Is your optometry practice active on social media? If not, you should be! In the current digital era, social media is no longer optional, but necessary in order to create awareness of your optometry practice, build a strong sense of community and generate trust. Social media allows you to reach new potential clients, maintain your existing clients, and even connect or align yourself with other practices, institutions or larger networks.
This article will provide an overview of the benefits of social media, ideas for effective and engaging content, and creative ways to not only promote your products and services, but actually add value to and respect for your business — all specifically with optometry practices in mind!
Social Media Marketing for Optometry Practices
Social media should be a central aspect of your optometry marketing efforts. With high-quality, strategic social media management, you can:
- Build a strong sense of community and trusting relationships with your clients.
- Generate new leads and grow your clientele. In fact, studies show that more than 70% of businesses have acquired a customer through Facebook.
- Improve and help you manage your practice’s reputation.
- Establish yourself and your practice as an expert in the field of optometry.
- Help you advertise and promote your products and services.
It’s important to note that these great results are not guaranteed — first you’ll need a strategic marketing plan, then regular, creative and quality content to achieve positive outcomes like these.
Have a Strategy
Simply joining the major social media platforms and sharing some photos now and then is no longer enough; to actually reap the benefits offered by social media, you need to start with a solid and strategic plan of attack. Below are a few tips to help kick off the planning phase:
- First, you should carefully consider which social media platforms will best help you achieve your goals, and which are worth the time and commitment. You don’t need to join them all; in fact, it’s better to concentrate your efforts on one or two platforms and master them.
- Facebook: Facebook is the most popular choice for social media marketing among small businesses and has the power to connect you with a wide audience. According to Facebook, the platform reaches over 60% of all internet users. The platform features robust and targeted advertising capabilities, as well as tools for easy management, allowing you to schedule posts in advance, view analytics, etc. Finally, Facebook can be a great way to reach new potential clients because of how interactions with your posts will show up to “friends of friends”.
- Instagram: Because an estimated 71% of Instagram users are under the age of 35, Instagram can be a great way to connect with a younger audience. If you set your Instagram profile up as a business profile, you will be able to view useful analytics, link to your website, advertise and more.
- There are many other less popular platforms for businesses to consider, including: Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and more.
- Once you determine which platforms are best for your business, carefully build your profile and brand. Make sure to include your contact information and link to your website and other social media profiles, if applicable.
- Commit to being active on the platforms you choose. Develop a consistent posting schedule that you can stick to. You should post regularly (a few times a week), but not excessively — you don’t want to clog peoples’ newsfeeds or annoy them to the point that they decide to unfollow you.
- Do your research and gather inspiration. Check out your competitors’ profiles and see what’s working and what’s not. Try to be unique, but don’t be afraid to get ideas from others if you feel stuck.
- Develop your own unique “voice”. Try out different styles and see what generates the most engagement. Does your community appreciate some light humor or are they more likely to interact with informative posts? Consider how you want your practice to be viewed.
- Network, network, network! Support other businesses in your local community on social media and they will be more likely to return the favor. Connect with optometry networks or research institutes and align your practice with those respected in the optometry field.
- Monitor your community growth and engagement through analytics, but be patient as it takes time to build and grow your online presence.
If this seems overwhelming or you need help getting started, don’t be afraid to partner with a social media management service — ideally one that has specific experience working with optometry practices and knows the industry well.
Focus on Quality Design
When posting to social media, be intentional about the design and layout of what you share. Below are a few design ideas and suggestions to keep in mind as you create content:
- Great visuals and photos are key. Why? Studies show that a person who hears a piece of information will remember just 10% of it three days later, while someone who sees that same information in a picture will recall 65% of it.
- Studies show that original infographics tend to generate higher engagement than other visuals, though they require more time and effort to produce. Free, online graphic design tools, like Canva, can help you produce professional, eye-catching infographics, flyers and more.
- Stock photos can ease the burden of constantly creating original content.
- Make sure your content and visuals align with your brand. Include your logo wherever possible and stick to a consistent color scheme to build brand recognition.
- Keep it simple! Social media is designed for quick scanning and clicking, so be careful not to overwhelm your audience with too much heavy text. If you need to share a lot of information, it’s better to write a blog post and then share the link in your social media post. This can also help drive traffic to your website or blog.
- Use understandable language rather than complex optometry terms.
Once again, if you are not confident in your design capabilities, a social media management service can help you churn out beautiful, engaging content on a consistent basis.
Don’t Always Promote! Add Value First
Social media presents many opportunities for your practice beyond the chance to promote and advertise your products and services. If you want people to follow you and engage with your account, you need to curate a well-balanced feed that includes not only ads but helpful information, brand personality and fun ways to interact and engage with you. These are just a few ways that you can add value to your account and grow your online presence naturally:
- Be informative. Many optometry practices post quick eye health tips, interesting facts and statistics. Others keep their community informed by sharing links to helpful articles or new studies. These types of posts will help position yourself and your practice as an expert in the field and people will start turning to you for answers, help and advice.
- Share stories of success. Show how you have helped your clients and changed their lives for the better. These case studies will help build trust in your practice. Inspiring stories also encourage people to share and engage with a like or a comment.
- Shine a spotlight on your incredible team members. Staff spotlights can help humanize your practice and make you appear more “real” and community-focused. Posts like these can also help your team members feel special and valued.
- Ask questions to encourage engagement and learn more about your community. This can be a great way to gather useful information and learn which products your patients prefer. It also helps your audience feel heard and valued. For example, you could post two pairs of eyeglasses and ask your community to vote on which they like best.
- Use quotes from your team members and clients. Share positive reviews that you receive. This also helps humanize your practice and build trust.
- Respond to comments, questions and direct messages in a timely manner — don’t leave your clients or potential clients hanging!
- If you are going to promote a product, get creative in how you go about it. For example, you could create a regular theme, like “Frame Fridays”, where you post pictures or selfies of happy clients in their new eyewear.
With a varied, creative and FUN feed, you’ll keep your audience and customers coming back for more!
Need Help with Optometry Social Media?
As you can see from this article, social media for your optometry practice is important, but it can be overwhelming! Especially considering the fact that social media is fast-paced and continually evolving. PECAA’s Member Optometry Marketing Program is designed to ease the burden on you and help you successfully and holistically brand and market your practice. Through website design and development, social media management and design & print services, we’ll make sure all your bases are covered. For marketing support and many other benefits, from networking to continuing education to operations support, join PECAA today!