The eye care industry is experiencing rapid financialization as older practitioners retire and sell their practices and patients to the highest bidders. This is especially apparent in the state of New Jersey. You only have to look at public review trends of these organizations to understand that this consolidated corporate approach to eye care and treatment is not benefitting our patients.
We all understand that being a doctor is more than extracting profit at every opportunity. It’s about building deep and meaningful relationships. In an era of expanding choice, it’s more important than ever to stay at the forefront of your patient’s minds. In this edition of Foresight, we want to share some tips on how you can deepen your patient relationships and keep them thinking about you even when they aren’t planning a visit.
It’s 2020 and no secret that you need a social media page to connect with patients. There are a lot of options, but for our shared patient demographics, Facebook is the clear winner. Facebook is ideal because the primary demographic of patients we serve use it frequently. If you don’t have a Facebook page for your practice setting one up is relatively simple, click here to learn more.
Having a Facebook page isn’t enough, you need to be engaging with your patients. It’s a practice that’s easier said than done, which is why we’re going to share some exclusive tips from social media professionals with you.
Plan: There’s no need to be logging into Facebook every day to post new content. The eyecare industry isn’t at the forefront of people’s minds, where information needs to be posted immediately. Social media management platforms like Hootsuite allow you to plan up to a month’s worth of posts for free. Alternatively, you can choose a paid plan and schedule unlimited posts - it really depends on how you like to work. Paid plans will also allow you to plan out the content in Excel and then upload it as a .csv file, making the process much more efficient if you practice bulk scheduling.
Content: Content generation can be tricky, you want your posts to be relevant, eye-catching, and quick to digest. Do not make your social media page a constant advertisement. That’s boring and will not engage your patient base. Think of your standard social media posts more as an investment in mindshare than a direct business driver. Many eye care professionals are passionate about their craft, if you read any new journals or articles, take a moment to write a 1-3 sentence summary, a 1-2 sentence comment, and share the article. Don’t forget to include posts for the various holidays your patients might celebrate!
Frequency: The amount of posts you make is up to you. Some businesses will recommend multiple posts a day, but it really depends on industries. We would recommend no less than two but probably no more than 12 each business week. Of course, it’s up to you to find out what works for your specific practice. Times of the day also vary depending on your clientele, but a good rule of thumb is lunchtime and after work.
Reach: It’s essential to understand what Facebook is and is not in 2020. Facebook is not a cheap way to reach your clientele. It is a walled garden that attempts to charge you at every turn for services that may not produce your desired results. The average Facebook post is displayed to only 6% of your followers. Even if you pay for more followers, your unpaid posts will only ever reach around that amount.
For this reason, we don’t recommend paying for followers. Instead, focus on getting your patients to “Like” your page when they’re in the office (have your reception team make the ask). Organic followers who are genuinely connected to you will be better participants than any followers acquired by paying.
If you want to run a sale/special, do so through targeted advertising. Targeted ads on Facebook are independent of your page’s likes. You can reach particular audiences and set your budget to what you want. The performance of your promotion can vary, and it’s something that you’ll need to track. But if done right, Facebook can be a useful marketing tool.
If you have any questions about the material provided here, you can always contact your Cohen Eye Institute liaison, Ron Rivers. Cohen Eye Institute's referring partners will always have access to high-quality information to improve your practice and skill!