Social Media and the OD

Take advantage of Pinterest to market your practice

My daughter absolutely loves her Pinterest (http://pinterest.com) account and, through it, has launched an online “cheer bows” business. To my amazement, within the first month she was shipping her “exquisite hand-crafted Texan cheer bows” to states like California and Maine.

Pinterest has been hot and is getting hotter with the young woman demographic and perhaps will be the next big thing in social media.

Recently, at a local society meeting, a few people asked me whether Pinterest is right for their practices and how they can use it. I used my three-question rule for social media: What is it for? Who is using it? How can I take advantage of the objectives of the medium to help my practice?

I must confess that other than registering my office name on Pinterest I have not done a thing with this social medium. However, let us consider what we might be able to do with it.

Pinterest is unique in that it is primarily a visually driven medium. It is an online board where pictures are placed and organized in such a way that you can share and search for pictures on just about any topic. Most pictures have comments associated with them, so my daughter just takes a picture of her hand-made, Texas-sized cheer bows, attaches a description with an email address for requesting more information and posts it on her Pinterest account.

Of all social media, Pinterest has attracted a growing audience of young females and young mothers who primarily use the board as a community to share recipes, crafts, hobbies and decorating ideas. This is a demographic that I like to engage, but use of this website is less informative and more visual/social. Compared to other social media, I do not feel that prospective patients will go to Pinterest first as a place to look at their new optometrists’ credentials or practice information. I think that in this area, LinkedIn is second only to Facebook, even with its low share price.

Agustin L. Gonzalez, OD

Agustin L.
Gonzalez

With that said, there is no downside to having a Pinterest presence. So the questions are: How can we combine an optical coherence tomography (OCT) image with a cheer bow? Or how can I have my expertise “pinned”? Is Pinterest a place where people would come to get recommendations from friends? What could I post that would showcase my office?

Some offices have successfully used Pinterest to showcase their opticals, with photos of new frames and sunglass lines. Another typical use is placing office photos with brief descriptions of different areas, describing various instruments and their use. You could also consider staff events such as birthdays, weddings or birth announcements or you could engage in sharing recipes among staff and patients.

Some other ideas:

1. Pin patients and smiles. Photos of happy patients with new glasses or first-time contact lens wearers with their big smiles belong on your Pinterest board. As a cautious note, make sure to get permission from the patient before pinning their pictures.

2. Pin testimonials. You can pin photos of patients using your services. If you have a dry eye clinic or corneal refractive therapy (CRT) clinic, you could show how patients with dry eye have experienced remarkable benefits with plugs or therapies or how the myopia has been controlled over time. In other words, show the therapies that you routinely prescribe.

3. Show practical use of services and technology. You can also pin videos of certain procedures or photos such as OCT images showing age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, CRT technology, new contact lenses or new frame lines. These pins can be used as educational resources as well as to showcase your office technology.

4. Pin what you do and what you know. If you have previously been published in articles, books, magazines, or journals, pin it. You can pin public service announcements of children swimming in pools or safety with firecrackers. Use a brief description and discuss the article. Remember to link those pins to your website and blog.

5. Show your organization’s culture. There is plenty of chatter on “humanizing services.” Pinterest is an important enough social media platform to promote pictures of your staff at work or at play. You can even show pictures of your staff interacting with patients in work-up or exam rooms. People enjoy getting a “look behind the curtain,” and you can present your personality and that of your organization.

6. Create a conversation. When pinning, the goal is to drive traffic to your website with the idea of converting your followers into paying patients. If you pin images that create opportunities to ask questions and encourage dialog, you take the opportunity to become the expert. Do not forget to link those Pins to your website or blog posts.

7. Pin workshops, conferences and seminars. You want to be recognized as the go-to resource in glaucoma, dry eye or whatever service or device you want to market. Posting photos of you attending seminars or presenting at conferences validates the image you want to drive. You can create a discussion through comments in your blog or website or you can send the pins to those people who subscribe to your account.

As with any social media, the idea is to categorize the information and control the message. You can also follow other providers, practices and hospitals or organizations. Before you know it, you could be driving traffic to your website, and more people can find out about the services you offer.

Find us on www.Healio.com/optometry and pin it.

For more information:
Agustin L. Gonzalez, OD, is in private practice in Dallas, serves as adjunct faculty at InterAmerican University and is a member of the Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board. He can be reached at AG@TXEyeDr.com.

Disclosures: Gonzalez has no relevant financial disclosures.

My daughter absolutely loves her Pinterest (http://pinterest.com) account and, through it, has launched an online “cheer bows” business. To my amazement, within the first month she was shipping her “exquisite hand-crafted Texan cheer bows” to states like California and Maine.

Pinterest has been hot and is getting hotter with the young woman demographic and perhaps will be the next big thing in social media.

Recently, at a local society meeting, a few people asked me whether Pinterest is right for their practices and how they can use it. I used my three-question rule for social media: What is it for? Who is using it? How can I take advantage of the objectives of the medium to help my practice?

I must confess that other than registering my office name on Pinterest I have not done a thing with this social medium. However, let us consider what we might be able to do with it.

Pinterest is unique in that it is primarily a visually driven medium. It is an online board where pictures are placed and organized in such a way that you can share and search for pictures on just about any topic. Most pictures have comments associated with them, so my daughter just takes a picture of her hand-made, Texas-sized cheer bows, attaches a description with an email address for requesting more information and posts it on her Pinterest account.

Of all social media, Pinterest has attracted a growing audience of young females and young mothers who primarily use the board as a community to share recipes, crafts, hobbies and decorating ideas. This is a demographic that I like to engage, but use of this website is less informative and more visual/social. Compared to other social media, I do not feel that prospective patients will go to Pinterest first as a place to look at their new optometrists’ credentials or practice information. I think that in this area, LinkedIn is second only to Facebook, even with its low share price.

Agustin L. Gonzalez, OD

Agustin L.
Gonzalez

With that said, there is no downside to having a Pinterest presence. So the questions are: How can we combine an optical coherence tomography (OCT) image with a cheer bow? Or how can I have my expertise “pinned”? Is Pinterest a place where people would come to get recommendations from friends? What could I post that would showcase my office?

Some offices have successfully used Pinterest to showcase their opticals, with photos of new frames and sunglass lines. Another typical use is placing office photos with brief descriptions of different areas, describing various instruments and their use. You could also consider staff events such as birthdays, weddings or birth announcements or you could engage in sharing recipes among staff and patients.

Some other ideas:

1. Pin patients and smiles. Photos of happy patients with new glasses or first-time contact lens wearers with their big smiles belong on your Pinterest board. As a cautious note, make sure to get permission from the patient before pinning their pictures.

2. Pin testimonials. You can pin photos of patients using your services. If you have a dry eye clinic or corneal refractive therapy (CRT) clinic, you could show how patients with dry eye have experienced remarkable benefits with plugs or therapies or how the myopia has been controlled over time. In other words, show the therapies that you routinely prescribe.

3. Show practical use of services and technology. You can also pin videos of certain procedures or photos such as OCT images showing age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, CRT technology, new contact lenses or new frame lines. These pins can be used as educational resources as well as to showcase your office technology.

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4. Pin what you do and what you know. If you have previously been published in articles, books, magazines, or journals, pin it. You can pin public service announcements of children swimming in pools or safety with firecrackers. Use a brief description and discuss the article. Remember to link those pins to your website and blog.

5. Show your organization’s culture. There is plenty of chatter on “humanizing services.” Pinterest is an important enough social media platform to promote pictures of your staff at work or at play. You can even show pictures of your staff interacting with patients in work-up or exam rooms. People enjoy getting a “look behind the curtain,” and you can present your personality and that of your organization.

6. Create a conversation. When pinning, the goal is to drive traffic to your website with the idea of converting your followers into paying patients. If you pin images that create opportunities to ask questions and encourage dialog, you take the opportunity to become the expert. Do not forget to link those Pins to your website or blog posts.

7. Pin workshops, conferences and seminars. You want to be recognized as the go-to resource in glaucoma, dry eye or whatever service or device you want to market. Posting photos of you attending seminars or presenting at conferences validates the image you want to drive. You can create a discussion through comments in your blog or website or you can send the pins to those people who subscribe to your account.

As with any social media, the idea is to categorize the information and control the message. You can also follow other providers, practices and hospitals or organizations. Before you know it, you could be driving traffic to your website, and more people can find out about the services you offer.

Find us on www.Healio.com/optometry and pin it.

For more information:
Agustin L. Gonzalez, OD, is in private practice in Dallas, serves as adjunct faculty at InterAmerican University and is a member of the Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board. He can be reached at AG@TXEyeDr.com.

Disclosures: Gonzalez has no relevant financial disclosures.