Social Media Success – One Step at a Time: An Interview w/Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford
In an interview with optometrist and Social Media expert, Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford of Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, he shared his insights in succeeding with social media.
While Dr. Nate has seen success for his small practice through his own social media efforts, he thinks that the first step for anyone new to the medium is getting personally acquainted with the culture before jumping in professionally. Start off with a personal account and spend time becoming familiar with the style and pace of the interaction. This is particularly important for Twitter, which has a language and culture of its own.
We recommend starting with the EyeCarePro.net webinar on social media to get a broad background about the how’s and why’s of social media. Dr. Nate also suggests reading blogs, where you can ease into the online environment and gradually become more involved in the interaction by posting comments and links.
During this “getting to know you” period, you can develop a strategy for your practice with little risk, deciding how you want to approach social media and where to create the boundary between your personal and professional presence. Choose which tools to use based on the combination of patient demographics and personal interest. For many, Facebook is a good place to start because it is more familiar and intuitive than Twitter.
Dr. Nate says that each post must be genuine, interesting and useful. Stay away from a direct sales pitch, he advises, rather, be subtle by reporting that you are setting up a trunk show or posting pictures or related links. Show the human side of your practice and let your fans and followers get to know you and your office personally.
Start to establish a quality following by leveraging your patient base. Hang signs in your office, send emails and talk about your social media networks. Pursue relationships with people that share common interests, (such as neighborhood businesses or events) and you are more likely to create interest and dialogue that will be seen by others.
Your social media strategy is an important component of your overall marketing campaign. Focus on creating relationships with the right people and coordinate this with your overall vision. For Dr. Nate, this strategy culminated in a “Tweet-up” for their local followers which brought in 50 people who had never stepped foot in the office.
The bottom line, Dr. Nate believes, is that to succeed with social media you must present a professional, positive and informative face for your optometry practice. To attain this first educate yourself, establish your expertise and demonstrate that you are human. For after all, that is what being “social” is all about.
“Dr. Nate” frequently lectures about Social Media and how you can use it to benefit your practice and gain patients. Visit his blog at http://www.brighteyesnews.com.
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