In social media, as it is with most things digital marketing, content is king. In fact, the words a company uses on its website and even in its social media posts can contribute to where the page appears within search rankings. Optimizing that content for certain relevant keywords is a process called search engine optimization, or SEO. But if you caught the first part of our two-part social media marketing series, you know what we’re here to talk about today: what and when to post on social media.

So, why is content king on social media? Maybe the biggest reason is that it can so easily elevate and spread your message. How many of you have been on Facebook, saw something you found interesting and hit the “like” button? A better question is, how many of you have shared a piece of content from another user or a brand? My guess is that most of us have interacted with content on Facebook that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. But a good content plan isn’t about just throwing words on the page and hoping it sticks. It requires forethought and consideration into what the audience wants to consume and when they want to consume it.

What to post

One of the things we often hear from members is that they want to post regularly on social media, but they aren’t sure what to post. The answer to that question is all around you. It’s the products on your shelves. It’s what’s happening in your community. It’s your customers. It’s your employees.

In part I of our series, we suggested that pharmacies try their hand at Facebook before expanding into other channels. But regardless of the platform, the key to producing the type of social media content that resonates with audiences is making sure it’s rooted in authenticity. There are few conversion tools more powerful than firsthand experience, which means you must find ways to share real testimonials from real customers. Posts on Facebook tend to perform better when they have visuals, so take a quick second to film your customer providing their testimonial or snap their picture.

Along the same line as your customer testimonial, don’t hesitate to feature your employees. Community pharmacies have an advantage over big box stores in that we’re all locally owned and operated. Take advantage of that hometown pride by shining the spotlight on the people who keep your store open and running smoothly.

Facebook is also an excellent avenue for contests, as the allure of winning something is a big draw for many users. You can encourage likes, comments and shares by motivating users with a unique prize. That prize could be anything from a gift card to the store to a basket filled with seasonal treats.

Lastly, you should use your page to share timely and relevant news about activities in the community or the health care industry, as well as holidays and seasonal happenings like upcoming flu or hurricane seasons.

When to post

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic formula that lays out the perfect time for a brand to post on Facebook. That’s because the platform has a proprietary (and secret) algorithm that determines the content users see within their own respective newsfeeds. In theory, the algorithm is supposed to deliver content that people are inclined to want to see. But if you ask many small business owners on Facebook, they’ll say that the algorithm just suppresses their posts.

Though there’s no way to beat or skirt the algorithm, the best thing you can do is post good, quality content that gets engagement. When users frequently engage with a brand, it’s believed that they are more likely to see future posts from that brand.

Still, some experts have taken a stab at digging through copious amounts of data to find the best times to post on Facebook. For example, Sprout Social took that approach and even categorized its best practices by industry.

The results for the health care sector are hardly earthshattering but worth a mention. As you might expect, the worst days for engagement related to health care were on the weekend, while the most reliable days and times for posting were Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Further, Sprout Social said that engagement tapered off significantly before 6 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

That wraps up our quick two-part series on where, how, what and when to post on social media. If you’re a pharmacist looking for guidance with social media marketing for your store, ATRIUM24 can help. Drop us a line, and we’ll be in touch.