With more than 4.5 billion internet users worldwide, digital marketing is a must for any business. The past year has also taught us that the healthcare industry, and pharmacies in particular, need to be prepared to meet and interact with patients online. Having a digital presence and a digital marketing strategy allows pharmacy businesses to attract larger audiences, connect with patients on digital devices, and be found online. One of the most popular and effective digital marketing strategies, social media marketing can be divided into two major categories: organic and paid. In this post, we will break down the difference in organic vs. paid social media marketing and why they should play a role in your pharmacy digital marketing plan.
Exploring the Difference in Organic and Paid Social Media Content
Organic Social Media Content
Organic social media is the free content that you can post yourself and share on each platform. These can include posts, photos, videos, Stories or other live content, memes, and GIFs.What makes organic social media marketing such an effective strategy? It offers businesses a cost-effective way to build relationships with customers and potential customers online and create brand awareness. Social media’s capacity for instant connections and interaction also works well for customer service, helping businesses gather feedback and respond to reviews.
Getting Started with Organic Social Posts
As a pharmacy, you want to stay in front of patients online, which means being strategic about what you post.
Here are some examples of the best social media content types for pharmacists:
- Health news: From drug announcements to COVID-19 updates, you can keep patients informed and up-to-date with the latest health-related news articles.
- Pharmacy and business updates: Let your in-store and online audience know what’s happening at your pharmacy, whether that means updated store hours, seasonal sales, or new products.
- Pharmacy fun facts or trivia: You could even make it interactive, getting your followers involved by hosting trivia quizzes and contests with prizes.
- Health holidays content: Amplifying health and wellness events and observances, like World Immunization Week (April) and Health Literacy Month (October), to increase your reach and spread awareness.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Another form of advertising, paid social media encompasses most types of sponsored content targeted to a specific audience. Businesses either pay social media platforms for unique ad campaigns or to boost their organic posts by pushing them out to a larger audience.
While organic social media is most efficient at staying relevant and connected with your existing customers, paid social media posts and campaigns typically capture very wide audiences and thus are more effective in exposing new patients to your pharmacy. Paid social media can be tailored to reach individual audience demographics by age, gender, education, interests, and other specifications, enabling more targeted messaging and marketing.
Paid social media marketing does come with its own set of regulations, especially for the healthcare industry, so check each platform you use for restrictions before publishing content.
Things your pharmacy can advertise include:
- Grand opening announcement to drive new foot traffic into your store
- Prescription transfer and online refill capabilities
- Store specialties, like a gift shop or cafe, discounts, and seasonal sales
- Offerings, from pharmacy services or compounding to nutrient depletion counseling, medication synchronization, and other clinical offerings
- Pharmacy events, like free vaccination clinics or health fairs
- New tech tools like a pharmacy mobile app
Integrating Organic and Paid Social Media Into Your Pharmacy Digital Marketing
Now that you have a basic understanding of how organic and paid social media fit into digital marketing, it’s time to strategize. Social media marketing is a fantastic business tool, but it does take time and resources to put it to work for your pharmacy.
Here are a few steps that you can take to get started with your own social media strategy:
- Research the major social media channels and their organic and paid posting options before picking 1-2 platforms that will suit your pharmacy best.
- Create accounts on your chosen platforms with pharmacy branding visuals and business information. If you plan on experimenting with paid campaigns, sign up for additional advertising platforms.
- Determine how you want to manage your organic and paid social media marketing, whether that means assigning it to a team member or outsourcing.
- Create a social media marketing strategy that complements your overall marketing strategy. Consider how often you want to post organically, what sort of ad campaigns you could create, and set a budget for social media management and ad management, if applicable.
- Check all scheduled content with HIPAA law, FDA, and any social platform restrictions before publishing to remain in compliance.
Need more tips on creating a digital marketing strategy for your pharmacy? Download our recent ebook.
Make Digital Pharmacist Your Digital Marketing Partner
Digital Pharmacist is committed to helping pharmacies succeed and scale. Our digital marketing program includes done-for-you paid social media advertising management and lead tracking. We’ve also recently added a Facebook Page organic social posting service to support your day-to-day marketing efforts online.
To learn more about how Digital Pharmacist can help you transform your pharmacy business, get in touch with us today.