“iMatrix is a website development company that specializes in optometry. From personal experience, I highly recommend them for any optometry practice wanting to maximize their online real estate.” – Chad Fleming, OD (founder OptometryCEO)
Guest post by Rachel Cunningham is a Marketing Content Writer at iMatrix.
Did you know that people are talking about your optometry practice on social media? Even if you don’t have a social media presence, people are discussing your practice on social media. You need to get involved and take part in the conversation.
85% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses*
73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more*
79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations*
Online reviews are the new “word of mouth” for local optometry practices. As such, you need to know what people are saying about your practice. Get involved and take control of your reputation on social media following these four easy tips.
- Create Optimized Business Pages on Social Media
- Your optometry practice doesn’t need to have a presence on every social network. Instead, focus on three social media outlets patients use to voice their opinions. Set up a Business Page on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Optimize the pages with your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). Include descriptions of your services and products, as well as links to your website and other social pages. Facebook and Google+ both have review features. If you notice that your reviews are not flattering, ask your happy patients to leave a review on one of your social pages. Google+ is particularly important since the reviews show up in your Google Maps listing on search result pages. Never buy fake reviews because consumers can easily sniff these out and they will discredit you. Twitter doesn’t currently have a review feature, but hashtags are highly popular on Twitter. The same holds true for Facebook and Google+ as well. On Twitter, regularly check your “Notifications” section to see if anyone has mentioned your optometry practice in a post. Whether the mention is positive or negative, if you have been mentioned in a Tweet, respond in a kind, professional manner. If you don’t have any resolution for the patient, it’s best to respond by thanking them for their feedback.
- Post, Engage, Respond on Social Media
- Maintaining an active presence on social media is another great way to take ownership of your reputation online. Create interesting posts and share them on your social pages. When patients and followers interact with your posts, engage in conversation. As patients comment on your social media posts, reply to their comments. Engaging and responding to your followers is a great way to create a positive reputation since it shows you are interested, listening, and responsive.
- Set up Alerts for Your Business Name
- A free service provided by Google is “Google Alerts.” Go to http://www.google.com/alerts and set up an alert for your name and the name of your optometry practice. When an online user mentions your name on the internet, you get an email with a link to the mention. Google Alerts are the easiest way to track what people are saying about you and your business. You can keep a close eye on your online reputation simply by checking your email.
- Claim Your Yelp Page
- Did you know that your practice can have a Yelp page even if you didn’t set it up? That’s right. Optometry patients can review your practice on Yelp and create a page for your business without your consent. The great news is that if there is an existing Yelp page for your optometry practice, you can claim it and take control of the information (not the reviews) on your page. Go to Yelp and search for your practice name in your city or zip code. If a page exists for your business, follow the instructions to “Claim” the page. If a page does not exist, you can still set up a business page for your practice. Click on “Yelp for Business Owners” and follow the instructions for setting up your page. Optimize the Yelp page for your optometry practice by completing all the fields possible.
Once your page is set up, you cannot control the reviews patients leave for you. You CAN respond to the reviews and ask patients for positive reviews. When responding to reviews (whether publicly or privately), always, always, always be professional and courteous. Ensure your response is sympathetic, conciliatory, and resolution-focused. Remember that potential patients are reading these reviews and responses.
As a local optometrist, it is essential that you take control of your reputation on social media. Being proactive is the best way to manage your reputation. Always be positive and never engage in arguing with patients online since this lowers you to the level of a negative reviewer. If you have any bad reviews, be sure to solicit great reviews from happy patients. In general, potential patients expect to see a mix of great reviews with a negative review here and there.
*All statistics are from Search Engine Land, 2013.
Rachel Cunningham is a Marketing Content Writer at iMatrix, a provider of affordable web marketing solutions for small, practice based businesses. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English from CSU Long Beach and a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in General Management. Rachel is experienced in writing content optimized for search engines and users, creating engaging content for social media, and crafting articles about SEO and social media marketing for small businesses.