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The Power of Social Media in Pharmacy in the Age of COVID-19

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Social media has the ability to shape perspectives on news and provide opportunities for connecting with others. During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the need to connect with others has taken on a new form, accelerating the need for professionals and organizations to interact with potential customers through social media platforms.

This reality is no different for the field of pharmacy, which has had a strong network of professionals on social media for years. One organization in particular, the Pharmacist Moms Group, has had a strong following on social platforms since 2017, having grown its audience to more than 35,000 active members on Facebook.1

On April 24, Pharmacist Moms Group founder Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, spoke on the power of social media in the field of pharmacy at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy for the annual Albert Ebert lecture.1

Soliman explained how her initial group of 50 friends turned within a month to a group with 1000 members. Today, it is the largest group of pharmacists within the United States.1

“We had a partnership in 2018 with Facebook after they reached out to me because we were one of the most active groups on Facebook in the world,” Soliman said during her lecture.1

Soliman explained that millennials who grew up using social media now expect to be able to connect with others in their field, as well as to get their news and even conduct business, using platforms such as Facebook.1

Soliman cited a study conducted at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii, which showed that in 2019, most current pharmacy students (86%) at the college were of the millennial generation, with approximately 91% to 93% of students using at least 1 social media platform. The students also reported that they used social media regularly, with 51% using Facebook, 52% using Instagram, 32% using Snapchat, and 6% using Twitter multiple times daily.2

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“The Pharmacist Moms Group is not just a really large group, but we’re also the most active group. We’ve had over 6 million posts this year in our group. Members are extremely active and constantly talking about various topics related to pharmacy and other issues,” Soliman said during her lecture.1

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There are also multiple social media platforms available to use, with each platform garnering a certain audience.1

“Based on various ages, some forms of social media are more popular than others. Specifically, for example, a majority of Snapchat users are under 25 years old, at 73%. Only 3% of Snapchat users are over the age of 65. So, depending upon the site, you will be attracting a specific audience,” Soliman explained.1

With this knowledge, there is a decision that individuals and organizations are making every day regarding their own activity on social platforms.

“You have a choice when it comes to social media: You can either step forward into the growth, or you can step back into safety and not get involved,” Soliman said.1

Yet, the decision to engage in social media can provide real world results professionally in the field of pharmacy.1

“Once we can change the perception of what pharmacists do, we can expand our scope of practice. And also, through connecting, pharmacists can reach out to a physician or a nurse and can quickly broaden their interprofessional connections. After making that connection, that individual can then reach out to pharmacists and let them know that a pharmacist is needed on their team when a position becomes available,” Soliman said.

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This opportunity to broaden horizons can not only lead to greater career growth opportunities, but by allowing patients to see pharmacists as real people through social media platforms, patient outcomes can be improved as well.1

“We know that improved perception can improve outcomes, so if patients see the pharmacist as a human, outcomes can improve as well. When pharmacists can relate to a patient and they can see pharmacists as real people, that can change their perceptions of what a pharmacist can do,” Soliman explained.

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Such opportunities for growth on social media within the field of pharmacy are also being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people now than ever looking for answers and seeking guidance. Through social media, pharmacists can show patients a positive way forward.1

“Now, we’re right at the forefront where things could change because pharmacists are able to provide COVID-19 testing. We need to let people know that pharmacists can do this testing as well as doctors, which is a step forward in the right direction for the pharmacy profession. So now, with social media, we have the chance to get our voices out there,” Soliman said.

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TikTok Launches New ‘Branded Mission’ Creator Monetization and UGC Promotion Process

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TikTok Launches New 'Branded Mission' Creator Monetization and UGC Promotion Process

TikTok’s looking to make it easier for creators to make money from their clips via a new program that it’s calling ‘Branded Mission’, which will enable creators to take part in what’s essentially branded content challenges, with the brand then able to select from the submitted clips for their promotional campaigns.

As explained by TikTok:

“To make it easier for brands to tap into the creative power of TikTok communities and co-create authentic branded content that resonates with users, we’re launching Branded Mission. Branded Mission is an industry-first ad solution that enables advertisers to crowdsource authentic content from creators on TikTok, turn top-performing videos into ads, and improve brand affinity with media impressions.”

As outlined in the above video, the process will enable brands to post challenges, which creators with over 1k followers will then be able to participate in.

“TikTok creators can decide what Branded Missions they’re inspired by and choose to participate in the Mission. Brands will select their favorite original creative videos and amplify them through promoted ad traffic.”

The chosen creators then get a cash payment, though the payment amounts, at least at this stage, won’t vary based on individual video performance.

Instead, each Mission will list earnings potential, based on how much the brand is willing to pay.

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Allocate more cash and you’ll pique the interest of more users, expanding the potential of tapping into a viral hit.

The option will broaden the creative options for brands, and with organic-styled content performing best on the platform, it could open up major new possibilities for marketers looking for ways to tap into the app.

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It’ll also provide TikTok with another critical revenue-share element. Clearly the app of the moment, if TikTok wants to maximize its opportunities, it needs to ensure that its top creators get paid – because with more lucrative monetization offers available on other platforms, it logically makes sense that big-name stars will follow the cash, and focus on those platforms instead.

But monetizing short-form video is harder than longer content, which is why TikTok is also rolling out 10-minute clips, and emphasizing live-streaming, as a means to drive more money-making opportunities.

Branded Mission is another step in this direction, which will ideally provide a more direct link between creating content in your own style and making money, without having to incorporate merchandise sales or arrange your own affiliate deals.

Interestingly, Meta is trying out similar on Instagram, where product tags were recently expanded to all users.

Instagram product tags

Creators don’t get paid for adding these tags, not yet at least, but you can see how Meta could eventually take a similar approach to provide creators with more revenue opportunities.

For TikTok, the process could make it much easier to bring in cash for your uploads, expanding well beyond the Creator Fund, which top creators have already been highly critical of.

You will, of course, need to create specific, themed videos, as opposed to YouTube, where you upload what you like and switch on ads. But it’s a fairly distanced relationship from the sponsor brands, which reduces management workload, while also providing new content prompts.

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It’s a good idea, and as more and more brands look to tap into the app – especially as it surges towards 1.5 billion users – you can bet that it’ll be a popular option for a range of ad partners.

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TikTok says that Branded Mission is now in beta testing, and is available to brands in more than a dozen markets. The option will be made available in more regions throughout the year.

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