The coronavirus pandemic is a public health emergency and as community pharmacists, we are at the frontline in helping our community deal with their health. Pharmacists are trusted healthcare professionals and should use this trust and influence to help positively impact public health through their messaging on social media. 

In what has been a very challenging time for pharmacies, footfall is going to reduce dramatically due to social isolation limits and as a result, OTC sales will plummet. To combat this loss in revenue, pharmacies should place more emphasis on digital marketing to increase their eCommerce revenues. People are going to be spending more time at home, more time on social media, more time online shopping and pharmacies can benefit from this dramatic rise in online consumer behaviour.

Getting the message out

Pretty much every pharmacy has a social media presence and as such, has an ability to enhance awareness, influence actions and make a difference to the response the community takes. Pharmacists are trusted healthcare providers and as such, you should do what you can to get reputable information out to your local community to influence their behaviour. 

Aside from this public health obligation, many pharmacies are implementing significant changes to their pharmacy practices, such as changes to opening hours, enhanced delivery services and social distancing. While most pharmacies are posting these updates to their social media platforms, by their nature, it will only be seen by a percentage of their followers. 

To ensure everyone in your local community knows about these important updates, it’s best to use Facebook Advertising to get your message out quickly and at a low cost to ensure the message reaches everybody. A step-by-step guide of how to do this is shown in the free tutorial at the link below. 

Combat reduced footfall 

Some pharmacies will be prepared and experienced enough to implement additional resources to increase their online sales, whereas others will be looking for ways to increase awareness of their online offering and generate sales. 

One of the quickest ways to do this is to use Facebook Advertising, as mentioned above, which allows you to reach people on Facebook, Instagram and beyond. Google AdWords will also help you reach people who are searching for products online but can be much more expensive and competitive. The most profitable way to increase sales is to advertise directly to people who already know your business or brand, ie, followers, website visitors, past customers and local communities. You should also look to your local community, network and social media influencers to see who would be willing to share your message and help you promote your eCommerce store without you having to do much of the ‘heavy lifting’.

Take care advertising online 

As many pharmacies will now shift to advertising eCommerce promotions, it’s important to be very careful with your messaging. The general public will be stressed out, worried about work, finances and the health of their friends and family. As such, people will be looking for someone to take their anger out on and if your posts are perceived to be taking advantage of a public health catastrophe, you could be the centre of a major backlash. At all times, remember your ethics as a pharmacist and if in doubt, don’t publish the advertisement. 

Link to free tutorial: thesocialpharmacist.com/pharmacy-marketing-coronavirus/

About the author 

Colm Baker started working as a community pharmacist in 2013 and since then has gone on to become an award-winning digital marketer with experience in a wide range of industries. Colm has now turned his focus to helping pharmacies grow their business with his new pharmacy-specific digital marketing brand ‘The Social Pharmacist’.