Practice Management: Social Media Patient Engagement

Ian Davies, MCOptom, DLCP, FAAO shares specific ways to use social media to boost your optometry practice.

Ian Davies, MCOptom, DCLP, FAAO: The key thing is that social media, traditionally we think of it as being a numbers game. We want to have as many people following us as we possibly can. Well, that’s fine if you’re building your own brand and you want your own individual brand to be a global brand. But within optometric practice, what you’re looking for is actually to build in the business. Therefore, the scope of people that you need to interact with is going to depend on your target audience. Do you want to retain your existing patients? Do you want to grow new patients or do you want to increase the value per patient, as fundamentally all the businesses around. And so with that as a framework, what you can do with your social media plan is to use each individual platform. Each platform does something very, very different, but use each platform to achieve one of those specific goals. Twitter is a broadcast platform. It’s a short way of getting information out to about your practice, about business, about what’s going on. It’s limited in terms of the characters that you can put up.

Facebook, on the other hand, is about building a community. It’s about building a virtual community. It’s much more about people. It’s much more about your staff, what your staff has been up to. It’s asking people to come to engage with each individual. Instagram is really interesting. Think about the spectacle lens business. What a beautiful platform to actually promote the spectacle lenses that you actually have if you’re selling. The one that I think is probably the most underutilized in optometric practice is actually YouTube. People don’t traditionally think of YouTube as a social media platform. In fact, it’s the second most used platform, but if you are promoting your business, then what better way to set up your own YouTube channel so you can explain to your patients, for example, have the contact lens [inaudible] arise and demonstrate new equipment. I think there’s a huge potential there, and of course, taking videos now is so easy.

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