One of the recurring themes at The Honest Apothecary, mostly because of my own special interest in this area, is the use of Social Media to help raise an awareness of what you are doing. Whether it be your business or your blog, your occupation or avocation, your mission or your message, Social Media is the ultimate resource for telling the world about it. But for many, the prospect of trying to manage a Social Media presence can be rather daunting. This may be particularly true for independent pharmacy owners who are already utilizing all of their time and energy offering exceptional service to their current customers. You want your business to grow. You would benefit from the added exposure. But you just aren’t sure how to implement an effective strategy to make it happen.
This is where pharmacist Andy Berg and the good folks over at RxWiki come in with their new program called Digital Pharmacist™ Solutions. Andy is a recent pharmacy school graduate and an enthusiastic entrepreneur and social media enthusiast. He is licensed in and lives in Texas and has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about this new service being offered to community pharmacies.
1) Andy thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us here at The Honest Apothecary. I believe you graduated in 2012. Congratulations! Some of my readers are pharmacy students who are still in school. Do you have any tips or suggestions you want to share with them?
My best advice for the students is to find something that you are passionate about and dive right in. Pharmacy school is a long, difficult road. It is very easy to fall into a mental fog. For me, I got involved with the entrepreneurial community at the University of Iowa and built a small startup, entered business plan competitions, etc. It doesn’t have to business related; it can be AShP, NCPA, your local state organization, etc. The idea is to give your brain a break; this will help keep you mentally fresh for all the things that pharmacy school throws at you.
2) What was your best experience while studying pharmacy at the University of Iowa?
My favorite experience in pharmacy school was my P4 year because I set up some great rotations. The three that stand out were my Cardiovascular ICU, Transplant Surgery, and Compounding Pharmacy rotations. I learned so much in these and had great preceptors. They are three experiences that I’ll never forget and will continue to build on my entire career.
3) How did you become connected with RxWiki?
I connected with Don Hackett, who is founder of the company, via an Austin, TX healthcare IT LinkedIn group. He was looking for a pharmacist and I was looking for an opportunity in a healthcare startup.
4) Could you explain specifically how Digital Pharmacist™ Solutions helps pharmacy owners increase the visibility of their businesses through social media?
Our goal is to level the playing field between independent pharmacies and the big chain stores. We provide a free service to help independent pharmacies keep their social media pages current by posting up-to-date health news/drug information for them. If a pharmacy doesn’t have all of the social channels built, we will actually build them as well. We know that time is a non-renewable resource for pharmacists, so we aim to take one more thing off of their plates so they can focus on patient care, and not social media.
5) How important, in your opinion, is having an active social media presence for pharmacy businesses?
Social media is a very important part of building any healthy business. In order to be effective and grow your business, you need to get in front of your customers in a place where they spend their time. Nowadays, people spend their time on social media platforms and if you’re not putting your business out there for them to interact with, you’re not going to grow. You never know where prospective patients will search for a pharmacy, these social channels are highly utilized free resources and it just makes sense to include them in your marketing plan.
RxWiki tries to help independent pharmacies who are competing against the big chains that literally have teams of people trying to hack this space to drive more traffic and scripts to their stores. Social media is a big part of their strategy, so unless it’s a big part of the independent pharmacies strategy they won’t be able to compete for much longer.
One example of the impact of social media can be illustrating using the first store we started working with. In the entire month of January, before they started working with us, they had 30 people find their website via Google search. We worked on all of their social pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest) and the following day they had 30 people find their website via Google! They now average about 40 visits a day from Google instead of 30 a month.
280 sets of new eyeballs on your brand a week could mean 2-3 new prescriptions a week. Extrapolate that over time and you can really see the value of social media. However, the value of social media not only lies in creating new customers, it also has to be taken into account as a way to keep current patients loyal. Keeping your brand in front of your current patients via social pages and providing them with health related articles will keep your patients coming back to you instead of walking across the street to save a dollar at a chain store when they fill their next prescription. It’s a powerful tool when leveraged appropriately, it’s just very time consuming which is why we help small pharmacies manage it and reap the rewards.
6) How can a pharmacy owner contact you if they would like your help with this service?
email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to personally thank Andy, RxWiki, and their new service The Digital Pharmacist™ for offering this opportunity to pharmacy business owners. If readers want to see some examples of the great news ads being run by this service, just visit THE HONEST APOTHECARY FACEBOOK PAGE and see some of their fantastic work.
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