We shift gears with our Tip of the Week to discuss marketing. We are not looking at marketing theory THIS time around; but rather, something more everyday and that which pervades most of our lives, ie, the use of social media. Social media has all of us connected (some might argue disconnected from ‘real life’), and it’s presence is ubiquitous and a part of modern life. In some industries, having a social media presence is absolutely paramount. This is the case for certain, national “big box” stores but also certain local establishments like restaurants and microbreweries. The “hip” crowd follows these businesses and plans activities on the calendar of events posted by these establishments.
One might not think social media is as important for health care organizations. It would be tempting to think that because quality is so difficult to measure in health care and that the professional nature of the business might preclude the same phenomena that transpire in other industries. But, we have come to know that the social media presence of celebrities and even politicians has become increasingly important for communicating. Triemstra et al evaluated hospitals’ social media presence and reputation scores and rankings.1 They examined reputation score, total score, and social media metrics (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) of hospitals who received at least one subspecialty ranking in the 2017-2018 US News publicly available annual rankings. The researchers observed significant correlations for children's hospitals' reputation score and total points with the number of Twitter followers and Facebook followers. Significant correlations for adult hospitals' reputation score were found with the number of Twitter followers, number of tweets, “Klout score”, and Facebook followers. The authors suggested that a hospital's reputation may be influenced by its social media presence or that the reputation or rank of a hospital drives social media followers.
Pharmacy managers can and should take the opportunity to create a social media presence and market the organization on social media, as corporate policy might dictate. In doing so, the manager should consult marketing professionals with social media experience either to get things started or perhaps boost an online presence that lacks sizzle or is even detrimental. With at least part of the business reputation and even its economic viability at stake, the manager must be attuned to reaching all sorts of existing and potential customers in various ways. Just be prepared and have assistance with the social media pages, however, as having a page that is inactive or inaccurate could actually harm the business.
Additional information about Marketing Applications can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Triemstra JD, Poeppelman RS, Arora VM. Correlations between hospitals’ social media presence and reputation score and ranking: Cross-sectional analysis. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20:e289.