Opticians are the world’s experts in helping people to look after their sight – one of our most precious commodities. But, in a market so saturated with chain optometry services and brands, how can small opticians get seen by customers?
The answer? Social media.
Whilst you might be wondering how a sector that has little to do with viral videos and online trends can benefit from using social media, this is in fact one of the most powerful tools for independent opticians looking to increase their customer base and grow their business in 2018.
From Facebook to Instagram, an effective social media presence is essential for every optician – and the smaller your budget, the more vital, in fact, these platforms are. With relatively little investment and the right insight, you can use social media marketing to make your independent opticians more successful than ever.
Social media for opticians – what benefits can you expect?
So why is social media for opticians so important? Small opticians face various unique challenges, meaning that they have to go above and beyond to draw in new customers and retain their service. Pitted against large chains, independent opticians must maximise all of the resources at their disposal to encourage repeat visits and gain exposure to new customers.
In a technologically-dominated age, social media marketing for opticians can be one of the most powerful tools at your disposal – but only if you get it right.
If you’re an optician wanting to encourage more young people to get their eyes and sight tested more frequently, a presence on social media is a must. Social media is often the first port of call for the millennial generation as they seek out recommendations and information. If they see an optician has a 5 star rating on Facebook, they are far more likely to make an appointment with you, as opposed to a competitor who has a limited digital presence.
One of the real bonuses of social media for opticians is that it is incredibly cost-effective when compared to traditional marketing strategies. Whilst a newspaper advertisement is costly and has only a limited reach, social media is prolific – it is a central part of people’s daily lives. Its most powerful aspect though, is the targeting potential. When done right, social media marketing can not only reach huge volumes of people, but the right people who are actively seeking out opticians.
Social media also offers smaller opticians the chance to really connect with their customers, and articulate – in their own words – how their tailored, bespoke services make them different to cookie-cutter chain alternatives.
However, all of this can only be achieved with expert social media management. As with any business, it is not just a case of creating a business profile and watching the returns role in; real success with social media takes planning, effort and creativity. So here are a few opticians marketing ideas to get you started.
Connecting with customers
When you first set out to establish your social media presence as an opticians, it’s important to develop a specific tone of voice and brand that you can maintain. Think about who is in your primary target audience, and think about how best to address them in order to maximise engagement online. It is essential to be consistent when using social media for opticians, and this doesn’t just mean posting regularly (although that is vital!) it also means creating a brand identity that customers can recognise.
Once you have set up your social media business accounts, you can get started on using your platform to connect with customers. There are countless ways of doing this, from sharing exciting company news to posting polls about services and responding to customer enquiries. Try to encourage customers to interact with your page as much as possible – for example, include a social media business card with all of your frames and contact lenses, encouraging customers to take a ‘selfie’ in their new glasses and tag you on their page. You can then share their pictures using a specific hashtag, and increase your exposure to all of their online connections.
Something as simple as sharing an interesting fact or statistic is a great way to pique the interest of followers and get them talking. For example, Bill Opticians, an optometry business based in Devon, shared a post on their Facebook page saying, “#didyouknow it’s estimated that 1 in 5 children have an undetected problem with their vision!” and linking to their children’s eye screening tests service. Even with a relatively small follower base, the post gained a share – and even one share can draw in several new customers.
Offers and promotions
One of the top reasons why people follow business’ Instagram, Facebook or Twitter accounts these days is to gain access to a range of offers and promotions. Companies will often use their business social media profiles to advertise special offers, and customers will often ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your page with this as their primary motivation.
Harness this expectation by creating an introductory competition when you first set up your social media accounts. Ask visitors to your page to ‘like’ or ‘follow’, tag a friend who might be interested in your services in the comments, and share the post in order to gain a prize, such as a free eye test and discount on a pair of glasses. This is a fantastic way to grow your initial follower base in a short period of time.
You can also use your social media pages to advertise offers and deals that you run throughout the year. If you’re offering discounts on kids’ eye tests, or are taking NHS health vouchers, for example, make sure your followers know! Offering unique discount codes through platforms such as Instagram and Facebook is a great way of turning online interactions into conversions. Through doing this, you will also gain an idea of how many people are visiting you in-store from your business pages.
People using social media don’t always want to read copious amounts of text, and many can quickly identify overly commercial content on their feeds. To ensure you capture the attention of your followers, and gain new ones through social shares, introduce interactive content to your pages. This could be a behind-the-scenes video showing a day in the life of an optometrist, or it could be a link to a virtual glasses try-on page on your website. Even creating and sharing an informative and visually-appealing infographic is likely to stop followers scrolling and get all eyes on your page.
However, it’s important to do your research. Specsavers recently featured several video posts on their Facebook, featuring ‘celebrity photographer Jason Shutter’, a photographer with poor eyesight who blunders through his career unable to see what he’s taking photos of. For those followers who watch the whole video, it’s obvious that this is a satirical video – but there’s the key – not everyone engages thoroughly with content.
In this case, one commenter below pointed out that DSLR cameras, in fact, have their own adjustment settings, allowing those with poor vision to see through the viewfinder as though they were wearing glasses. The comment has several ‘likes’, and while far outweighed by positive reactions to the post, it does show how misunderstandings can be easily picked up on and amplified on social media if you don’t research your content thoroughly.
Sharing positive reviews
Reviews are the lifeblood of any small business, and opticians are no different. However, you are no longer restricted to on-site testimonials and word of mouth to get existing customers to shout about the positive experiences they had with you, you can now display reviews on social media to spread the word even further.
Even larger chain opticians do this regularly. For example, Optical Express recently shared a review from Trustpilot on their Facebook Page, where a customer called Rosie said “I would definitely recommend Optical express and laser eye surgery to anyone. A life-changing experience.” Reviews allow prospective patients to find out about your reputation and help drive traffic to your website.
Always remember to ask existing patients if they’d mind leaving a review on your social media page. You can be extra persuasive by including a small discount for follow-up services or products. This simple yet often-overlooked step can really improve your brand reputation on social media.
Comment on current events
Specsavers recently uploaded a post to their Facebook page, commenting on the Cricket County Championships, where the batsman is pictured in the ready position, apparently not having even seen the bowler score a wicket behind him. They added the caption “Well, you know what we’re thinking #Shouldve #Specsavers #CountyChampionships”.
This humorous post is relatively niche, yet still generated over 2,000 likes and several comments, showing just how much of an impact you can make by interacting with newsworthy topics on your business page. By simply adding a link to their eye testing booking service (cleverly shortened so that it could pass as a link to a news story on the game itself), the company encouraged traffic to their bookings system for an online conversion.
Working with influencers
Many high street opticians brands regularly work with celebrities to advertise their frames. For example, Vision Express features an image of Meghan Markle wearing one of their pairs of glasses, with the caption “Get the Markle sparkle and steal Meghan’s radiant style with tortoiseshell frames – fit for a princess!”, linking to their ‘Exclusive Brands’ range.
Whilst independent opticians may not have the benefit of big-name contracts and ambassadors, there is still much to be said for working with relevant influencers to advertise your glasses and services. Research popular figures in your local area, or online names such as bloggers who are likely to be recognised by your target audience. These are great people to reach out to and offer a free pair of glasses in return for a feature post on their pages.
This will expose your brand to a new, captive audience to increase brand reputation and inspire existing customers with new spectacle styles.
Paid social media advertising for opticians
Whilst there are many opticians marketing ideas to try, it is important to consider the more traditional methods of advertising alongside these strategies. To really expose your company to a new audience, and in order to track the success of your approach, it is vital to invest in a small amount of paid social media advertising.
This can vary from Facebook banner ads to sponsored videos on Instagram and promoted posts around the web. The benefit of these is that they can be tailored to those users who are most likely to interact with and convert through the advert, maximising the returns you see through the ad. They are also very easy to quantify when it comes to return on investment, with transparent data allowing you to see exactly how many people booked an eye test or consultation.
Here at Greener Media, we understand that many opticians don’t have the time to dedicate to a successful social media marketing strategy. That’s why many opticians already use our services to help them market their business. Our affordable monthly packages and wide range of expertise, give you a whole team at your disposal to get your social media marketing strategy underway. To find out more about how our social media marketing services can help you, contact us today on 0333 012 4046 or use our package builder to create a social media marketing campaign that perfectly suits your budget and aims.