.
The idea of sharing and exchanging information is inherent in this social network.
But what does this mean in the pharmacy world? Who are we addressing?
Since we need to target our messages, Facebook is a way to engage the audience we are addressing, otherwise our message will be lost in the chaotic internet space.
Are we in an isolated 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 a single word: Expansion.
Facebook is an expansion of the proximity to its "walls" that starts as soon as the patient leaves the pharmacy.
And never forget that it is mainly the human approach of the pharmacy that Facebook ought to highlight!
- A personal or business page?
Be careful, however, not to fall into the trap of creating a personal Facebook page, like many pharmacists.
You can create a professional Facebook page, which brings specific benefits and therefore opening a personal page is futile.
Here you may provide information about the business, access to the pharmacy’s website, address, opening hours, activities, offers...
But beware, in order for many to see your message, you must promote it, according to the code of ethics of both the pharmacist and Facebook.
- How about content?
Facebook is a bit like a pharmacy newspaper that reports the facts of the pharmacy life, fully integrated into its social environment, its neighborhood, its internal environment...
A local life that the pharmacy may publish. For example, these events can be special days organized around a pathology, a prevention check or related to world health days, national events...
In case of epidemics or seasonal illnesses, prevention tips may be given e.g. for flu, gastroenteritis etc.
Chat may also be initiated, where experiences are shared on a given topic, for example about diabetes or baby care.
At the same time, there must be a diary, sufficiently diverse to create interest to different target audiences, different communities.
Do not hesitate to personalize your communication, to discuss the specialization of your team members, while naming them to create greater interest.
This content should highlight the role of the pharmacist as health and wellness influencer for internet savvy patients.
Facebook facilitates this human relationship.
Facebook’s ease of use hides the content editing difficulty, to ensure that it is understandable and interesting.
In the health world, the content can be quite scientific.
Therefore, we need to know how to convey information in the best way.
Simple writing on scientific subjects is not always easy.
Also, know how to connect internet users, import images and videos, because text alone is no longer effective on Facebook.
- How about commercial offers?
Making Facebook a marketing tool is wrong. And yet, we see pharmacies that only post commercial offers on Facebook.
People here are mostly looking for information about their health, and, why not, occasionally there are some promotional announcements, but not totally commercial.
Yes, promotions should be announced in a neutral way to create interest in a range of products on a specific health or beauty area.
For example, in September, with the issue of hair loss, information and advice should be given, accompanied by a relative commercial offer at the end.
Commercial offers are typically published on the pharmacy web site, not on Facebook, whose main goal is to strengthen relationships with customers.
- Who can (and should) undertake this?
There are many providers that can help you create a Facebook page, along with creating a website and a web service package.
They suggest co-managing that page, creating content regularly.
Some pharmacies may be satisfied with this content, but obviously, in order to ensure customer bonding, pharmacists should also be involved.
This co-management often works well, the provider provides general health information, and the pharmacist then turns it into more specialized information, about his/her pharmacy market.
There must be an internal organization for publishing information from time to time, either by the pharmacist himself or by a team member, familiar with social media.
The key is to identify the right person, who can create and publish interesting content on a regular basis, while ensuring a regular and balanced posting frequency.
Avoid leaving the page without information for more than a week, but also avoid an "overflow", which can be tiring.
Up to 3-4 "new" announcements per week is the right pace.
- Is there a coordinator?
Facebook is a live page, enriched with comments, mostly informative and largely positive.
But sometimes, the comments are negative. Depending on the negative message, if 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 for search sources is essential. We do not publish information without researching it or simply because we saw it on the internet. This is a matter of credibility.
"Promoting" content is not only a way to make content credible, it also allows you to create engagement, to make your Facebook page more attractive.
We encourage you to visit www.y-o.gr (Health and Beauty - I trust my Pharmacist), where you can search hundreds of articles on health, beauty and wellness.