If you’re looking to increase your customer satisfaction while reaching new prospects, look no further than Facebook. The site you’re most likely using personally brings businesses a tremendous potential for growth, as Facebook is one of the top online options for raising awareness.
On average, about half of optometrists are using Facebook for their practices; some, though, are not seeing the performance they’d hoped to reach. The key to a successful Facebook page lies in how the page is being used, and optometrists who are incorporating some basic techniques and best practices are achieving results beyond their expectations.
Seeing Facebook as a Marketing Tool
Facebook started in 2004 to help collegians connect with classmates, but has grown into a widely popular online tool with more than 1.65 billion members who are logging in to find childhood friends, current co-workers, and keep in touch with their favorite people and businesses. In fact, more than one billion users log in daily, for an average of about 20 minutes.
The site has evolved as a marketing tool since it began. As options grew from groups to pages for celebrities, bands, and businesses, an increasing number of companies, including optometrists, have found great success by incorporating the social media networking site into their marketing plans. On average, Americans check their social media accounts at least 17 times a day, and Facebook is the leading site. At least five new Facebook profiles are created each second.
10 Tips to Stand Out on Facebook
1: Dedicate Time to Managing Your Page: While constant page managing may seem overwhelming, it is a vital part of growing a successful Facebook marketing plan. In an age of easily accessible information, most Facebook users expect regular updates and responses. This doesn’t mean you need to live your life attached to your device, but you should plan time ahead to type and schedule automatic posts, as well as to respond to messages sent to you by followers.
2: Back to Basics: Once you’ve created your optometry practice’s Facebook page, start at the beginning. Make sure you fill out your business information, including your hours, address, phone number, and website. This is important for several reasons:
- The more places you put your information online, the wider the net you’ll cast. There will be more opportunities for people to find you, and you’ll increase your reach.
- Many people now tend to use Facebook as a search engine, and can be frustrated when they aren’t able to find the information they need.
- When you advertise on Facebook, you’ll attract new followers who may be learning about your practice for the first time. Including your information will help them become customers.
3: Facebook is Not Your Website: Social media or social networking sites are precisely about that — networking. Unlike your website, where the content you publish is there for visitors to read, Facebook is a location for you to meet and form relationships with new followers. These individuals may be current customers, or people searching for a new optometrist. As people like your page, their friends and contacts will also be exposed to your Facebook page, and your exposure will increase. It’s also a good idea to ask current followers to share your page with their connections.
Some practices have held contests to help increase their reach by offering a prize to individuals who have liked or shared the page in a specific time period. The names are entered into a drawing and the winner might receive a new pair of sunglasses, a gift certificate toward their next purchase, or a free eye exam.
4: Add Apps: On a regular basis, companies and groups are developing new applications and tabs that practices can add to their Facebook pages. Many optometrists have found that adding an appointment scheduling app has made a significant difference in their practice. Not only are these practices able to provide customers with a positive experience with an easy-to-use tool, they have also found greater efficiency in their office.
5: Get Your Followers Talking: Facebook is all about increasing engagement. It’s important to find the type of posts that gets a response from your practice’s followers. Whether you pose questions, post surveys, or share local events and details, your goal should be to generate conversation. As followers comment, they will become more invested in the chat, and will feel more connected to your business, building brand loyalty among participants and promoting your brand to friends of your followers.
6: Paint a Picture: Take your followers behind the scenes. Show them the ins and outs of your practice: explain certain procedures, talk about what pieces of equipment do, show off your staff, and feature your partners and colleagues in the area. Followers want to feel like they are getting inside information. Some of the leading posts are those that reach a follower’s emotions, like compelling testimonials from customers or stories of your practice’s community involvement, that give an outside look at your optometry practice.
7: Pictures are Worth More than Words: Studies show that people who hear a piece of information usually only remember about 10 percent of that information three days later. When that information is joined with an image, though, people tend to remember 65 percent of the information three days later. Images and infographics are the most shared posts on Facebook, and typically see a higher reach than text-only posts. Think about how your optometry practice can incorporate graphics: stats about the importance of sunglasses, funny eye-related memes, the best foods for improving your vision, or other little-known facts.
8:Post When Your Fans Are Online: Studies have shown that there are ideal times to post on any social media network. Facebook users are typically logging on and checking their accounts throughout the day, on any web-enabled device, with the highest use between noon and 1 p.m. on the weekends, between 3 and 4 p.m. Wednesdays, and between 1 and 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and any day at 9 a.m. Start to watch the times your posts are getting the most likes and shares, and plan your posts accordingly.
9:Just Press Play: Facebook Live offers a new dimension for optometrists looking to reach new audiences. This option allows you to live-stream a major announcement, an event, or even an interview or strategy session. Post several times leading up to your broadcast to let followers know you’ll be uploading a live-stream video, and engage with your visitors and viewers throughout the broadcast.
10:All About Your Analytics: Study the analytics and reports that Facebook offers. You’ll learn more about what your followers want to read, where they are learning about your page, and the posts. You can follow similar practices to learn more about their numbers, get more information about your demographics, and track the reach of specific posts.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook offers a highly customizable advertising platform that allows you to increase your reach for only a few dollars. An ad on Facebook only takes a few minutes to schedule, and offers an in-depth demographics tool to help you target your ideal audience.
Your ad can be based on your business goals for your page, from sending more people to your store, clicking to your Website, installing your app, increasing registration or appointments, or building a larger base. Facebook’s ad scheduling tool allows you to select from several categories to reach your prospects, including:
- Age, gender, and other demographics
- Activities, hobbies, and other interests
- Spending habits
Pick your most impactful photos, clear, concise text, and designate the amount of money you’re willing to spend on your ad. Once it’s been published, you can see the details about the ad’s performance, and Facebook offers additional tools to tweak and enhance your ad.
Another option is to boost a post. Rather than creating an ad, you can take a high-performing post and extend its reach. Boosting a post will place the post in the news feed of followers who may have missed it the first time, and also extends to the friends of your followers, and new customers, based on their location, age, gender, interests, and more. Your reach is determined by your budget, which you can adjust throughout the campaign as needed.
As you grow your optometry practice, it’s beneficial to partner with digital marketing professionals with experience in working with ophthalmic offices. Beyond this, most ophthalmic professionals simply don’t have the amount of time needed to dedicate to effective social media marketing. In fact, without a marketing team, it is impossible to truly utilize social media to its full, business-growing potential. At Solutions 8, we have a history of helping medical practitioners—including ophthalmic professionals—increase visibility and boost business with social media. Let us help you; contact us today.