100% Optical

On stage at 100% Optical: social media essentials

Ian Davies, managing director of IansEyes Ltd, highlights the important considerations for using social media as a practice

Ian Davies
From clinical decision making to new materials and social media, 100% Optical 2022 will see a programme of more than 130 engaging education sessions on topics from across optics. Ahead of the event, OT’s Q&A series highlights the key themes from just a few of the sessions that will take place during the show. The full series, along with further 100% Optical articles can be found here.

Could you summarise what the focus of your session will be at 100% Optical?

Ian Davies
Ian Davies
It is planned to be a very practical and pragmatic review of social media in the context of vision care. I’m going to be questioning whether an optical practice should bother with social media, and then if they do, how they can make it effective for the business and their patient base. I’m going to present data on the use of social media as a function of the likelihood of needing vision correction. I’ll also show some analysis of optical practices that have social media accounts and compare these with other successful businesses.

What are some of the key messages you wish to highlight around the use of social media in optical practices?

I want people to think carefully about the potential of social media before embarking on opening accounts. If they have a social media account already, then I’m going to be providing a tool box on how to measure the effectiveness of this communication channel and a process for its day-to-day management. People need to understand that having an inactive, unmonitored account is worse than having no social media presence at all. It is also important to understand that different platforms do different things.

What is your view on the role social media could play for practices in the future?

Well-run social media accounts provide a passive narrative about the practice which is continually updated. Unlike direct email activity, which can be deleted before being opened, and a website, which may be slow to add new content to, social media gives an immediacy to the messages that the practice wants to broadcast. Social media also gives the practice an opportunity to build relationships with the local community as well as promote the opinions of professional staff within the vision care community.

Why is your topic so important for optometrists?

Social media is a double-edged sword. While it provides multiple opportunities for promotion, it also opens the practice, and the practitioners, to third party scrutiny. The recent disciplinary action against a registrant for posting inappropriate social media content should be a warning to all optometrists. Whether they wish to personally engage in the channel or not, they need to be aware of the opportunities and pitfalls inherent in it. 

What do you hope the top takeaway will be for attendees?

Social media provides opportunities to promote eye care, but like all communication channels, it requires management and planning.