Social media can be time consuming but imagine being able to carve out a set bit of time each week to schedule automated posts in advance, putting your practice in front of current — and potential — patients as often as you’d like. This is not only possible, but important as you consider broadening your reach in the digital age. The world of social media management tools is vast and sometimes intimidating. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction, even if your practice is still small. 


Points to Consider

“Businesses should post relevant messages multiple times a day so they’re seen by as many followers as possible,” says Deborah Smith, owner and president of Foxtrot Media, LLC, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media. Smith highly recommends MeetEdgar to accomplish this goal. She says, “We use this tool for scheduling evergreen tweets like ‘Follow us on Instagram and Facebook’ and ‘Subscribe to our newsletter.’”  

Dr. Katie McElvaine of Springfield Family Vision in Springfield, MO, says the different tools have different strengths. She likes SocialOomph’s versatility for organizing content but finds Buffer (pictured) more user friendly, if limited. Crowdfire is strong on analytics but weaker on Instagram functionality.

Eyecare of Florence uses Hootsuite through iMatrix, an optometry marketing service provider, to post on Twitter via Facebook, but also creates content beyond its scheduled posts. “We have a very active Facebook page,” says Billy Isgett, optician-owner of the Florence, SC-based business. “Our patients love to be featured and it increases likes and shares.”

“Figure out who your audience is,” says Dr. Cynthia Sayers, owner of EyeShop Optical in Lewis Center, OH,  when you’re developing your content. She uses Hootsuite to schedule posts to her Facebook page, shown here.


Vendors

Buffer
buffer.com

Foxtrot Media, LLC
foxtrotmediallc.com

Hootsuite
hootsuite.com

iMatrix
optometry.imatrix.com

MeetEdgar
meetedgar.com

Sprout
sproutsocial.com

More to Remember

Save time. Schedule multiple posts in advance for continuity and efficiency. Dr. Sayers uses Hootsuite and has been satisfied with her experience. “We schedule a week’s worth of social media postings at once so we don’t have to think about it unless something comes up,” she says.

Stay clean and relevant. Tony Damceski, owner of Eyeglass Wearhouse in Reynoldsburg, OH, has used Hootsuite to manage Facebook and Twitter for five years. He advises that ECPs always “double check, triple check,” for typos, regardless of their preferred tool. And Isgett strongly recommends that content creators have some optical knowledge.

Delegate. Let multiple people contribute to save yourself time — and for variety. Michelle Wright, practice director at DePoe Eye Center in Stockbridge, GA, gets this done with Sprout. “I can give my team assignments, then I review [everything] on one page,” she says. “Before Sprout, I did it all.”

Save as you start. Free trials can help as you explore your options. However, Dr. McElvaine recommends saving any posts you set up during a trial run. “Some [services] will lock you out of the content once your free subscription ends,” she says. 

Avoid quick fixes. Smith points out that no matter what you use, no tool is a true “set it and forget it” solution. “Businesses need to constantly assess,” she says. “Are you attracting the right types of followers? Are you getting the right engagement? If not, your strategy needs to be looked at and adjusted.”


Cynthia Sayers of EyeShop Optical

What Businesses Say About Using Social Media Solutions

Cynthia Sayers, OD
EyeShop Optical, Lewis Center, OH

We use Hootsuite to manage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We come up with a monthly schedule based on national observances and events around town, and then we typically set up our posts a week in advance. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts have a daily post, and Instagram has three or four posts per week, depending on the topic. We find that personal types of posts fare better than generic ones. Patients like to see people they know in the glasses. They like to hear personal stories, and that’s what makes a brand. There has to be a ‘wow’ factor.”


This article originally appeared in the June 2017 edition of INVISION.

 

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