What Social Media Apps Should I Be Using?
As a community pharmacist, you wear many hats: prescription dispenser, clinical caregiver, front-end salesperson, team mentor, and local leader. Of all the titles you hold and all the responsibilities you have, you may still be missing one that is crucial to your pharmacy’s success: social media marketer.
Social media marketing is one of the fastest-growing ways to advertise your business, increase your patient base, and boost your sales. Replacing old and outdated marketing tactics, social media has allowed businesses to have greater visibility and a wider reach than ever before. This is why over 90% of businesses in the U.S. maintain an active social media account — and why your pharmacy should, too.
One common misconception about social media marketing, though, is that in order to see results, you have to maintain accounts on every popular platform. Not only is this expectation unrealistic — given the many jobs you juggle and the limited time you have — but it is ineffective. Your patients don’t use every social media app, so that shouldn’t be your end goal. The secret to social media marketing is to go where your patients go and stay where your patients stay: to use the social media apps they use, and forget the rest.
As you take on the role of social media marketer, save yourself time, energy, and expenditure by being smart about how you market. Research your patient base: find out their average age, sex, location, education level, and income status. Then, use the information you gather to better understand their social media habits — so that you can craft your social media presence accordingly. Once you’ve made this decision, check out our RxLocal Social Media Assistant to get pre-made social media posts that are ready to copy-and-post to your desired platforms.
To help you understand your patient base and the platforms they are on, consult this list to learn about the top 5 social media apps, who uses them, and how you can reach your patients on them.
Compared to other platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, YouTube is a non-traditional social media app. It is used for sharing videos and short clips rather than posting photos or writing posts — but even against traditional apps, it still comes out on top. Over 81% of Americans regularly use YouTube to stay informed, entertained, and connected — making it the most popular social media platform by nearly 13%.
The Pew Research Center reports that YouTube is used most often by young adults — over 95% of 18-29-year-olds regularly visit the site — but other age groups frequent it as well. It is also one of the only social media platforms that men use more than women, which opens up unique opportunities for marketers. In addition, YouTube is used by college-educated people who live in urban or suburban areas and are considered to be upper-middle-class ($75K+). The demographics can be further broken down as follows:
The takeaway for pharmacies: YouTube maintains more active users than any other platform in the U.S., so it has important implications for your pharmacy. Given YouTube’s limitations (as a video sharing site), traditional social media platforms should still be used alongside it to write posts and share photos. However, YouTube can allow your pharmacy to expand its reach with educational videos and personalized content that displays your team’s unique value.
Since its founding in 2004, Facebook has amassed over 2.85 billion monthly active users, including 69% of American adults. It is the second most popular social media app in the US, but it remains the most used platform for posting and photo sharing.
Research suggests that Facebook is popular among all age groups (young, middle-aged, and older adults), making it the most versatile of the social media platforms. It is more popular among women than men, especially those who live in urban or suburban areas. It is also frequently used by individuals that are college-educated and fall within the middle class. Here is a breakdown of Facebook user demographics:
The takeaway for pharmacies: Facebook is the best platform to reach a diverse audience. It is the most popular social media platform among older adults — who are often pharmacies’ target audience. In most cases, then, it is essential that you create and maintain an active account on Facebook. Use the app to provide followers with pharmacy news and updates, and boost patient engagement.
A powerhouse in the world of social media, Instagram has accumulated over 1 billion monthly active users around the world — with 40% of American adults using the app on a regular basis. Instagram is behind only YouTube and Facebook in terms of popularity, making it an important platform to connect on.
The takeaway for pharmacies: Instagram is one of the best platforms to reach younger patients, especially those who live in urban and suburban areas. If you are looking to strengthen health and wellness awareness in the next generation and use more interactive features to connect with your audience — like direct messaging, live videos, and polls — look to Instagram.
As the largest platform for sharing projects, ideas, and inspiration, Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media site in the US — with 31% of Americans frequenting it. Pinterest serves a specific demographic that is less active on other platforms, which offers pharmacies a unique opportunity to reach a different audience.
To be more specific, Pinterest is used by middle-aged and older adults the most. It is one of the only platforms (along with LinkedIn) that is used by older adults more than it is used by young adults. It reaches more women than men, who — interestingly — tend to live in rural areas. All other social media platforms are used more frequently by people in urban or suburban areas, except for Pinterest, where more rural users go. Further, Pinterest is used most by college-educated people with an income greater than $75,000. Here is a further breakdown:
The takeaway for pharmacies: Pinterest reaches two unique demographics: older adults and adults in rural areas. If your pharmacy serves either of these patient bases, consider Pinterest. On the platform, you can offer educational content like tips and tricks, lifestyle advice, and health-boosting infographics.
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking app, with an estimated 310 million active users who look to it to find job opportunities, career guidance, and conversation. LinkedIn is used by approximately 28% of American adults — and serves as the fifth most popular social media platform. Compared to other platforms, it has a more formal look and feel, but it presents many opportunities to connect with patients and potential partners alike.
Research shows that LinkedIn is used most by middle-aged adults, although young adults also are not far behind. It reaches more men than women, particularly those who are college-educated (over half of people with college degrees use LinkedIn) and those who live in suburban areas. LinkedIn users make an average income of at least $75,000. The statistics are as follows:
The takeaway for pharmacies: LinkedIn reaches college-educated, career-seeking groups more than any other platform. Your pharmacy can use LinkedIn in a variety of ways: to grow your team of pharmacists and technicians, to find business partners and potential investors, or to connect with other industry leaders. Networking is an important part of growing any business, so use LinkedIn to grow your connections and further your reach.
If you are looking to boost your business through social media marketing, get to know your patients. By doing a bit of background research on who you serve, you can determine who your audience is, where you can find them, and how to reach them. Then, with that information, you can create and maintain an engaging social media presence — and improve your business in the digital world and beyond.