Although social media may have started as a personal online venue for catching up with friends and family, in recent years it has become an increasingly beneficial resource for small business owners. A great majority of individuals and businesses are already plugged into social media to some extent, and the number is growing. This new boom in online connectivity has created one the most pervasive and popular methods of communication in the modern landscape of daily interactions.
Because of its ubiquity, ophthalmic professionals can harness the power of social media to build wise marketing strategies that combine a low cost and minimal barrier of entry with a high return on investment. For small to mid-sized clinics with a modest marketing budget, the use of social media can be a real game changer. With no more print ads or postcards, online ophthalmic practice marketing becomes an avenue that allows you to adapt your message, review your competitors, reach new patients, and remain consistently connected to your community of clients.
Although it has many proven rewards, social media does not come without its risks. In order to create a successful strategy there must be an active and concerted effort to keep your social media accounts up-to-date, and your office must maintain a certain level of responsiveness and interaction to keep your clients engaged. Without proper attention, missed opportunities to respond or reach out can encourage a sense of dissonance between client and clinic.
Social media is also a very casual platform, and professional boundaries can become blurred without proper care. Without careful control over the conversation, lines can be quickly crossed and issues such as HIPAA compliance can arise.
It takes time and effort to consistently and effectively manage your social media accounts. But many companies have successfully leveraged social media and can attest that the rewards are worth the efforts. Building a consistent rapport with your clients and remaining top-of-mind are two of the most impactful rewards of incorporating social media into your overall marketing strategy.
Social media is a great way to communicate your monthly campaigns, educate the community on the importance of eye health, distribute coupons, and run contests and campaigns that encourage interaction and sharing among your clients and prospects. It also allows you to gain valuable insight into your patients’ preferences and interests without limiting the conversation to the time they are in your clinic.
Tips for Success
Social media campaigns can be wildly successful, or they can they can quickly spiral into the unmanageable without appropriate messaging and careful monitoring. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your social media efforts:
- Research your audience and their online interests so that you can better tailor your message
- Make realistic goals for the number of fans and interactions you aim to attain
- Maintain HIPAA compliance and a professional, yet friendly demeanor
- Update your page and interact with clients consistently
- Use relevant content and light humor to keep posts interesting
- Connect with peers and industry leaders to expand your reach
- Offer regular discounts and specials to keep clients interested and connected
- Don’t over-post or exhaustively interact, but be consistent and maintain regular activity
- Hire a marketer with social media experience to help you maintain your online presence
Social media is a practical, affordable, and popular means by which to connect with patients and keep yourself top-of-mind. With a consistent plan, relevant client incentives, interesting information, and careful management of online conversations, you can reach new clients with very minimal effort. Whether you are well-versed in social media or just getting started, placing a priority on building your social media presence can help you grow your bottom line, one upvote at a time.