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BUSINESS: Social Media

Social Media Toolkit

These resources can help boost your online presence

FIRST AND FOREMOST A COMMUNICATION PLATFORM

IN LIGHT of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to note that, for all that social media is, it is first and foremost a communication platform. It provides you with an avenue to talk directly to your patients, on a platform many use daily and turn to for information.

Therefore, utilize it as such. In the face of changing environments and statuses of practices, this causes patients to have questions. Answer them on social media. Provide updates on your hours, services and procedures to keep them in the know. This does not replace email messages, text messages, telephone calls or other outreach you may utilize to communicate with your patients, however, it should be part of the your information dissemination plan.

Last month, we touched on using Twitter in a crisis. This month, consider using Facebook to reiterate your messages, to pin posts with pertinent information that will be needed for a while. Also, be sure to answer your patients' direct messages. All of these steps can not only increase communication with your patients, but also provide them with some small comforts at a time of uncertainty.

Positive Vibes

During grave situations, consider that much of the content people are consuming is likely to be heavy, and offer an alternative.

Optometric Management Symposium took the opportunity to offer some levity in the form of a sloth gif. (See the post here: https://twitter.com/OMSconference/status/1239548192989097984 .) This magazine joined in the fun, as did our conference director, creating a light-hearted string of Twitter content.

Other examples from the eyecare industry include Eyeworks Optical, an optometry practice based in Washington, Pa., addressing customer’s work-from-home or shelter-in-place status: https://twitter.com/eyeworksop/status/1247174439697100802 . Blondin Shea EyeCare, in Torrington, Conn., shared an eye joke: https://twitter.com/BlondinShea/status/1247151126287392769 . Optometry Australia shared some good news on its Twitter feed, celebrate two female optometrists in this tweet: : https://twitter.com/OptometryAus/status/1246655642644824064 .

What about you? Share your light materials by tagging us on the post!

Create a Social Media Calendar

IF YOU OR A MEMBER OF YOUR STAFF is undergoing a pause in day-to-day activities, one of those long-term tasks that can be accomplished is to create a social media calendar. This can take many forms and a simple Google search will net you different options. What I will recommend is to use a Google or Excel Sheet to provide a rough, annual sketch. Include holidays, eye health observances and popular cultural functions, such as the Olympics. Brainstorm text to include as well as create graphics that can accompany those items. For example, in the case of Christmas, you may alter your hours during this time, so include a post prior that will discuss this. You may wish your patients a happy holiday on the day, and consider grabbing a link to the .gif you’d like to share. (Some of the graphics we’ve utilized for holidays are located at the download page!)

You can get as specific as you’d like with this task. For example, you could have a spreadsheet with multiple columns: date, time of post, post content, link/asset name, etc. (Here’s an example via Google that you’re welcome to copy and make your own: bit.ly/OMSocialCalendar .) This can plan in granular detail all of your posts for a given period of time. From there you can open it to post daily or use a scheduling tool and batch upload by the week, month, etc.

Facebook allows you to schedule posts for pages from its “Publishing tools.” However, you might opt to use a third-party tool if your content is similar across platforms. Some scheduling tools include: Buffer, Hootsuite and TweetDeck.

IMAGE DOWNLOAD LINK
bit.ly/OMtoolkit
All corresponding images are available to download and use for free.