Do you use social media? You may be familiar with Facebook for personal purposes, but have you considered how this and other channels could be used for your ophthalmic practice? There are many benefits to your practice, your staff and your patients when your practice uses social media.
We’re big advocates of using social media to reach people, being established on Twitter and LinkedIn ourselves, and it has opened up the world of eye health and healthcare for us. We are able to reach people worldwide to share news about conditions like glaucoma and AMD, take part in international events at a click of a button and network quickly and easily.
Why should opticians and optometrists use social media?
Raising awareness of conditions
Patient education is something we champion, as this is the best way to improve screening rates and save sight in most situations. You can raise awareness of conditions and specific campaigns (for example, World Sight Day) via social media, so that your patients can easily learn about conditions that may affect them. Tweet about awareness days, share blog posts about conditions and offer patients ways to raise money and awareness.
Improve patient relations
Sometimes the thought of a simple eye health check or treatment can be really daunting for patients – social media can bridge that gap and show that you are approachable and knowledgeable to your patients. Share images from everyday life at your practice and introduce your followers to your staff.
You can also share details of open days, promotions and achievements via social media to bring new and returning patients to your practice.
For competitor and market research
Are your competitors and partners on social media? Do a quick search! Social media allows you to quickly keep tabs on their offering, to benchmark your progress or gain valuable patient feedback. You can also use social media to keep tabs on new products in the eye care market – like screening devices, spectacle ranges and consumables.
Stay informed about industry events
Professional development keeps any practice at the cutting edge, and social media can help you access information in the form of blog posts, new papers, research news and upcoming conferences.
Finding the best staff can be made easier using social media – either to headhunt candidates or to post job adverts for people to find. In some cases, especially for support staff, it can be more cost effective than bigger recruitment campaigns.
Social media: 3 golden rules
- Be polite, friendly and professional – you don’t have to sound too corporate on social media but remember to keep things professional! Try not to be overly critical or negative, and of course don’t use bad language!
- Try to use photos as much as possible – particularly important when sharing news about your practice. Photographs receive much more attention on social media and really show your followers who you are
- Don’t use too many networks – you don’t need to, and won’t have time to, use every network so stick to a few. Twitter and LinkedIn work well in eye health, and Facebook is good for small, local practices.
Who should you follow?
There is a whole world of eye care professionals on social media, here are our favourite tweeters:
Do tweet us or leave a comment on LinkedIn to tell us how you use social media, and what benefits it brings your practice.