18 Jul 12 Social Media Tips That Increase Optometry Patient Engagement
In today’s digital world, people don’t need to watch or listen to ads on social media. Many will scroll or fast forward past them. So how do optometry offices attract and sell to new patients? To stay relevant today and engage patients, it’s critical to maintain a strong social media presence.
Everyone is on social media now. Backlinko and Semrush report that 84% of those aged 18-29, 81% of those aged 30-49, 73% of those aged 50-64, and 45% of those aged 65+ are active social media users. That means you’ve got to find ways to connect with your audience and create a message that resonates with them—one that turns them into loyal patients.
Want to help new patients discover your optometry practice and increase engagement on your social media channels? Take a look at our social media tips for eye care practices below.
1. Create a Social Media Policy and Content Calendar
Social media posting can seem like a never-ending task. Without making it a full-time job, the key to success is to have a social media policy in place and plan ahead with a social media content calendar. Think about what you’d like to communicate for the next week or next month, plan your posts, then schedule them.
Many free and low-cost social media management tools and templates are available; this article from HubSpot can get you started.
Not sure when it’s the best time to post on social media? The American Marketing Association recently analyzed social media usage and shared the best days and times to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Don’t forget that social media channels are not one-size-fits-all when it comes to image sizes, and often changes occur when you least expect them. Bookmark the Brandwatch social media image sizes guide so you are always up to date.
2. Use Patient Success Stories and Testimonials
Highlighting patient success stories and testimonials is one of the most effective ways to let your social audience know how well you serve and support your eye care patients.
Demonstrate how you exceed patient expectations or use new technology, tools, and techniques that help improve the patient experience. Showcase your best patient stories highlighting how you and your staff go above and beyond to ensure their safety and eye care.
IMPORTANT HIPAA TIP: Never use social media to discuss or post a patient’s medical issues online. Always have your patient sign a written agreement or consent form before you share a photo, testimonial, or video that includes the patient. Make sure the patient doesn’t disclose protected health information (PHI) in the testimonial or video.
3. Use Short Videos
Videos should be an essential part of your social media strategy. People are increasingly watching and responding to short, entertaining videos. The short-form video platform TikTok grew to 1 billion monthly active users by September 2021. Instagram and then Facebook responded by introducing Reels.
For instance, Hootsuite shared tips for how to grow your social media presence on Instagram with 12 Foolproof Instagram Growth Strategies for 2022. Hootsuite’s top tip is to use Instagram Reels since research shows that Instagram users spend 20% of their time watching Reels.
The exception to the short-form video trend is YouTube. The latest stats show there are 1.7 billion visitors each month and visitors spend an average of 19 minutes daily on YouTube. This article from Sprout Social provides helpful tips on how to promote your YouTube channel.
How can you include video in your social media strategy? Forbes suggests you include information, humor, and the human side of your brand. Educational content can boost your practice’s brand image and establish you as an expert in eye care.
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4. Create Colorful Infographics
Infographics help you tell a complex story in a simple way. These visuals allow patients to better understand how your practice serves their vision needs. Infographics help explain complicated vision conditions or procedures in a way that patients can easily comprehend.
People are visual creatures. Infographics draw your social media followers in and educate them in the process, providing necessary information for making informed decisions about their vision health.
Canva is an excellent tool for creating stunning infographics, flyers, posters, and other visual assets that can take your business to the next level. Choose from professionally designed templates for various social media platforms and thousands of royalty-free icons, photos, and fonts.
Include your optometry practice’s name, logo, and contact info in the infographic. When your branded infographic is shared online, you’ll get more exposure that drives potential patients back to your website or social media page.
For tips, tricks, and resources to help you create content and reach potential patients, read our blog 43 Marketing Tools That Supercharge Your Eye Care Practice.
5. Promote a Frame of the Week
Every week promote a new frame across each of your social channels. Dedicate a specific day of the week to posting happy patients (remember to get written consent) or staff sporting your newest and most stylish frames. That way your social audience sees exactly what kind of glasses they might find when they visit your optometry practice.
Use a combination of photographs, animated GIFs, and videos in your posts.
Use appropriate hashtags for each channel as well. You could use #frameoftheweek on your social media posts or come up with a few of your own hashtags related to your frame of the week post.
Even better, consider asking patients to post their photos using your hashtag. Think outside the box and get creative to engage your social followers.
6. Add Patient FAQs or How-tos
Adding an FAQ or How-to section to your social media pages helps patients find the information they need quickly and easily. Whether they want to know more about what to expect during a routine eye exam or how long the recovery period is for more involved procedures, you’ll have the answers they’re looking for.
Tailor your FAQs to the specific social media channel you’re posting. If you’re using Twitter, keep FAQs short and sweet by breaking them up into individual tweets. If you’re using Facebook, your FAQs can be more comprehensive and shared all at once.
7. Use Humor with an Eye Care Focus
Humor is one of the best ways to grow your practice because people like doing business with people they like and trust. Make your humor relatable by doing things like recreating popular memes with an eye care focus or posting optometry-related jokes. Or you could go with a funny eye care comic or cartoon.
There are dozens of examples available to you with a simple Google search. Be sure to check if you need permission to use the comic or cartoon, and always credit the original artist or creator to avoid copyright infringement.
You could even opt to create your own memes, jokes, and comics if your staff’s creative juices are flowing. Having your staff create memes for social media is also a fun team-building activity.
8. Engage with Your Followers
People want to know that they have been seen and heard more than anything else. Social media should be a two-way relationship, not just a megaphone to shout things at your patients and community.
Post content that people would want to engage with, whether it’s asking questions, running contests or promotions, or using humor. Then respond to every comment and concern. This reminds people that there is a real, live human on the other side of the screen, not just a robot, and that builds trust.
9. Promote Your Community Involvement
Talk about it on social media if your practice donates time or money to local organizations. People are increasingly looking to support companies active in the community and organizations they care about.
Remember, it’s called social media, not advertising or sales. Your job is to create and develop relationships with the people who are following you and give them a reason to support you.
10. Use a Compelling Call to Action
Posting interesting content to social media that entertains and engages your audience is an excellent way to get attention. But without a call to action (CTA), it’s almost a waste of your efforts.
Craft a CTA for every post—even the humorous content we just mentioned. Always help your audience take a specific action, whether that CTA is making an appointment through your website or calling to use a discount on contact lenses during a certain promotional time period.
By guiding your audience to perform specific actions through your social media posts, you’ll start to see increased results for engagement, appointments, and eventually revenue for your practice.
11. Use Paid Social Media Advertising
While posting on social media channels alone has tremendous benefits with the right hashtags, you’ll get more exposure by boosting your posts or creating an ad. Paid or sponsored social media posts allow potential patients beyond your audience followers to see and interact with your content.
Organic content is a great start. Combining consistent organic social media posts with paid advertising helps your practice reach more patients efficiently.
Consider setting aside a modest social media ad budget. Once you have your budget established, start advertising your most popular posts on your social media pages since you know this content performed well for you in the past.
12. Use Social Media Management Tools
Managing social media doesn’t have to be intimidating or time-consuming. You don’t have to worry about logging in at the perfect time of day, every day.
There are many social media management apps that will help you plan and schedule your posts as well as track engagement. If you’re only posting on Facebook and/or Instagram, the native Meta Business Suite can do the job well and won’t cost you anything.
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Now you have plenty of ideas for transforming your optometry social media channels into engaging communities. Over time you’ll see patient engagement and revenue increase, effectively growing your practice through quality content that resonates with your audience.