With the rapid explosion of social media, pharmacists are presented with new challenges be it professional or ethical. Like any other profession, pharmacist can use social media for utilisation and promotion of their health care services. As social media is getting sophisticated and being widely accepted in healthcare services, it is highly possible that pharmacist can rely on social media like every other sectors for promotion. Social media like twitter, facebook and Linkedin play a vital role in establishing yourself as a better pharmacist. Today, only a small percentage of pharmacists use social media for self promotion. This will likely to change in next couple of years as online pharmacy companies are increasing.
In this post, we are going to discuss some few particular ways to use social media in building your credibility as a pharmacist.
1.Don’t try to be anonymous
It is very necessary to show the people for who you really are when using social media, especially for self promotion. Using a pseudonym is a big mistake. It’s like sending a letter without signing first. The receiver would have no clue who or where it is from. If you feel like you really need to hide your true identity, why would anyone waste their time with you? People are wary of engaging with anonymous users.
Being a real user will make you more credible. So why even bother with anonymity?
Also, don’t go around making bold comments to other people thinking you are anonymous. It is far from the truth.
2.Take every opportunity you get to interact with customers
Talking to people in social media is like you are talking to you for real. Many people think that they can state their opinion and simply walk away without answering to the people about their thought. This is not true. If you are using social media with the sole purpose of announcing your opinion on some random topic, you are missing one most important thing, interactivity.
Social media is a form of online conversation and you need to hear out the opinion of others. Without this your social network will never grow like you expected.
Listen first! Then share your thoughts. Make sure you engage with the users-don’t simply post and log out.
3.Share useful information
To the public, you are a highly trained professional who is an expert in medicine. Use social media to share this useful knowledge. We all know pharmacy is difficult to express in simple language, but try to make it as simple as possible. You can use specialists terms only while addressing your colleagues. General people will lose interest in what you have to say within seconds if you use fancy medical words.
Follow medical sources for information. Share these useful sources as these might appeal to your audience.
4.Keep from giving medical advice online
If you think offering medical advice online can increase your credibility among patients looking for health information,you are not completely wrong because its only partially true. The reason? this plan can backfire easily. It’s because everything you are doing from now onward here is just a guesswork as you never met the patient and don’t have a full medical record. If you are wrong, you can be sued for malpractice.
You have to also make sure you minimise misinformation as much as possible when you give out medical information-if you like to. But be careful here. There’s a reason why medical practitioners avoid giving advice online altogether.
Always offer them your offline service or tell them to go visit a doctor.
5.Dealing with trolls
Abusive trolls are all over social media. Simply ignore their negative comments. Never engage with them. It would be a big disaster. Their sole aim is to provoke you into communicating negatively.
Find a more constructive way of turning a negative conversation into a positive one. Look at your whole social media output rather than worrying yourself with these few trolls. Ignoring is always the best way of dealing with them.
“Don’t feed the troll”
6. Be polite
Being polite doesn’t cost anything. Always try to picture how your post is going to be received before you click ‘update’ button.
It’s totally OK to disagree with other people but avoid getting sucked into a rude debate. Rudeness will not encourage others to get into your network. Rudeness is one of those things that will never work in your favor.
Always thank the people who came to help you and don’t hesitate to ask for it either.
7. Think of a strategy
Always have a clear target of what you want to achieve through social media. Always keep posting about your professional life.
But you can also use it to show your human quality. Also occasionally post about non-work related topics like sports or whatever you are interested in. keep in mind that the stuffs you post should be related to serving your career. Set a goal like, 50% of your post should be related to work or whatever you prefer. This will help keep you from losing your time in social media for unproductive activities.
8. Research your social media outcomes
Always analyze your outcomes and followings on monthly basis.
Are you following appropriate information? Are your addressing to the right people? Are your contents relevant to users?
This will help you go in the right direction and make sure you are not just wasting your time.
Talk to other people in pharmacy to see what they are doing right and seek their advice if you can.
They may also provide a valuable insight and methods to improve your social media campaign in more efficient way.