COVID-19 has completely changed our definition of “Business-as-usual,” and practice owners everywhere are trying to sort out how previous daily tasks should fit into the new normal.
At first glance, social media might seem like a frivolous use of time for your practice. The truth is, now more than ever, connecting with your patient base through their social channels is absolutely crucial. Everyone is hungry for human interaction. By staying active on social media, you keep your patients aware of their eye health needs, and build relationships with followers that will serve you well in the months after COVID-19.
Here are some things to help you use social media more effectively during the current pandemic.
Preserve Your Brand
Your brand is more than just your practice name or signage. It includes colours, fonts, content tone and voice, style of imagery, and so much more. Whether you’re posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, your brand should stay consistent.
For visual platforms, make sure you’re using colours, fonts, and styles of imagery that match your website wherever possible. For text-based platforms, try to ensure everything you post feels and sounds like it was written by the same person.
A solid brand identity has a sort of personality. Ideally, that personality will be clearly reflected in everything you post.
Offer Tips for at-Home Care
One of the best ways to earn user trust and loyalty is to provide valuable information without asking for anything in return. The nearly nationwide lockdown has everyone looking for ways to keep themselves safe and healthy without having to leave their homes. As a result, you’re in a perfect position to provide your followers with helpful information.
Start posting home eye care tips that users can follow. Some ideas could include strategies to mitigate digital eye strain, improving sleep through blue light reduction, creating heat compresses for MGD, and much more!
Anything that helps make working and staying at home more comfortable will grab the interest of your followers.
Keep Your Patients Looped-In
At this point, you have most likely sent out some kind of notification alerting patients to changes in your practice hours and availability (if you haven’t, you absolutely should). As the breadth of products or services available during the pandemic continues to change or grow, you should continue to keep patients apprised.
Updates on contact lens availability, the launch of your ecommerce site, a new line of frames (assuming they’re available via ecommerce), and video consultations are all great examples of updates that should make it to your social media platforms.
Every business is walking a tightrope in terms of messaging around COVID-19.
On the one hand, you can’t just ignore it and pretend the world continues to spin as it always has. We are all facing a rather stark reality. To pretend otherwise is naive and irresponsible.
On the other hand, overly empathetic statements discussing “thoughts and prayers during this difficult time” seem disingenuous. Consumers have seen enough sentimental posts and emails at this point that they’ve become hypersensitive to pandering.
The most effective messaging will fall directly in the middle. Acknowledge the current uncertainty, but do not fearmonger. Be positive, but stay realistic. And overall, be authentic.
Foster Connection by Featuring Team Members
Again, with social distancing measures in place, everyone is starting to feel the need for human connection. Your social media channels can help followers feel a little more connected to you and your staff by showing off the people and personalities behind your practice.
When creating posts highlighting tips for at-home eye care (as mentioned above), ask your staff to take photos or videos of themselves demonstrating techniques or explaining concepts. It will help your followers feel like they know you better and create a more personal bond with your brand.
Social Media is a Tool
It may be tempting to metaphorically shutter all of the windows and wait for the storm to pass. But for the sake of your practice and your patients, it’s important that you stay active on social media. This is an opportunity to maintain your brand through a difficult period and fortify your position when the epidemic does eventually subside.