Using Social Media to “Super-Charge” Your Events

Pharmacy Events Could your pharmacy co-sponsor a healthy cooking class?

“Tame the Sugar Monster”, “The Hormone Happy Hour”, “Longevity Weekend.”

In-store events set your community pharmacy apart from the big box stores, showcasing your expertise and community connections. Preparation typically involves arranging for speakers, setting up displays, preparing refreshments, creating flyers and putting up signs around the store.  If that is where you stop, you are missing out on some serious buzz!

When planning your event, consider networking opportunities.  For example, would a local chef or caterer agree to provide refreshments in exchange for generous promotion? Invite a respected local expert to speak. Would they, in turn, publicize the event on their social channels?

Have you considered offering a door prize?  Think of something that would be of particular interest to your desired audience and see if the provider can help you promote your event.  For example, if the event topic is dealing with menopause symptoms, provide a gift certificate to one attendee for a complete hormone analysis and consultation. Give all attendees a lower cost gift, such as a best-selling homeopathic remedy. Get more ready-made pharmacy event ideas.

Many of the following suggestions assume that you have a website, email list, and at least some audience on your social accounts. If this is not the case, you will still benefit by using EventBrite and creating events. Don’t feel you have to use all the methods suggested, but do make sure to ask attendees how they learned about your event so you will know where to focus your efforts next time.

Start with a Hub

Create a central location to house all the information on who, what, when, where, how and why.  Make sure all relevant links are included.  Where possible, use a blog post or web page as the hub, because this will increase traffic to your site and will allow you to leverage your existing reputation. Include information about all speakers and guests, making sure to display their contact information and links to their social profiles.

Consider using a service such as EventBrite for organizing registrations. It’s free for free events and makes it very easy for attendees to share event information with their friends.

pharmacy event ideas Need a little inspiration? Download five ready-made event ideas to use anytime!

Start Promoting

  • Include details in your Email newsletter.  Forward ready-to-use text to your speakers and event partners so they can easily add it to their newsletters.  In your email, invite suggestions for questions to be answered or topics to be covered. Share teasers of the content that will be covered at event, the refreshments, and prizes.
  • Include a link to your hub in your email signature.
  • Put a badge on your website that links to your hub. Send the badge to your partners for use on their websites.
  • Blog about each presenter and invite them to contribute a guest post.
  • Send out a free press release through PRWeb or PRLog. Learn how to create a killer press release.
  • Ask presenters to share updates on their social channels. Offer to provide a list of suggested updates.

Create events* on Facebook, Yelp, Google+, and other listing event calendars (see box).

To make your event stand out,

Ten Online Event Calendars to Try:

  1. Radio station websites
  2. TV channel websites
  3. Newspaper websites
  1. Come up with creative a title that succinctly answers, “What’s in it for me?” For example, compare “Can’t take the heat? Managing Menopause Naturally” with “Seminar on Menopause.”
  2. It is worth your time, too, to come up with a logo or photo for your event. Many don’t bother, so your listing, when accompanied by a logo, will catch the eye!
  3. Write a short and simple event description with just the highlights. Focus on what benefits the attendees will receive. Make sure to include instructions on how to register and include a link back to your hub.

Start Tweeting

  1. Create a hash tag, which is just a keyword preceded by “#”.  For our example, “#CoolingMenopause” might work well. Start using it before the event by displaying the hash tag on your hub and using it in pre-event Tweets.
  2. Remind people to use it during the event. Offer a prize to a hash tagger with the most Tweets or most creative Tweets.
  3. Ask please to ReTweet by including “Pls RT” in your Tweets.
  4. Mix up the tweets, including event details, presenter information, and invitations to submit questions to the speakers. Include a link to your hub with all Tweets.

Post updates to Facebook and Google Plus

  • Invite people to attend.
  • Share teasers of the content that will be covered at event, the refreshments and prizes.
  • Thank people who have registered by name.
  • Share photos and very brief bios of the presenters.
  • Invite suggestions for topics to be covered and questions to be answered.

During the event

  • Display your hash tag and Twitter username and remind people to use them during and after the event.
  • Encourage checkins on Foursquare. Offer a prize for the best photo with checkin.
  • Take photos.
  • Take video.
  • Write down some of the topics covered and questions answered.
  • Offer a gift to attendees who agree to create a video testimonial on the spot.
  • Tweet brief observations, using your hash tag.
  • Monitor your hash tag on Twitter, responding to questions and comments.

After the Event

  • Upload photos to Flckr and share on Facebook.
  • If slides were used, upload them to Slideshare and post links on all your social channels.
  • Thank attendees and presenters, both in-person, which allows you to get their feedback, and on social channels. Share something you learned from them.
  • Ask for attendee feedback and suggestions on a next event.
  • Upload video to YouTube and provide links in social channels.
  • Write a blog post using your notes.
  • Review hash tag mentions on Twitter for feedback.

Review your site analytics to see which sites referred the most traffic. This information, along with in-person feedback will help you decide where to focus your efforts next time. Continue to promote the experts and providers who worked with you. Usually, they will respond in kind. Before long, you may find you have created a very beneficial local business network that will help bring in new customers.

If you need assistance setting up your website, blog, or social channels, or if you would like more information regarding any of these suggestions, please call Scalable Social Media at 800.305.9420.

Download a whitepaper featuring five no-fail in-store event ideas. Variations on these suggestions can be used over and over again to build local networks and entice new customers to visit your pharmacy.