These days people expect you to be active and interact with them on social media via comments, direct messages, mentions, etc. In fact, NOT having a social media presence can actually be a red flag, causing people to doubt that you’re a legitimate optometry office.
Social media can help you find new patients, retain current clients, share important information, and help you build a positive reputation in your local community.
Keep reading to learn some important social media tips for optometrists to reach and engage your audience.
The Five Elements of a Successful Social Media Strategy
There are five key elements you must coordinate to implement a successful social media strategy to increase local reach – your platforms, brand messaging, marketing goals, content, and how you’ll engage your audience.
To increase your local reach and engagement, you need to be where your audience is. Rather than signing up for every social channel, start by picking a primary and secondary platform based on where your ideal patients are most active. You’ll find that each platform has its own energy and target demographic – as such each will play a different role in your social media strategy. In our experience, we find that more visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, (and even TikTok) are good choices for eye care professionals.
Your messaging is an opportunity to communicate on a human level, making a direct emotional connection with your patients. It also helps create a positive perception of your business – even someone hasn’t personally interacted with you. Think about your brand voice/personality. Are you personable and friendly, or corporate and professional? Cutting edge or established? Accessible to all or exclusive?
Your brand messaging should consistently convey:
- Who you are
- What you offer
- Why people should care
People make decisions based on a mix of reasoning and emotional impulse. It isn’t just what you say, but also how you say it. The language you use should be simple and clear while striking an emotional note that appeals to your target audience. Also, keep in mind that you will need to adapt your message presentation to fit the different aesthetics of each social media platform.
When building a social media strategy, you need to establish SMART goals (which stands for (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) for what you hope to achieve. For instance:
- Is your goal to build brand awareness? Drive new patient leads? Increased community outreach?
- What is your timeline?
- What resources will you need to achieve your goal?
- How will each social media channel contribute to your success?
- How do your social goals tie to your business objectives?
A critical component for effective goal setting is to have a system in place to monitor performance. You need to have a way to determine if you are meeting your marketing goals. Furthermore, by tracking performance, you can determine what is and isn’t working, so you can further refine your strategy and improve your social media ROI.
This may seem obvious, but you need to plan what you will post on social media. Remember, your content needs to appeal to your target audience, and they will quickly get bored (and stop following you) if all you post is pictures of eyeglass frames or promotional offers. Content variety is key, so make sure to share a mixture of different formats – images, video, text posts, and interactive elements like polls.
Establishing your platforms, message, and goals ahead of time makes it much easier to create effective content. You will have a better understanding of what your audience wants to see, how to optimize your content for different channels, and ways to stand out from the competition to achieve your goals.
The point of social media isn’t simply to advertise your services – it is to have a two-way conversation with your target audience and foster engagement. Don’t just post something and forget it. Rather, monitor your audience’s reception. Is the style/tone and substance of your content engaging people, or it is being ignored?
Practice “social listening” and track what topics are your audience talking about across your different social media channels. Has a designer recently released a new frame collection that’s attracting attention? Are people curious about a new vision correcting procedure? The more you listen, the more you can learn about your potential patients, so you can then engage them about their interests.
It is also important to be responsive to direct questions or comments on social (generally within 24 hours). Most social platforms reward highly responsive pages with increased visibility in discovery searches.
6 Content Types for Your Social Media Strategy
Most of the time, when people browse on social media, they are seeking entertainment – not a sales pitch. So, here are some tips and ideas on how to create effective social media content for your optometry practice that won’t come off as overly promotional.
General Education / Informative Content
Sharing useful, easily consumed, information about eye care is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise as an optometrist and build a sense of trust with current and potential patients. For example, try sharing tips like how to prevent screen fatigue, choose a pair of glasses, or recognize early warning signs of common eye diseases. People will appreciate the expert advice you provide, and when they need to make an eye care appointment or need new glasses, they’ll be more likely to think of your practice first.
Before reaching out to book an appointment, prospective patients will often do some research on your practice. So, help them find the information they need quickly and easily by adding an FAQ section to your social media pages. Whether someone wants to know what to expect during a routine eye exam or has a question about what forms of insurance you accept, you’ll have the answers they’re looking for.
Sharing more interactive content – such as surveys, quizzes, and polls – is an excellent way to encourage audience engagement. For example, you could ask your followers which style of frames they like better, whether they prefer contacts or glasses, or what type of additional services they wish you offered. By giving your followers a chance to share their thoughts and opinions, you make them feel valued.
Beyond driving engagement, questions and polls can also help you conduct market research about your audiences’ optometrical preferences and needs. Finding out what your audience actually thinks helps your practice from making false assumptions and generate creative ideas for future content.
Make sure to post business updates like changes to your opening hours, new products (for instance, your newest line of designer frames), achievements and awards, and when you will be out at community events. Also, make sure to shine the spotlight on your staff. After all, it’s your team that truly makes you unique. For instance, are they having fun decorating the office for an upcoming holiday? Participating in a volunteer event? Going to a professional conference?
Social media is a highly visual platform, so invest in high-quality images and infographics to catch people’s eyes as they scroll through their feed. For example, photos of a patient modeling their new glasses. You can also share short video clips – for instance, showing off new technology and techniques, a walk-through tutorial on how to properly fit new frames or a fun staff challenge.
Another useful social media tip for optometrists is to share the stories behind the glowing reviews of your practice. For instance, a post explaining how you helped a patient with a challenging vision problem. Just make sure you obtain the person’s permission before posting about them (including using their photo) on your social media.
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