Word of mouth. It’s always been the most effective ways for eye care professionals to raise awareness about their practice. The difference now is that, instead of chatting it up at the water cooler, they online chat through social media.
Social media is the most often mentioned marketing channel for businesses to reach customers and build brands. The demographics support it. Millennials and Generation Z (42% of the US population) grew up on social media and are making decisions based on what is on their smartphones. And it’s not only these two groups. Among all generations, the majority of us use social media at least once a day.
No matter which groups you are targeting for your practice, social media is a key channel to connect with them. When it comes to health information, the internet is the most frequently used source by patients. And many eye care professionals have followed the conversation. Researchers analyzed eye care posts on Instagram and found that ophthalmologists (36%) authored the highest number of posts, followed by patients (27%), optometrists (20%), and organizations (13%).
Innovations in Social Media: Harnessing the Power of the Medium
Dagny Zhu, MD, none of the researchers on “Ophthalmology and Social Media: An In-Depth Investigation of Ophthalmologic Content on Instagram” discusses with Paul Singh, MD how eye care professionals can use social media to build their practice.
In addition to being included in the online conversation, there are many other reasons to make social media a cornerstone to your practice marketing:
- Increase Awareness of Eye Health: Social media platforms’ billions of active users form a powerful tool for spreading information about eye health, including educational content about the importance of regular eye exams, common eye conditions, and prevention tips. This information can help followers identify symptoms and seek out professional help, leading to more patients to you.
- Build Trust with Patients: By sharing relevant and informative content, position yourself as an expert in the field and establish a sense of trust to build a long-term patient-practitioner relationship. Patients may feel more comfortable seeking out your services.
- Promote Services: By sharing photos and videos of their state-of-the-art equipment, modern office spaces, and cutting-edge procedures, showcase your expertise and attract new patients. For instance, use social media to promote your dry eye services and offer tips to help followers manage symptoms. (Feel free to link to Bruder’s informative pages on the stages of dry eye disease and dry eye treatment.)
- Engage with Patients: By responding to comments, messages, and reviews, demonstrate your commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. Answer common questions on social media, offer advice and support, and show empathy to patients with various eye conditions.
- Collaboration with Other Eye Care Professionals: For instance, you can share best practices, collaborate on community outreach projects, and offer referrals. This can create a network of professionals that work together to improve patient outcomes.
Many of you have a social media presence, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other avenues. How often are you capitalizing on it? Social media can be a powerful tool to build business, educate patients and promote services while elevating their brand and expanding their reach. Even more so, when your followers show off your company in their own post!