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How to grow your practice using Instagram and Pinterest


Human nature means people are engaged with visuals. We can process and understand images very quickly. This is why social media such as Instagram and Pinterest are good ways to grow your practice, say Kevin Wilhelm and Trudi Charest Marketing4ECPs at Vision Expo East.

New York-Human nature means people are engaged with visuals. We can process and understand images very quickly.

This is why social media such as Instagram and Pinterest are good ways to grow your practice, say Kevin Wilhelm and Trudi Charest Marketing4ECPs at Vision Expo East.

“The human brain process visuals 60,000 times faster than text,” says Charest.

Because of this, Instagram and Pinterest that allow ODs to communicate with their patients differently and with more creativity.

Related: Behind the scenes of Instagram practice photos

Employing Pinterest at your practice

Pinterest generates four times more revenue (per click) than Twitter and 27 percent more per click than Facebook,” says Charest. “About 55 percent of online shoppers pick Pinterest as their favorite shopping channel, and they are usually higher earners.”

Pinterest involves creating boards and pinning your favorite things onto the boards based on keywords.

“When creating a board, think about what someone is searching for,” says Charest. “Make it engaging, fun, and practical when naming your boards.”

Think about what your patients are searching for, such as: eye care, glasses, sunglasses, eyeglass repair, eye exam, etc. Create boards using those keywords, says Charest.

“You can create a pin board for anything that you can think of that somebody is going to type in and wants to find board,” she says. “Create as many boards as you can, but make sure they are optimized with six to eight pins on each board.”

Pinterest is indexed by Google and is searchable via Google’s search engine. It is important that the boards are named exactly how you wish patients to search for you.

You are also able to create your own custom pins using websites such as Canva and Picmonkey. It’s important that you use your own pins and not always depend on others’ pins, says Charest.

To gain more qualified followers on Pinterest, Charest says to follow, follow, follow.

“In order to get qualified followers following you on Pinterest, you need to follow others in your geographical area,” she says. “Search within your geographical zone and follow similar Pinterest pages.”

She also says watching the analytics can help you gauge what patients are enjoying and sharing with their followers.

“It’s very important to look at the analytics once in a while to see what people are enjoying, engaging with, and sharing the most,” says Charest.

Related: How ODs can capitalize on social media in their practices

Charest outlined the following Pinterest action plan to get people following and interacting with your practice on Pinterest:

• Build for work, not personal

• Create boards that people will search in search engines

• Fill them full of shared and customized pins

• Optimize boards and pins with keywords and URLs

• Pin every day-10 pins a day is her strategy

• Follow people you want to follow you back

• Share your Pinterest page on other social channels

• Add the Pinterest icon on your website

“The idea is to get people to follow all of your boards-not just one,” says Charest.


Adopting Instagram at your practice

With 400-million active users, Instagram allows you to showcase the dispensary and other cool places within your practice, says Wilhelm.

“Post photos of your office, optical, and dispensary to show off,” says Wilhelm. “Use cool angles, backgrounds, and filters to differentiate yourself from others.”

With 90 percent of its users under the age of 35, Wilhelm says to put personality in your posts, have fun with it, and show everyone why they should choose you.

“Post about the different services you offer,” says Wilhelm. “Show different steps in the process. It’s like pulling back the curtain a bit.”

Use your staff and patients in your posts. If patients are used, make sure you receive their permission before sharing any photos to avoid HIPAA violations, says Wilhelm.

You should also be utilizing hashtags with every Instagram post, Wilhelm says.

“A hashtag is an anchor to a conversation,” says Wilhelm. “When a hashtag is used, your entire post gets tagged to that hashtag’s webpage.”

Hashtags can help gain additional followers and allow you to show up in regional searches if location and other users are tagged in your post.

“Always include the city hashtag in your posts as well,” says Wilhelm. “Some cities spell out the name, others use the airport code.”

Related: Mastering social media marketing for your practice

You should also be posting promotions, education topics, brands, and celebrities, says Wilhelm. Showcase what’s going on at your practice and what’s new in the industry.

Wilhelm says there are some things you don’t want to do when posting on Instagram.

“Don’t post an image that won’t show up completely, and don’t use too much text in your posts,” he says.

One easy way to interact with your followers that sometimes goes overlooked is responding to comments. Wilhelm says if you are not responding, you’re not continuing the dialogue with your patients.

“Respond to comments,” he says. “It is social media. If you are not responding, you are missing a huge opportunity.”

Wilhelm says the following action plan will help even the novice Instagram users step up their game:

• Post consistently

• Get creative

• Look for opportunity

• Connect to influencers in your geographical area

• Let patients see you taking pictures and posting

• Take pictures of your patients (with their permission)

• Use hashtags so people can find you, your services, and your images

• Promote your Instagram images on your other social channels

Wilhelm says though it can take time to post on social when getting started, don’t forget what draws people to use social media in the first place.

“Always have fun,” says Wilhelm.

Read more from Vision Expo in New York, NY here

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