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Optometric Strategies For Success library

Adding Social Media to Your Marketing Mix

by Alex Lukins | 01/06/2015 | Practice Management & Marketing , Eye Care

Alex Lukens, O.D. of Eyewise Optometry in Alameda, California, has successfully incorporated social media into his practice marketing program. We recently spoke with Dr. Lukens to learn his approach to social media strategy.

Q: What role does social media play in your optometry practice?

A: Social media is an important part of our overall marketing program. I see it as a way to enhance contact with existing patients and keep our services visible to them, as opposed to driving in new patients. I like to encourage patients to think about their vision and  its significance in their lives, and social media provides an ideal platform for that. I post information that I find personally interesting and strive to create a balance between education and product or office information. But I submit no more than a few posts per month to ensure they are minimally intrusive on my patients? normal Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Q: What tools do you use in your social media program?

A: One of the biggest fears about jumping into social media is the amount of time it can take to monitor these programs, but now there are tools that help make participation far more efficient for businesses. I have software that links my Facebook posts to Twitter so I don?t have to double post. I also use a social media aggregator called Postano (www.postano.com), which allows me to create a single page for posting to all my social media outlets. Other tools go even further. For example, DemandForce (www.demandforce.com) routinely sends email appointment reminders, payment acknowledgments, and such, which can save a huge amount of staff time. The program can automatically send surveys as a follow-up to patient visits, aggregate the subsequent reviews, and post them on your Facebook page. Programs like this can really help small businesses manage the social media aspect of their marketing program and create a significant presence online.

Q: What would you recommend as an effective social media strategy for practices?

A: Before branching into social media, practices should first have a good general marketing strategy that includes advertising, email communications and onsite promotions. Spend some time looking at what other practices are doing with social media ? not just optometry practices, but other disciplines as well. Plan in advance the frequency, amount and type of information you want to post, and make sure your messages are consistent with the overall message of the office. Start simply, with a website blog and a Facebook page, and regularly post information you feel is relevant to your patients. And by all means, incorporate some of the sophisticated tools available to help manage your patient outreach program.

Q: What role do you see social media playing going forward?

A: I see social media growing within optometry as practitioners become increasingly comfortable with this new platform. Social media goes hand-inhand with other digital technologies we?re already using such as email communications, mobile marketing and website advertising. But I still want my staff talking with patients. I don?t see social media replacing appointment confirmations or notifications that products are ready for pick up. Social media will evolve as an enhancement rather than a replacement for more traditional interactions ? a way to support the face-to-face and printed communications I?m already having with my patients.

Alex Lukins
Alex Lukens, O.D., has been in private practice since graduating from the U.C. Berkeley, School of Optometry in 2005. He opened Eyewise Optometry in 2009. In addition, he was an Assistant Clinical Professor at the U.C. Berkeley, School of Optometry between 2008 and 2012. Dr. Lukens can be reached at 510-748-9749 or drlukens@eyewiseoptometry.com.

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