Social media has exploded in popularity over the last decade. With the exponential growth in users, there has been a growing interest in using these sites as a means of reaching consumers by businesses and companies in every industry. Eye care is no different, and utilizing these social platforms can help you further distinguish your practice from competitors.
The most popular social media platforms in the U.S. based on active monthly users are:
- Facebook – 2,200,000,000
- YouTube – 1,900,000,000
- Instagram – 800,000,000
- Twitter – 336,000,000
- Reddit – 330,000,000
- Pinterest – 200,000,000
- Tumblr – 115,000,000
- Flickr – 112,000,000
- LinkedIn – 106,000,000
- Meetup – 35,300,000
For eye care professionals, there are three social media channels that are particularly useful.
Facebook has skyrocketed to become the most popular social media site worldwide. It’s free to create a business account, and you can begin posting immediately. According to industry research, the best times to post on Facebook are Wednesday at noon and 2pm and Thursday at 1pm and 2pm.
Other than regular posts, there are paid options to help your practice be found on Facebook. You can boost your regular post, which uses a cost per 1000 views (CPM) payment model. This means that you’ll pay an amount previously agreed upon every time 1000 new users see your post, regardless of if they interact or not. You set certain targeting criteria so that the people seeing your post are your intended audience, and the average cost is about $6.35 per 1000 views.
Like boosted posts, promoted posts utilize posts already created. You set your target market, and these posts will show up in the newsfeed of users who fit those traits. The main difference: promoted posts can be set to a cost per click (CPC) payment model. This means that instead of paying for eyes, you’ll pay every time a user clicks on your post, like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The cost is typically higher than CPM and varies based on your goals and specified audiences, and the average cost for Facebook CPC was $0.27.
Finally, you can utilize paid ads on Facebook. These show up in Facebook’s right-hand column and newsfeed and stick with the user as they scroll on their mobile or desktop device. Within Facebook’s ad platform, you also have the ability to serve ads to Facebook Audience Network, Messenger, and Instagram users. There are a number of ad formats available, including photo, video, and carousel-style.
Twitter is like Facebook in the fact that creating a business account is free. While less popular than Facebook for users around the globe, Twitter is a common medium for users to interact with brands. It offers a platform to answer questions and respond to comments and concerns in real time. The best time to post on Twitter is from 9am to 10am on Fridays.
Twitter also offers paid options, as well. Through this social site, you can promote your account or specific tweets. Promoting your account can help boost brand awareness and earn followers. Based on your bid, your cost can vary on targeting and usually ranges between $2.50 and $4 per follower. The cost for promoted tweets is usually around $1.35 per tweet and based on engagement like clicks, favorites, retweets, and replies. This will push your content to more users’ timelines, getting it in front of more potential patients, and each post will list that it is “promoted.”
Like the other two social media providers, Instagram is free to create a business account. This medium is unique in the fact that all posts are images and videos with captions. This is not saying that you can’t create an image with words, but it’s primarily visual content. Research shows that posting on Wednesdays at 3pm and Thursdays at 11am and 3-4pm get better engagement.
As far as paid promotion on Instagram, the site allows sponsored posts. The business side can be accessed via the Facebook Ad Manager (Instagram is owned by Facebook). Like Twitter and Facebook, sponsored posts will be pushed to a targeted list of feeds and cost about $6.70 CPM for a photo. Video ads can cost as low as $0.02 per view and average around $3 CPM.
Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Remember, social platforms are competitive landscapes. Creating helpful eye health posts and relevant, targeted advertising can help your practice stand out and increase awareness, traffic, and social following. We’re not saying that you should run out and create accounts for every social media available. You and your marketing team will need to evaluate the benefits of having one or more accounts and which will work the best for your practice.
If opting into paid social promotion, be sure to set specific goals and determine what success looks like. Are you looking for more website traffic? Do you want to promote a new or special product promotion? Did you just open your practice and need to build local awareness? Asking these types of questions can help define the ad format and medium that would best complement your strategy.
If you’re interested in increasing your social media following, Tanya Gill shared a few tips on how she goes about it.
Next, we’ll talk about online reviews and how to manage your online reputation.
- Kallas, Priit. “Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps [July 2018].” DreamGrow, DreamGrow, 5 July 2018, www.dreamgrow.com/top-15-most-popular-social-networking-sites/.
- “How Much Does Social Media Marketing Cost in 2018?” WebpageFX, WebpageFX, www.webpagefx.com/Social-Media-Pricing.html.
- York, Alex. “Best Times to Post on Social Media: 2018 Industry Research.” Sprout Social, Sprout Social, Inc., 11 June 2018, sproutsocial.com/insights/best-times-to-post-on-social-media/.