You can answer questions, give demonstrations and advise your audience—all online—to establish your expertise.
For your specialty contact lens service to really take off, you need your community to perceive you as the local expert. This is what will bring patients knocking on your door when they are in the market for contact lenses or have special contact lens needs. Promotional materials, ads or webpages can give information and describe what you do, but if you really want to show that you are an expert, social media is the way to go.
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media creates a relationship with your audience that engenders a deeper, more lasting impression than an ad or webpage.
The interactive nature of social media allows you to answer questions, give demonstrations, show off products and open up a discourse to advise your audience and demonstrate your expertise. In other words, you aren’t telling your audience that you’re an expert; you’re showing them.
Further, it’s more personalized, especially with video. Your audience can get to know you beyond a picture. They can hear how you sound, see your body language and develop a sense of familiarity and trust that cannot be achieved in print.
Here are some powerful ways you can use social media to engage your specialty contact lens audience.
Specialty contact lenses are something that most patients don’t know much about unless they have firsthand experience. Most aren’t aware of the therapeutic uses for contact lenses, such as using ortho-k to prevent the progression of myopia, unless a doctor suggests it to them. The same goes for scleral lenses, hybrid lenses or custom soft lenses. Many hard-to-fit patients give up on contact lenses without realizing that they have options.
You can use social media to create this awareness and provide information that will grab your audience’s attention so that they will want to learn more—from you. The formula for engaging content on social media includes short bites of text, eye-catching images and, whenever possible, video.
Also, be sure to make it dynamic. For example, one day you might link to a blog post on your website. Another day, you might ask a question to start a discussion. Post a pre-recorded video or host a Facebook Live information session. Create an infographic or post a series of facts over a few days. Use hashtags, such as #contactlenses, #contactlensspecialist or #orthok so that people who are searching for information will find you. The point of social media marketing is to capture your audience’s attention—all while building your reputation, name recognition and trust.
You can also use social media to profile products or conditions that require specialty lenses. Create a video to show a scleral lens next to a standard contact lens, and discuss which patients should consider them. Alternatively, present an ortho-k case study or display an array of lenses and discuss the conditions, such as dry eyes, keratoconus or astigmatism, for which they are most appropriate.
You may want to consider paid ads such as a Facebook Ad campaign that you can target according to location, age, gender and more. If you’re on social media networks, you can use a social media management system such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck or Social-Engage to help you schedule and track your marketing efforts.
Social media has a unique ability to help your practice build a trusted reputation and gain exposure about your contact lens specialty. It’s worthwhile for you to take the time to learn about it and incorporate it into your specialty marketing strategy.
Nancy Rausman is managing editor at EyeCarePro, which specializes in digital and traditional new patient acquisition strategies for optometry and ECPs.