Article Date: 6/1/2013

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“Social” Optometry

We’ve always considered ourselves pretty social. Between the two of us, we like to talk…. really like to talk. As optometric colleagues who graduated at a time when the term ‘social took’ on an entirely new meaning, we’re doing our best to evolve.

So what does being “social” in our profession mean today? In order to answer that question, a few data points may be helpful:

■ More than two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies have seen an average decline in web visitors of 23% from 2010-20111

■ Facebook grew at 69% over the same period1

Why the Facebook explosion? Those in the know point to one particular attribute that drives consumers (including patients) to this venue. People are drawn to digital experiences that provide them with real-time updates about the people, topics and brands they care about. Although Facebook and Twitter can be tools for new customer acquisition, it’s important to note that these tools aren’t well suited to maintain an ongoing relationship with your patient base. Existing technology allows you to incorporate real-time, social functionality into your own website. We believe that this combination enables you to influence user behavior in ways that can benefit your practice. By incorporating this functionality, you can also collect, analyze and apply the data in a productive and valuable way. Utilizing social networks to drive traffic to your website enables you to own and control your message, thus creating a tool that will become a valuable asset to your practice. Technology exists to make your websites engaging, real-time and as addicting as any social site.

There will be more innovation in the next 12 years than in the past one hundred. To be successful, we don’t need to adopt all of it, but we must study and learn from the experts in the field. We must invest in technology that has a true ROI and matches well with our business philosophy.

Talk to your patients to better understand their needs and communication preferences. We’re all consumers and putting on our consumer hats to see through patients’ eyes is important. That’s right, it all starts with talking to them…. imagine that.

Tell us what you think.

All the best,
Howard and Walt


Dr. Howard B. Purcell Vice President, Customer Development Group, Essilor of America

Walter West, OD Vice President, Professional Development, VisionSource

1. The Effect of Social Networks and the Mobile Web on Website Traffic and the Inevitable Rise of Facebook Commerce. Available at: Accessed May 2013.

Optometric Management, Volume: , Issue: June 2013, page(s):