So you have a Facebook Page for your practice, and maybe even a Twitter account, but now you're stuck. You've started to gain a few followers, but you're having a hard time keeping them interested and active on your page. You've hit a social media roadblock. So now what do you do?
Top 10 Social Media Ideas To Engage Your Followers
1. Visual Content
Remember that saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words?" In this case, it's true! Visual content on social media has proved to be more interactive than just text, and will almost always get your followers interacting with you. According to Zabisco, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
2. Show That You're Human
While autoposting some of your social media content is an efficient way to manage some of your social media strategy, it's important to remember to show your followers your human side too! There are plenty of ways to accomplish this such as, commenting on posts and tweets and posting real-time photos!
3. Link to Content
One of the biggest things your followers are hoping to get out of you on social media is information. So give it to them! If you don't have a ton of your own content to give, that's ok! Link to information from outside sources, it's a great way to show that you aren't always focused on yourself, and that you're willing to share information that your patients want to see. Plus, it might help you build relationships with other professionals in the industry!
4. Look at the Negatives
Some of our most popular content has been from blog posts that have a negative twist to the title. Such as, 3 People Who Destroy Eyecare Practice Efficiency and 5 Things Patients Hate About Getting New Glasses. Think of a trendy topic. Maybe you can find information, or create your own article, that shows a different side to the story. Negative posts definitely get people talking!
5. Use Humor
Just because you're an eyecare practice doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your patients. People like doing business with people they trust and can relate too, so don't shy away from fun! Some of the ways we have a little fun with our followers is by posting funny animal photos on Fridays, or by re-creating popular memes.
6. Have More Than One Social Media Contributor
Don't have just one person at your practice manage all of your social media. What's interesting to one person might not be interesting to another. Having a couple of different office personalities posting to your social media pages will help appeal to a broader audience. But remember to have some guidelines so that your postings stay on brand with your practice!
7. Speak the Language of Your Audience
You're an eyecare practice, so a lot of the knowledge and information you have can sound pretty technical to your everyday patients. And if you're posting all kinda of technical or medical terminology on social media, there is a good chance your followers are going to get bored. Remember who you're talking to and speak to them!
8. Be Interactive
One of the easiest ways to create interaction on your own page is to be interactive with others! Get familiar with your followers. There will probably be a good handful that are the most interactive with you - treat them well!
9. Ask Questions
This is one of the easiest ways to get feedback through your social media - ask for it! At the beginning of the year we published a survey asking our followers to determine what kind of content they wanted to see on our blog (social media tips and advice was one of the most popular topics)!
As we said before, most people are following you on social media in order to get information from you. How-to's are a great way to build credibility with your audience and there are a variety of ways to present this kind of information. Remember tip #1? Try uploading a how-to video to incorporate more visual content!
So now that you have all these great social media ideas fresh in your mind, put them to use! Want more social media for optometrists tips and advice? Check us out on Twitter!
About a month ago, we posted a question on the VisionWeb Facebook Page asking which optometry practices and optical dispensaries have unique Facebook pages that deserve some recognition. We were excited to see all of the great responses and couldn't wait to check them out.
We know all too well that maintaining a Facebook page is hard work, so we were impressed when we saw all of the great things the recommended pages were doing to stand out! So what makes these pages so great? Is there actually a cookie-cutter version of what an OD page should look like?
The simple answer is No! Each page should offer its Facebook fans a unique value. And that's what these pages do! Some are really interactive, some make it easy to schedule appointments, and some offer unique content. But there is one common denominator: they all focus on creating a good experience for the people that "Like" their pages. In other words, they don't make it all about themselves.
Check out what makes each of these OD Facebook pages a hit!
Reviews and Appointments
Social media and Facebook have come a long way since they started, and there are countless applications and tabs that can be integrated into your Facebook page! Having an appointments tab on an eyecare practice Facebook page is a great place to start; this gives new and existing patients an easy and prompt way to schedule an appointment on the spot!
A few of the OD’s that do it best include Johnson Optometric Associates, Prairie Eye Clinic, Vision Source - Aldine, and Complete Eye Care. These practices are utilizing an application through Demand Force, allowing them to offer an easy way to get an appointment scheduled early!
Allowing reviews to be seen on your page through an integrated tab is also a way to stand out to future patients. People want to hear about other people's experiences, and a lot of the times that is what gets customers in your door – word of mouth! I’m not exactly sure what Johnson Optometric Associates and Complete Eye Care are doing, but they’ve both had 10 reviews just in the past week!
As we just said, reviews are key to bringing in new patients! And although Yelp and review tabs can do the job, having video testimonials is an advantage. These videos don’t have to be anything special or professional, so I wouldn’t recommend hiring a videographer if that’s not in your budget. A cell phone camera or small digital camera will do just the job; it’s all about the personalization!
Associated Eye Care has several video testimonials posted on their page, which I’m sure have enticed many customers to schedule their first consultation! Theirs may be a little fancy, but no reason to be intimidated. Every practice should have their own flavor!
Blogging is a great way to share content that may be hard to type in as a status on Facebook! Having a blog also establishes credibility for your practice and allows your patients and customers look up to you as a thought leader.
Dr. Beach from Clearview Eyecare recently said “Go Play Outside!” Children who spend a “high” amount of time outdoors are up to 50% less likely to develop nearsightedness overtime! The fact that these guys use a blog to provide useful information to their patients establishes a sense of care instead of just a sale.
The Vision Therapy Center also has a blog that links to their main website, in which they keep up to date weekly. Great information, and let me tell you their Facebook page isn’t bad to look at either – their featured videos tab is creative and informative – just what people like to see on Facebook!
Newsletters and Applications
Newsletters are a great way to point your patients to the latest information from your eyecare practice. Apps can create a custom experience for your patients that will really make your business stand out.
Broad View Eye Center and Midwest City Vision Source both provide a tab for their individual newsletters. Their newsletters also contain a link that allows patients to order contacts online – that’s what’s so great about a newsletter – it can have just about any and every kind of information in it. Links to your locations, to purchase contacts online, links to your blog, whatever you think will be of value to your patients!
Broad View Eye Center also has an iPhone/iPad application available to their customers, which allows customers, just as a newsletter, access to tons of information in one location, except this time on their smart phone! This application has “like” us on Facebook tab, promotion and events tab, and many more!
When a customer visits your page, they come to see you, your brand, and nothing else. They want to see what your practice is about, your mission, and who you really are! And lots of interaction helps!
Mann Eye Institute does a great job holding their customers’ attention on their posts and responds to what they are saying; listening is very important. They also have a great cover photo that stands out, and that’s what is seen the most!
Eyecare Associates, Inc. and Doctor’s Vision Center also are branded well and provide information in their profile that directly state their mission – these practice’s really know who they are and that shows! The two also use social media management tools to stay on top of their social media game, allowing them to schedule a majority of their major key posts!
Eye Consultants of Texas is one of our personal favorites, because they share posts of all styles – valuable content, attractive pictures of frames, and photos of their team! They really know how to share their personality and what their fans like to interact with!
Outer Vision NYC posts many pictures of their patients after they are in their new frames, which shows how well they interact with the current patients in their practice! Cincinnati Eye Institute has posted countless albums of service events they’ve attended, because giving back is their thing! And Ann’s Eyewear Boutique loves the latest styles, so they’ve made their page very trendy and up-to-date with Instagram posts of frames as well as a very interactive Pinvolve application!
Facebook pages, and social media in eyecare in general, are meant to reach out to the people you are targeting and provide them with valuable and interactive information. We mean it when we say that these ODs have it down! There is no set guideline for creating a Facebook page for an eyecare practice the "right" way. But when you show your patients what your practice really represents by giving them content that is beneficial to them, that's when you know you've created the "right" Facebook page!
A lot has changed since we dove into the Social Media pond! Sure, Facebook rolled out timeline, and Twitter now has sponsored tweets, but the changes we’re talking about are in our understanding of social media. And the truth is that we made a few mistakes along the way…
Now, we are very proud of our work, so don’t judge too much as we reveal our mistakes what we’ve learned about social media. We hope that this will help you, and we hope that you’ll share your own learning with us! Let’s look at two big lessons that we’ve learned:
Lesson #1 – There are Rules for Running Facebook Promotions & Contests
This is a BIG one. It’s big because it’s usually an innocent mistake, it’s probably one of the most common mistakes businesses are making on Facebook, but it can have massive consequences. Not following the rules can get you in hot water with Facebook – they can even delete your company page if they want to. Here’s an example of how these rules are often broken:
You’re a business and you just got your Facebook page set up and ready, but now you need to get Facebook Likes. You’re creative and fun, so you decide to hold a drawing for some fabulous prize for everyone that likes your page in the next 30 days. You make signs and put them in your business and you’re off. It’s a great success! You add 100 new Likes in just a few weeks.
Now that you’ve got a handsome number of Likes on your page, you want to get your customers to start interacting. It hits you – you’ll run a contest! You’ll have your customers submit photos of themselves in the glasses they purchased from you and the one with the most Likes at the end of the week wins a prize! You get 30 submissions and tons of new activity on the page.
Sounds genius, right? It did to us too, until we found out it could get you in trouble with Facebook. Not police knocking down your door, but it could get your page deleted! According to the Facebook Promotion Guidelines, this example company was within the Facebook contest rules when recruiting “Likes” using in-store signage, but they broke them when they went beyond the Likes and asked people to participate in the contest. (whoops!)
The main lesson here is that while it’s easy to get promotions up and running on Facebook, there are rules. And you want to check them out before you promote through the service. It would be awful to put all that hard work into building you page, only to find out that you inadvertently broke a rule and got your page deleted.
Lesson #2 – Your Blog May Be Competing with Your Website SEO
Yep, you read that right. If your blog isn’t hosted either as an extension of your existing website or as a subdomain (like http://blog.visionweb.com), you’re competing with your existing website for Search Engine Optimization rankings.
This one blind-sided us. But it makes sense now that we understand it a little more. Essentially, setting up your blog on Tumblr or Blogspot, even when you use a vanity URL that is close to your company’s URL (for example, our first blog URL was www.visionwebblog.com), creates an entirely separate site. So the work you do there to post articles and include keywords in hopes of boosting your site ranking aren’t doing anything for your main site.
Avoid this by working with your IT people to establish a subdomain of your website and host your blog there. Then it will all work together in SEO harmony!
What have you learned since embarking on your social media strategy? Is there anything that has surprised you? Anything that you thought worked one way, so you spent a lot of time doing something in what you thought was the right way, only to discover you were totally wrong? If so, you’re in good hands; stay in touch with us! We'll answer any questions you have - just Facebook us!
Facebook. That magical social media site that changed our lives forever. You know it and you love it. And if you’re the smart marketer that we know you are, you’ve even gone ahead and set up your own business page. Heck, you’ve even embraced timeline and have the best cover photo the world has seen.
But wait a minute….now you need Facebook likes. Not just likes, lots of likes…..
And yes, you should care. Otherwise you’re throwing away all the hard work you put in to building your super-awesome page by annoying people. It’s not a good practice to “do whatever it takes” just to collect a bunch of Facebook likes. That’s not only obnoxious, but it muddles up your valuable social media marketing tool with people that have no interest in you or your business. Think quality, not quantity. Got it? Got it.
Now, let us introduce you to a website that knows a thing or two about getting Facebook likes, TheOatmeal.com. (Seriously, they have over 560K on their page). It’s nothing short of hilarious, but that’s not all. It’s got a ton of comics that shine a spotlight on social nuances that make you laugh and say, “Oh it’s funny because it’s sooooo true”. That’s precisely what we were saying when we read their latest comic on How to Get More Likes on Facebook.
Our advice? Don’t request any new Facebook likes until you read the comic! You’ll be giggling at the don’ts and you’ll learn something from the dos. (We certainly did.)
We don’t want to give it all away, but the point that TheOatmeal.com is making is that to get more Facebook likes, you need to “make things that are Likeable”. Sounds over-simplified, but it’s true. The point of social media marketing is to engage your audience and give them something interesting that makes them have a positive experience with your eyecare practice. It doesn’t have to be all “marketing strategy” in the traditional sense. When businesses approach it too seriously, they take the fun out of social media. And nobody likes that.