A quartet of key principles for making an impact on social media.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of INVISION.
Finally thinking seriously about getting around to this social media thing for your business? If the idea of entering this new world with its own strange language of hashtags and emojis feels overwhelming, don’t stop reading. Take a deep breath. All you need to get started are these four easy steps:
1. Claim Your Handles: Set up all of your social media platforms with the same handle (or name). It is critical to have the same name across all platforms so patients can easily find you. Even if you don’t plan on being active on every platform right away, go ahead and snag your handle on every platform you’re considering using as soon as possible so a competitor doesn’t claim the name. Our suggested platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Yelp.
2. Avoid Overcommitting: Don’t let social media burn you out. Find the platform that works for you; think quality over quantity. We suggest narrowing it down to two platforms to get things started. Consider user demographics for the platforms before you chose which to focus on. Want to reach mostly Baby Boomers and Generation X? Facebook and Twitter are your best platforms. Want to reach Millennials and younger generations? Instagram is huge for ages 18-35, and Snapchat skews towards teenagers and the younger Millennials.
3. Be Creative: In order to gain the attention of new followers, you must create personal, custom content. Just reposting information shared by other doctors or optical groups won’t establish a unique identity, and can even hurt your SEO rankings (Search Engine Optimization, or the chances that your office will appear on the first page of results when a patient searches for optometrists in your local area). If you are reposting content already used by other ODs or opticals, you are essentially just marketing for them by increasing the number of times their images and marketing messages appear online. Creating your own brand identity with images and messages unique to your office is the key to making social media work for you.
4. Talk About It: Regardless of how great your content is, if you don’t talk about your social media accounts in the exam lane, your patients may never know that you are socially engaged. Your own patients, who you’ve establish a connection with during their office visit, will be your best social media followers and the most likely to share your posts with others.
Here are some ways to build patient awareness of your accounts:
➤ Have your social media accounts on your website and business cards, hand them out at check in or check out.
➤ Run a promotion: Something as simple as $10 off their next eyewear purchase for following you on all of your social media platforms is a great way to build a following.
➤ Continually run promotions or giveaways on your social media platforms to repeatedly engage your existing and potential patients.
➤ Encourage patients to tag you when they post a picture of themselves in their new eyewear.