Ophthalmology Business

SEPT 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

Issue link: http://digital.ophthalmologybusiness.org/i/174774

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The OWL webinar: Marketing your business and products with social media by Tammy Evans, MS, and Laura Wyant I t's a brave new (marketing) world. In addition to traditional marketing platforms such as radio, TV, print, and word-of mouth-referrals, we also have internet marketing platforms, including website marketing, pay per click ads, and for ophthalmic practices, directories. Just as we've started to get a handle on those, social media marketing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram have started to gain visibility and credibility. What's a business to do? First, one must recognize that it's not solely about the technology. Though social media platforms (or "channels") have certainly gained a foothold, the only thing that separates them from older mediums is their social nature. Yes, in some cases marketing information must be presented in a different manner than we're accustomed to (Twitter's maximum of 140 characters comes to mind), but traditional marketing objectives and goals are still in force—namely, branding, product promotion, word-of-mouth referral support, attracting and acquiring new clients, and client retention. All marketing platforms, including social media, are utilized for one reason: to market your business. As with traditional marketing mediums, the key to effective social media is to ensure that you choose the ones that are right for your business and then leverage their marketing potential to the fullest, integrating them with your traditional marketing to promote your business brand. It's not as difficult as it may appear. Here's how it's done. Getting started What is social media good for? For one, it allows a company or organization to engage its clients (and potential clients) with perceived value-added features, the purpose of which is ultimately to facilitate brand and/or product loyalty. For example, if you are attending an Ophthalmic Women Leaders (OWL) event, it is likely you will be encouraged to "like" the organization's Facebook page for industry updates and news, as well as follow it on LinkedIn for additional professional news. More recently, people have been using social media in lieu of traditional business cards (LinkedIn) and to connect (Facebook and Twitter). At the very least, people exchange Twitter handles at social gatherings to connect immediately and then follow up from that channel. For professionals, a LinkedIn Group is a good way to hold discussions and be part of a larger whole. OWL's LinkedIn Group page, for example, provides followers with highlights on the latest Ophthalmic Woman Magazine as well as referrals and processes, industry gathering news, and more. In other words, social media is a great way for a company or organization to provide more than what is offered on its website. To understand which social media channels will work best for your company's needs, let's look at the benefits and drawbacks of four of the most important channels— Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—and discuss how you could (and should) use them. Facebook (1.15 billion users) Think of Facebook as: A place for the 3 Cs: content, copy, and connections. Benefits: Most popular social network; easily accessible; low-cost marketing strategy; ability to reach essentially everyone else who is on Facebook (as of June 2013, there were 1.1 billion users); analytics help determine important demographic information about your fans so you can develop a targeted strategy. Drawbacks: Potential to get lost in the crowd; sharing of information continued on page 18 September 2013 • Ophthalmology Business eZine 17

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