New York City—
ODs on Facebook founder Alan Glazier, OD, provided social media strategies for optometrists during a session at Vision Expo East.
Social media can offer a number of opportunities for practice growth, he says. It can allow you to build and maintain relationships with your patients. It can help you find new patients and help those new patients find you. It can allow you to establish yourself as an expert. It can help you manage your practice’s reputation. It can be a great way to advertise promotions. For the modern optometry practice, social media is a must—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge for many.
“Social media marketing is a strategy that is no different from real-world networking,” says Dr. Glazier.
Dr. Glazier says social media intimidates some doctors because it can be time consuming to get started and a constant ongoing effort to interact within the community. It can also be challenging to benchmark success with social media marketing efforts. Despite those challenges, social media can help grow your practice and establish you as an expert in eye care in the digital realm.
Related: Managing your employees social media use
Establish yourself as an eyecare expert
Social media can help you establish yourself as an expert in eye care in the eyes of Google. If Google sees that you are considered influential in online eyecare communities, you and your practice are likely to rank higher in Google searches.
“Patients are using Google to find you—but even worse, they’re using it to find your competition,” says Dr. Glazier.
When your patients search for an optometrist in the area, Google will take into account your contributions to the online eyecare community and as a result potentially serve up your practice over your competition.
Use social media platforms to create and share high-quality content about your particular area of expertise. For example, if you specialize in dry eye, write regular blogs on the symptoms and various treatments and share those posts on Facebook and Twitter. Start making videos showing off the dry eye services you offer and post them to YouTube (and then share on all of your platforms).
“What tou’re trying to get your services and products seen online, build relationships with the people who see you, and do it by sharing content that brings emotion—that they think is funny or clever—or brings something of value in their lives,” says Dr. Glazier. “But just like real life, nobody is going to be drawn to you if you’re boring. It needs to be engaging, insightful content.”
Post something funny, something sad, something heartwarming. (Need an idea of something funny to post with your community? Try our “Top 9 optometry memes
.”) These types of posts make it easier for your audience to share it with their own networks (retweets, reblogs, shares) and help amplify your message.
Next: The dos and don'ts of social media
The dos and don’ts of social media
Dr. Glazier says there is no one right way to use social media. Everyone is trying to accomplish something different, and there are many different ways to accomplish a goal.
But there are some good rules to follow. Always post high-quality content—if you were your audience, would you want to see it? Content should play on some sort of emotion, but humor usually plays well on social media. When responding to someone on social media, your responses should never be generic. Nobody wants to interact with a robot, so craft a custom, genuine response.
Related: 10 reasons why my practice doesn't have a phone
And a great time to post on any of your social media platforms is 11 a.m. ET, when the East Coast is starting to head to lunch and the West Coast is starting the day.
Dr. Glazier has a few best practices for social media:
1. Participate: Don’t just have an account—like, comment, post, and share.
2. Follow the rules.
3. Pay attention.
4. Don’t be a walking billboard—offer more than just promotional content.
5. Engage with your audience.
6. Give five times before asking once—interact with a community in a way that does not directly benefit you more often than you ask something of that community.
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