This is a sponsored post by Essilor of America, a supporter of NewGradOptometry & new graduate optometrists! 😎
Social media is viewed with a lot of skepticism and misunderstanding. Fear of the unknown often breeds negative emotions like resentment and neglect.
As a result, optometric practices and their CEOs or practice managers allow their skepticism of social media to turn themselves off to “being available online.” I can’t tell you how many times I have seen practices deeply neglect their online presence.
In order to fix this problem, let me give you my definition of social media for the optometric practice.
Social Media for the optometric practice means being available online through common web channels in a way that reveals to a potential customer “who” you are, “what” you do, and “why.”
Breaking it down to its simplest form
A good social media campaign consists of knowing the following three things.
Who is your practice?
- Who works at your practice, their personality, and what they do in the office
- Your practice’s brand, the look, feel, and general approach to business
What does your practice do?
- The type of care your practice offers
- The equipment your practice has
- What happens outside of the practice with staff and teams (ie: parties, CE courses and other things to show your community you are involved)
Why does your practice exist?
- Define your mission statement and display it boldly and repeatedly
- Define your core values – usually a set of 5 things your practice lives by
- Get deep and know WHY you are in business. This is typically an inspirational message
Define these 3 things and ensure that everything you put on the internet ties back to at least one of these definitions. This will enable your local community to see the truth of who you are, and therefore become or return as a customer to your practice.
What Social Media Channels to Use
Here are the social media channels that are best to use. All of these cost ZERO dollars.
- Facebook is easy to use, allows for very personal connections to your community and gives you a way to easily share the “who” part of your practice. Create a Facebook Page here.
- Strategy Tip: Once per month, log in and post something transparent. A staff picture, a picture of your equipment, an interesting story about how you helped a patient. It must be personal!
- Google+ is also your Google Maps listing. This is essential for customers to find your practice. Be sure that you own the Google+ page so you can control it. You will be able to add photos, status updates and allow your patients to review you.
- Strategy Tip: Try this – go on your smart phone, download the Google Maps app (if you don’t have it) and type in your practice’s name. Does it come up? Does it have pictures? Does it have reviews? Ok now, Google Map your competitor who you know is doing well in the community. What does their page look like? If you were a consumer, where would you go to get your eyes checked?
- Yelp.com is the most popular review website that exists. You don’t need to pay for advertising, simply get a free listing like the rest of the world. Did you know that Apple Maps, the map tool that comes on EVERY iPhone ever made, uses Yelp.com to help users find businesses? With that stated, don’t you think you should be on Yelp?
- Strategy Tip: Go on Apple Maps from your iPhone and try to search for your practice. What pops up? Do you see your practice? Pictures? Reviews? If you are showing up, go to Yelp.com and find the page of your business. On the page click “this is my business” or “claim this business.” This will enable you to begin to manage your page, your hours, photos, reviews, and to use the analytics section to see how much Yelp is helping people find your practice.
Here is a screenshot of my Yelp page analytics:
In 24 months, 44 people got directions to my office, 25 people called me and 122 people went to my website, all through Yelp.com. See the impact now of social media?
Make 2015 the year you actually do something about your social media presence for your optometry practice. If you want tips, just comment below, and I promise, I will personally answer every single question.
To get started on your first shareable piece of content, let’s look at how you can use The Vision Impact InstituteTM to begin showing your community your dedication to eye care.
The Vision Impact InstituteTM for Social Media
The Vision Impact InstituteTM is not only a great resource and provides a wealth of information, but that information can also easily be used in your social media strategy.
The Vision Impact InstituteTM is essentially a central hub that gathers data, research, infographics and digestible media, all into one place so that the world can spread this message. It is made possible by Essilor, which is pretty darn awesome of them, right?
Most practices are posting the same information, and some practices have no idea what to post on their various social media platforms. The Vision Impact InstituteTM can easily resolve this issue.
Why Your Practice Should Use This Content
Patient education is critical in any practice’s growth and success. This type of education improves patient compliance with treatment and management, and also stresses the importance of annual examinations. As your own patients learn and understand the importance of vision and ocular health, this will undoubtedly grow your practice through word-of-mouth.
How You Can Utilize the Vision Impact InstituteTM
There is an abundance of facts, research, and resources that The Vision Impact InstituteTM provides that can easily be shared across your social media platforms.
Sections You Can Share Content From
- Research – Provides full access to peer-reviewed studies that facts and figures are drawn from. You can download the studies for free or share them directly with your patients.
- Stats – Find specific statistics to share with patients and your audience, which can quickly emphasize the importance of ocular health and visual well being without being overly verbose.
- Press Room – Latest news from the institute including new developments, projects, and resources.
- 10 Things To Know – A concise list of facts that highlights the socioeconomic impact of poor vision and stresses the importance of treatment.
- Ideas For Research – Suggest an area or topic of interest that needs studied or is lacking research. Or share your own knowledge or a resource to help fill a gap.
How To Utilize Each Section
These peer-reviewed studies can be sorted by various criteria including geographic location, popularity, patient demographic, and date. This makes it extremely easy to provide research specific for your own patient demographic.
For example, I work in a practice that sees a large population of children. I can quickly search for relevant topics regarding studies in children by utilizing the various filters available. The filters are extremely user friendly.
Once you have found desired research to share with your patients, you can very easily download or print the research (circled in black), or share it across your social media platforms (circled in red).
These materials and figures can easily be shared across your social media platforms for various outreach projects or presentations. These statistics can convey powerful messages to your patients such as those I’ve highlighted below. Once again, as a practice that sees a large population of pediatric patients, these statistics can help reinforce the importance of exams in children to detect vision problems.
It is very easy to share these facts across your social media platforms by clicking the share button highlighted in blue below.
Concise facts on vision economics including 10 Things To Know, along with suggestions for new research.
Suggestions for new research is an incredible way to help obtain information for your specific patient demographic and outreach strategy. Do you see children with specific visual issues and subsequent consequences that have not been addressed or studied? Make the Vision Impact InstituteTM aware of the need for information on this topic, and your questions may be answered.
The Vision Impact InstituteTM makes it easy to utilize their information in various outreach projects and presentations. If you are lecturing at schools or involved in some type of speaking engagement in an effort to build your practice and create awareness of the impact of vision problems, you can obtain media resources from the press room.
How To Utilize The Vision Impact InstituteTM If You Are New To Social Media
If you are new to social media, an easy way to get involved is to follow the Vision Impact InstituteTM on Linkedin, Twitter, or subscribe to their YouTube channel.
You can always re-tweet some of their outreach messages if you are not sure what to share on your own social media platforms. The important thing is to just get started!
In an era when social media dominates the way we consume and present information, as well as communicate with each other, there is no question that we all must take advantage of every avenue of potential growth social media can offer.
Comment below and let’s talk social media strategy!
*This article is an advertorial for the company Essilor. We would like to let you know that NewGradOptometry, LLC has chosen to work only with companies who support new graduate eyecare professionals, the profession of optometry and who our team believes in. We will always remain true to that.