By Danielle Richardson, OD
July 22, 2020
Your practice brand is built on the experience you provide patients in your office, but the perception patients have of your practice begins before they arrive at your door. Posts to your practice’s social media accounts let patients know what to expect in your office, and the values of your doctors and staff.
Here is how the practice where I work, Zak., in Los Angeles, uses social media to show patients who we are, and make a case for why they should visit us for eyecare.
What Is Your Practice’s Identity & Mission
Effective marketing through social media requires fully understanding your practice’s identity.
In the case of Zak., our identity is as a provider of a 21st century approach to eye health and eyewear. We streamline what is typically a complicated process to provide a seamless medical and retail experience. Our focus: educating consumers about eye health in a comprehensive and unprecedented way while providing a new way to shop for eyewear that is easy, valuable and affordable.
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At Zak., we believe eyecare is not just a function of how clearly we see. Our mission is to educate our patients so that they value their eyes, turning the obligation of a new prescription into a new way to be well. Getting your eyes examined is often viewed as a chore — a pit stop on the way to new glasses. Zak. transforms and elevates the experience because we encourage patients to consider their eye health as a part of their overall wellness and general health.
Examples of Posts that Carry Our Branding
The posts you create on social media will differ depending on the aspects of your practice, and the message, you are trying to communicate. Here are five examples of recent Instagram posts that we shared with current and prospective patients:
• Products – https://www.instagram.com/p/B9sM1pinJXf/ – We like to showcase our line of Zak. frames in a way that captures our stylish, but not too serious, personality
• Community – https://www.instagram.com/p/B9e98rRh0Wv/ – It’s important to us to celebrate the friends of the brand who support Zak. (and look great doing so!)
• Eye Health – https://www.instagram.com/p/B_IhdF2lrFE/ – We try to provide simple, concise soundbites to make eye health easier to incorporate into patients’ daily life
• Inspiration – https://www.instagram.com/p/B-fKZtPlcOI/ – We also want to showcase the things that inspire us, whether it’s historical photos, artists, designers or other creatives
• Tear Gas – https://www.instagram.com/p/CBB9I7pBccp/ – We think vision is critical to so many topics, so in response to the protests in June, we wanted to make sure activists were taking the right steps to protect their eyes from irritants like tear gas
Who Are the Voices Behind Your Social Media Posts?
Our practice co-founder Kyly Rabin runs our social channel, and we rely on a small team of freelance marketers and photographers to help execute on our strategy. I collaborate and help with content specific to optometry and eyecare.
Our social media focus is on getting people to think about their eye health and helping them understand why it’s important to take care of your eyes. I work with co-founder Myles Zakheim, OD, with the two of us serving as the primary voices behind that content. We use the same tone in social media that we use when speaking to patients in our office.
We also want to bring our personalities into our channels and celebrate everything we do. For example, I have a strong yoga practice, so we feature my classes on social media, and have even hosted them in our office.
Here are a few posts that illustrate the approach we take to showing the voices behind the practice brand:
• Yoga for Sight – https://www.instagram.com/p/B9kaz4VB35t/ – This post includes photos of a class we hosted in our store (pre-COVID)
• Ask An Eye Doctor – https://www.instagram.com/p/B9utGZuBS4C/ – Here is an explanation of COVID-19 and Eyes
• Broader PSA tips – https://www.instagram.com/p/B_f25PlFCQK/ – We also design and produce more bite-sized graphics to make eye health more accessible
Avoiding Getting Too Technical in Posts–Keep It Relatable
What’s most important for our channels is making sure our practice is as human and accessible as possible. We avoid getting too into the technical aspects of our exams if we think it will confuse or intimidate our patients.
We want patients to think of getting an eye exam just like any other routine check-up, and we find demystifying the process to be most helpful. Rather than talking about the latest technology, we may emphasize the complementary carrot juice. We find it makes it easier for patients to relate to our store and see it as a part of their lifestyle.
Gauging the Impact of Social Media Communications
We haven’t surveyed our patients yet about our social media presence, as we’re still in the early stages of growing our following. Right now, we often rely on anecdotal feedback we hear from patients, noting to us that they found us on Instagram or Facebook, and monitor ancillary marketing metrics like web site traffic, exam appointments and online sales. We also look at what posts perform best and try to take an iterative approach to make sure we’re making content our social media audience wants.
The Power of Social Media In Our Moment in History
The impact of COVID-19 forced us to think differently about our channels. First, we had to move away from our practice for two months and relied on creating consistent, engaging content to build relationships with our patients. We also needed to rely on social media as our front line of communications – it’s just as important as our web site to make sure our patients know the latest on our availability, offerings and etiquette to maintain everyone’s safety.
Our channels were also incredibly important in the weeks after George Floyd’s death. Following riots on our block, we as a team felt strongly about speaking out on issues related to racial justice. As part of that, we shared useful explainers for protestors on how to navigate things like tear gas, and shared resources for supporting Black voices in Los Angeles. Now, we’re looking to continue to support the movement for racial equality and move the conversation to our peers and help improve diversity across the optical industry.