Picture perfect: How to engage patients on Pinterest and Instagram
If you want to appeal to millennial patients, look no further than two popular—and growing—social media sites, Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest—best described as a virtual scrapbook—allows users to collect or "pin" photos from their own websites and "re-pin" photos they like from other users. Instagram is a photo-sharing site that lets users apply digital filters to their snapshots.
Samantha Toth, president of Innereactive Media, shared that advice with a room of ODs and optometric students at the "Pinterest & Instagram: A Picture is Worth 1,000 Patients" continuing education course at the 2014 Optometry's Meeting® in Philadelphia.
Toth explained that both networks appeal to visual brands in the lifestyle, food, beauty, media and fashion industries, which fits in nicely with the fashion-oriented aspects of optometry—including the sales of frames and contact lenses. Both networks also target unique audiences.
Pinterest appeals to a young female demographic, with women making up 84 percent of its users. Instagram, which also skews female, attracts a young demographic, with 90 percent of its users under age 35.
Once you establish a Pinterest presence, the potential benefits include an uptick in referral traffic to your website—and hopefully an increase in foot traffic through the office doors.
Pinterest tips and tricks
- Start by creating your Pinterest account. Be sure to use a recognizable profile image.
- Create pin boards with clever, yet intuitive names. Examples might include "Frame Frenzy," which would feature eyewear you carry, and "We Love Eyes," which would feature photos, quotes and infographics—like the graphics available in the AOA Newsroom—about eye health and vision care.
- Pin photos from your own practice website.
- Re-pin relevant content from other Pinterest users as a way to build community and create reciprocity with other users.
Instagram tips and tricks
Unlike Pinterest, you must access Instagram from a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.
- Set up an account with a recognizable profile image.
- Share photos, including candid photos from around the office, new frame styles and shots featuring community activities.
- Create a hashtag (a word or phrase used in conjunction with a pound [#] sign; on social media sites, posts using the same hashtag are grouped together and can be searched) for your optometric practice. Come up with something specific to your practice and start using it. (e.g., #SmithEyeCenter or #SmithOD)
- Entrust the management of the Instagram account to one person in the office who understands your company and its audience.
To kick off your Instagram presence, Toth offers a couple of ideas to gain followers and build excitement. First, host a photo contest and ask patients to post a photo of themselves wearing new eyewear purchased from your office, using the practice's hashtag. Then pick a winner and offer an appropriate prize as an incentive.
Second, create a "selfie booth" in the office. Place the practice's logo on the booth backdrop and tell patients to take a selfie in front of it—sporting their new eyewear—and post it to Instagram using the practice hashtag.
Go here to learn more and access the presentation from Toth's continuing education course.