AlanGlazier's blog

AlanGlazier's blog

SM & Your Eyecare Business: A Step By Step Guide to Starting Your Conversation – Lesson 1

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Last week I posted an introduction to social media (SM) as a more effective marketing tool and one that will save you money. This week I’d like to discuss how to get your conversation in SM started.

Don’t worry - you don’t need all the intimidating gadgets like Twitter and Facebook yet. We will dip our toes in the water using one tool at a time and build your conversation from the ground up – the best way to start a successful, long term effort. There are a few rules for success in SM that I ask you to pay close attention to when participating in “the conversation.” Once you immerse yourself in “the conversation,” the differences between the people who follow the rules and those who don’t will become apparent; those who follow the rules benefit with increased business, reputation and opportunities through their growing network and those who don’t are ignored, never maximizing the potential of a SM campaign.

Rule #1 – This is a conversation – it goes two ways so Engage / Establish / Create

It’s not enough to set up your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or establish a Twitter account. Don’t bother if you plan on having it remain static – you already have a website for that. The purpose of participating in SM is to engage others, establish a rapport with a wide variety and network of people and create interesting posts and content that draws people to your efforts. This only happens if you are participatory; there are plenty of duds out there watching the conversation (don’t ask me why) but the only people who get attention are those who are social, hence the name “social” media!

Rule #2 – Pay Attention to What is Going On

You’ll find there’s a lot going on when you participate in more than 2 SM suites. It can seem overwhelming. It’s a lot like a craps table – people don’t want to play because it seems intimidating but there are really only a few things you should do over and over to maximize your odds of success while ignoring all the useless junk. You will soon be able to focus easily on what counts and ultimately will use multiple tools to promote your blog. Don’t be afraid to get heavily involved with the ultimate intention of “pruning the tree” of the SM suites that you don’t derive any value out of once you figure things out. You’ll need to watch others and how they interact so you can build your “social” skills, learn the lingo and rise to the top like cream without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Rule #3 – Don’t be a Walking Billboard

Don’t sell your vitamins, your eyewear or Viagra through SM. People don’t want to be pelted by advertisements or posts that may be interpreted as advertising. You will lose followers left and right if you do this and your efforts will amount to nothing. People want to “friend” you or “follow” you because your posts are interesting, substantive and bring value to the time they take to read them.

Rule #4 – First Give, Then Ask – It’s not Style over substance here . . .

You want people to “follow” you when you participate in SM. A “follower” is someone who “signs up” and in doing so, allows you to push information at them when you want to. You control the content of the information that you “push” at them – just think of the possibilities. People tend to “follow” you when they see you are taking the effort and spending the time to create content valuable to them. Your followers are basically giving you a license to push information to them as much as you want. As long as you provide quality information, you maintain the majority of your network and attract new followers as well. It’s OK every once in a while to promote something, just do so sparsely, maintain professionalism when you do and you’ll see your network thrive and grow.

Now, let’s get started. Our next post will introduce you to your first SM suite, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place to start – it is professional and one of the more popular SM suites, and it doesn’t require a lot to get started. Almost everyone in any kind of business needs a linkedin account and profile. Over 85% of Fortune 500 companies used LinkedIn. LinkedIn has great depth and can be used in many ways. It is primarily a B2B (Business to Business) network, but I will show you how you can effectively use it to market your practice, your product and/or your services. Go to http://www.linkedin.com, sign up, navigate yourself around to familiarize yourself and you may even go as far as creating a basic profile and next week we will dig into it.

. . . special thanks to the amazing team at Vision Monday for staying ahead of the curve with SightNation, and thanks for all the great feedback from my SightNation friends - keep it coming!

- Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO
Founder/CEO
Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care
Rockville, MD

Twitter Handle: @EyeInfo
Blog: eyeinfo.wordpress.com
Website: YourEyeSite.com

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Comments

AlanGlazier's pictureOptometristAlanGlazierJoined: Mar, 2010
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 77

I was recently interviewed by Network Solutions Social Media "Swami" Shashi Bellamkonda on how social media has helped my practice marketing efforts. Here's the link http://ow.ly/1rGd8

MNason's pictureMNasonJoined: Mar, 2010
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 1

This is really wonderful, Alan! Thank you for this article. These rules are pertinent to all kinds of businesses implementing a social media strategy, not just optical practices.

As you mentioned, participating in 2 or more SM channels tends to be pretty overwhelming. I'd like to recommend HootSuite (hootsuite.com) as a centralized SM hub. You can participate in all of your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs) from one place, give editors (employees) access to your business's social network accounts, schedule posts, and so on. It's extremely helpful.

AlanGlazier's pictureOptometristAlanGlazierJoined: Mar, 2010
Location: Rockville, MD
Posts: 77

That's a great recommendation - I use Hootsuite and similar tools which will be the subject of a future blog post as well. It is quite effective for following multiple networks. Another great recommendation I will discuss is Amplify.com, which allows you to post the same post to multiple networks with one click - great timesaver and very efficient. Thanks!

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