Running your business
Introduction to Facebook
What is Facebook?
Having a social media strategy is an efficient way for your pharmacy to interact with potential customers and most prospective customers will expect to be able to find your pharmacy on social media.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform and therefore has the potential to be the most powerful as you are able to reach more customers than any other platform.
Setting up a Facebook profile and business page for your pharmacy will help you share your stories and connect with your community effectively.
You can regularly post status updates, videos and more, this then becomes visible in the news feed of all users that you are friends with or have 'liked' your page. Tagging users and utilising hashtags can help to increase the number of users your message reaches.
Facebook allows you to control what parts of your profile and your posts are visible to different groups of users eg, everyone, visible to friends, visible to friends of friends.
Why would I set up a Facebook business page?
There's a long list of benefits to having a Facebook business page for your pharmacy. Here are a few:
- Connect with potential customers - there are a huge number of potential customers for your pharmacy on Facebook and with the use of 'Likes' the ability to reach these customers is more achievable than ever. Why not set up a Facebook event for your next health awareness campaign and invite people from your local community to attend?
- Connect with existing customers - the majority of your current customers most likely have a Facebook profile. You could ask customers to leave reviews of their experience in your pharmacy on your business page. This can reflect well with potential new customers and increase your online exposure.
- Low cost, high exposure - sign up is free. There are no start-up costs apart from the time you will need to set aside to set up.
- Drive customers to your website - by adding a link to your website on your profile page and in your posts you can drive traffic to your website. If you have an online store this is a great way of generating increased sales.
Ensure you dedicate resource to maintain your page and respond to any interactions with users. Not keeping a close eye on your page can have an adverse effect on your reputation.
How do I start using Facebook?
Firstly, make sure you set up a page for your pharmacy, rather than a profile. Profiles are intended for individuals and therefore do not have the same benefits as a page, with a page you have the ability to schedule future posts, get an understanding of your contacts allowing you to promote your pharmacy more effectively. You can also create adverts to promote certain content plus lots more.
How do I create a page?
Pages are managed from a personal account and will therefore only be accessible through the assigned account. It is therefore strongly recommended that the pharmacy page owner is the pharmacy owner to ensure control of the page is retained regardless of any staff changes with your pharmacy. You can choose as to whether details from your personal account appear on your pharmacy page.
Firstly, you will need to log in to your personal account and then visit facebook.com/pages/create.
Facebook have made it simple to get your page up and running.
- Select your page category - there will be six page types to choose from, for your pharmacy the most suitable will likely be 'Local Business or Place'.
- Select specific category and enter your information - you will then be prompted to select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out required information about your pharmacy.
- Getting started - once you are happy and have read through the Facebook page terms click 'get Started'. You will here be guided through setting up your page, e.g. adding information telling people what your page is about and adding a profile picture.
Compose and make your first post
When you start out it is a good idea to have a few posts on your timeline for users to read when they visit your page.
These, along with your profile information will give people a reason to 'Like' you. Start by creating a few posts to tell people who you are and what your pharmacy is all about. Try and communicate what you can offer to potential customers.
Leaving more of your profile and your posts open to the public will increase the exposure of your page and your posts meaning you can communicate more effectively to a larger audience. Click the padlock symbol at the top of your profile for help to set your privacy settings.
A few tips to start building your network
Posting regularity - aim for five to ten posts a week to help build a connection with your audience. Try not to exceed two posts a day as you can start to annoy your existing audience.
Connect with existing customers - ask your regular customers to like your page or post feedback on your timeline.
Post at peak times - this will ensure you maximise the biggest impact. This 'peak time' will be dictated by who your friends are or who has liked your page, but as a general rule, try to post between 1pm and 4pm. Avoid 8pm - 8am as this tends to be the worst time for engagement.
Profile picture - choose a photo that visually captures you/your pharmacy and fits well in a small space. Maybe use an image of your pharmacy fascia? Also avoid blurry, dark or low resolution images and stick to a minimum size of 180 x 180 pixels. Your current profile picture and cover photo are visible to everyone.
You can give staff members in your pharmacy access to specific parts of your pharmacy page and therefore allow them to help you with managing your page. Look in 'Page settings' and then 'Page roles'.
To understand Facebook you will need to familiarise yourself with various terms and abbreviations. This can be quite daunting which is why we have pulled together a list of all the need to know terminology.
- Like - by liking something you are leaving positive feedback for that post or page. Liking a page means you are making a connection to that page and therefore you will see posts and stories from that page in your news feed.
- News Feed - frequently refreshing list of all status updates, photos, videos and more from the people, pages and groups you are connected with.
- Tagging - you can tag a person, page or place in a post or a photo. This will then link your post with that person, page or place, e.g. you could tag a member of staff as being in a photo in your pharmacy.
- Timeline - this forms part of your profile and is essentially a list of your posts and other activity you have been tagged into in chronological order.
- Cover photo - the large picture towards the top of your profile page. Your current cover photo is visible to all Facebook users.
- Profile picture - the smaller square image that people see next to your name. Your current profile picture is visible to all Facebook users.
- Trending - a list of topics that are currently popular on Facebook. Trends are formed through several different criteria including pages you have liked and your location, as well as general subject matter that is trending throughout Facebook.
- Hashtags - allows you to find posts based on the subject matter. Enables users to participate in a larger linked discussion.
- Groups - give users the opportunity to communicate with other users around a shared interest in the form of sharing updates, photos or documents. With group privacy settings you can ensure posts are only visible to group members. Why not set up a staff group with all pharmacy employees.
- Event - this function allows you to set up and organise events by inviting users to a gathering on a particular date at a specific location.
For more on how to use Facebook take a look at the Facebook help centre.