A quartet of key principles for making an impact on social media.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of INVISION.
The most essential element to your social media posts isn’t the thoughtful, well-written explanation of that medical condition or how awesome the new frame line you’re carrying looks. It’s all about the picture.
Studies show that posts with pictures get 94 percent more views than posts without an image. But if you’re thinking you can just grab stock photos of people wearing glasses and expect your followers to care, think again. Personalized content is key to establishing your brand online. The most successful social media users create their own visual content, showcasing their office and the frames they carry in store to create a completely unique online identity. How can you create professional looking images that will both draw followers in and build the personal identity that will set your brand apart from the masses?
Get your phone out. Taking pictures around the office is essential to creating content. Got a new frame line? Take pictures unboxing them to build excitement. Your patients are most likely to engage on social media if they recognize the person in the pictures, so doctors and opticians need to get in on the action from time to time. Pictures of you performing elements of an eye exam can be very successful paired with posts about ocular health issues, so get behind that slit lamp, or pose with your BIO or behind the phoropter. Optometry gadgets are one of the things patients love about the eye doctor and showcasing your latest technology can help drive patients into the exam chair.
Brighter is better. What’s the key to a great picture? Any photographer knows lighting can make or break a photo. Exam rooms are not exactly known for being well-lit, so steer pictures toward areas of the office with natural sunlight. Early morning and late afternoon are great times for indirect lighting if you are taking pictures outside. If you don’t have perfect lighting you can use editing apps on your phone or directly in social media platforms like Instagram to touch up your image. A good rule of thumb when editing a darker image is to increase the brightness, increase the highlights and reduce the shadows.
The Stats: Bright pictures get 24 percent more likes than dark ones.
Find the white. Look at some of the most popular Instagram accounts, and you’ll notice one common theme — the photographer’s world seems to be completely whitewashed. White backgrounds make your photographs look more professional and editorial because they put all the focus on the subject of the picture. Want to showcase a new frame? Put it against an all-white backdrop and there’s no background noise to compete for attention. In your office, find a designated photography area with a white wall or table, or purchase posterboard that can simulate those for the best images.
The Stats: Products photographed on a white background get 29 percent more likes.
Get help. Feeling overwhelmed by picture editing? There’s an app for that. Photoshop is not the friendliest place to start for a part-time social media novice. Start with these free user-friendly downloads to give your images some extra polish:
➤ VSCO — An Instagram photog favorite filter app and photo-sharing community.
➤ A Color Story — The “Essentials” filters are free and great for brightening your images.
➤ Layout — The simplest way to make a professional looking collage.
➤ Prisma — For fun, art-inspired filters that simulate styles like watercolor or impressionism.
➤ Lightroom — Edit contrast, color, tone ... think of this as a beginner’s Photoshop.