We are avid readers of the social media resource iMediaConnection and saw an article recently that we had to share called "The world's worst social media advice: What to ignore". It talks about all the advice that's out there surrounding social media and how much if it may not be good for every company, which stood out to us when thinking about social media in optical practices. With so much advice being posted about how to approach social media and what you should be doing, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at what you shouldn't do. A couple of points that we took away from the article are that what works for one brand or in one arena isn't necessarily the right approach for your company, and that setting out to gain a lot of likes or followers isn't nearly as important as engaging with people - even if that means you limit the number of platforms you use. We think both of these are solid points and great pieces of advice, especially in a niche market like eye care.
We won't go into all of the specifics of the article because they've already done a great job and we suggest giving it a read. Rather, we'll share our thoughts on this aspect of social media strategy in case it's of use to you. Regardless of the media being used, every company should give a lot of thought to their strategy and make sure that the approach fits their company goals before they leap. But since social media is so...just, everywhere...and it's so much easier to embark on that traditional media (commercials, print ads, etc), it's easy to get caught up in the hype. And before you know it, you may be struggling to manage multiple platforms and trying to engage with people when the outlet just isn't the right venue for your business. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with figuring out what your business needs, and what it doesn't. That thought leads right in to what they say in the article about engaging being more important than collecting likes and followers. What's the point of having a ton of followers if you can't interact with them in a meaningful way? Why have a Facebook page full of people that could never be loyal to your brand or company? Once you have them, the idea is to connect with them, so if you're putting all this work in and they can't reciprocate, was it worth it? That's an important question to ask.
Now, don't get us wrong. We LOVE social media. It's changed the way that we get to interact with our users and for us, it's provided value that we never saw coming. But, even with all the value it's provided us, we aren't on every platform out there. And, we have carefully thought out the way that social media fits in to our mix. Our Facebook page doesn't boast the most likes in the industry, and we're fine with that. We want our page to be a community of our users and our industry, so if that means it takes time to grow, so be it. We're not in the "like" collecting business. The same goes for our Twitter - we see it as a way to interact, share news, and learn about our industry and the people in it. We don't have some goal of hitting X number of followers before the end of X amount of time. Our goals are more like "share X amount of useful content each week" and "engage with the goings on at X event and share that with our followers". That discussion about how we would use social media, what we hoped it would mean for us and our users, and how it could improve our interaction in the industry, happened before we first set up our Facebook page and Twitter account a few years ago. And it happened again when we decided to post demos on our Youtube channel. And then again when we created this blog.
If you're struggling to figure out where social media fits in your optical practice, you are definitely NOT ALONE. It's something that a lot of companies are facing. But while you're going out there and trying to figure it out, think about strategy and what would be the best approach for your company. If only one platform makes sense, then only use that particular one. Basically, feel free to take your time and don't feel like you have to get caught up in the social media frenzy. Trust us, the social media Gods aren't going to strike you down if you don't have a presence on every single platform.
We only talked about a couple of the topics that are covered in the iMediaConnection article, which you can read in its entirety here: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/30254.asp addresses. So, what do you think? What is your approach to social media for opticians? Is any of this helpful to you? Let us know and stay in touch by following us on Twitter!