Practice team guide

Social media: steps to success

How to harness the power of online communities within optical practice

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Everyone working in optical practice knows the power of word-of-mouth. Whether it is a parent who recommends the practice to their coffee group or an elderly patient who praises thoughtful service at a festive gathering, reputations are built on recommendations.

However, in the digital age practices need to consider online interactions as well as in-person conversations.

OT talks with experts about how to harness the potential of social media to foster engagement with existing patients and reach new audiences.

Making connections

Yvette Brown
Yvette Brown
Urquhart Opticians marketing and business development executive, Yvette Brown, shared with OT that social media can be a way of gaining new patients as well as engaging with a practice’s current database.

“Social media is a very powerful tool for telling the story of your practice, and to communicate with your patients and community,” she shared.

As well as reminding existing patients of the practice between appointments, social media can be used to showcase new services and products.

Social media is a very powerful tool for telling the story of your practice

Yvette Brown, Urquhart Opticians marketing and business development executive

Brown shared that a successful social media strategy is built on contributions from every member of the practice team.

For example, front of house staff might hear great feedback that can be shared on social channels, dispensing opticians could capture photographs of customers collecting new glasses while optometrists can share relevant clinical insight for social media posts.

For those starting out on social media, Brown recommends picking one platform and focusing on this.

“Think of your target market and do some research into which platform they’re most likely to be on,” she shared.

In terms of pitfalls to avoid, Brown cautions practices from posting generic content and relying too much on resharing posts.

“It’s great to support other businesses and groups, and it can be tempting to reshare good content all the time but make sure you create as much of your own content as possible,” she said.

Head of omnichannel at Hakim Group, David Barker, shared that there has been a “seismic shift” in how people and brands interact in recent years.

“An active social presence can be a key element in building authentic connections with your existing audience, reaching new people, and ultimately building advocacy for your practice,” he emphasised.

Team effort

David Barker
David Barker
Like Brown, Barker agrees that getting different members of the practice team involved in social media will help to create content that has a distinct personality.

“There are often hidden skillsets in a practice team, from writing to photography, so using those different abilities is a great way to create better social media content,” he said.

Barker highlighted that people gravitate towards social accounts that feel authentic.

“Practise getting your tone just right. Whether it’s casual and funny or formal and friendly, find a voice that can show who you are. Audiences want to see real people behind your social profiles,” he observed.

Practices should avoid focusing on quantity over quality in their social accounts.

An active social presence can be a key element in building authentic connections

David Barker

Barker shared that consistency on social media is “far more important” than volume.

“If one or two posts a week is what you can handle, just make sure you are doing that consistently, and that what you create is of the best quality possible,” he advised.

Planning and scheduling posts can help practices to maintain consistency.

Barker also emphasised the importance of listening to a practice’s audience, noting that social media is designed to be a two-way conversation.

Conversations around a practice’s products and services can provide insight into what people are looking for, which can then shape the business’ communication strategy.