Hashtag This: Instagram and Eye Care

Original article can be viewed here: http://www.optmagazine.com/2016/06/21/hashtag-instagram-eye-care/

Woman wearing sunglasses standing on a scenic mountain top and taking a selfie with her smart phone

Instagram has over 400 Million active monthly users…

and of those users, 12 Million are in the United States. This makes Instagram a great tool for promoting and marketing your business to the masses. It is a free platform for businesses to showcase their products and services through visual storytelling. By celebrating your brand and being consistent with your business theme, ie. glasses, eye care, eyes, the goal is to gain as many followers as possible in order to build your business. Your content should draw people in and keep them wanting more. Sooner or later you will notice more and more patients walking through your door because they saw your captivating Instagram page. On the next page, you will find three main keys to finding success with your Instagram page:

#1 – Post relevant and compelling content

Instagram is all about the visuals, with that said, you will want to post the best quality photos. Those that are simple and clean and will catch the attention of those scrolling through Instagram. I suggest staying away from posting family photos or photos unrelated to your business brand. You will never be short of images, as your office has a plethora of photo content… your frame stock! When you do so, you should also tag the frame brand, because you more than likely will be reposted and gain exposure. Another way to gain brand recognition is to add your business logo or name to your photos as well. This way your content will be visually related back to your business. By adding your business logo, when another page shares your photo, your brand will be present and those followers can then go to your page if they like what they see and want to see more. The more exposure the better to build your business brand. Reposting is a great way to gain followers as well. By posting a photo that is relevant to your brand from another source, ie. frame company, another optometry office,etc., you can gain attention from their followers as well because they exhibit the same interests. Soon you will find yourself building a close knit Instagram network where you will build relationships with others from around the world that have similar interests as your business brand.

#2 – Using relevant hashtags to your advantage

To attract followers, it is important to use #hashtags on your photos. A hashtag is a word or phrase that is proceeded by a # symbol. They are used in Instagram to find photos that pertain to that particular word. Hashtags not only provide effective ways for your business to network and interact, but to share information to a much wider audience than those who already follow you. A hashtag allows those who have similar interests to find your photos, which can lead them to your Instagram page and ultimately to your business. You can use up to 30 hashtags per photo and the best way to save time is to have them prepopulated and saved in your “notes” app of your phone. This way you can cut and paste into your comments section. Some examples of hashtags related to Optometry are #glasses, #frames, #sunglasses, and #optometrist. Hashtags are not only used to attract followers, but also for you to find Instagram pages to build a network with. Graphic illustrating some rules of hashtagging

#3 – Like and comment

Most times by exploring relevant hashtags you will come across people or businesses who share a love for similar things your brand is all about. Playing an active role within your network and community liking and commenting will get you noticed. By doing this you will make your presence known and most times, those pages will show you love back. Remember, the more exposure you have on Instagram, the more relevant you will become and more followers you will gain. The more followers you gain, the more business it will attract. In conclusion, by creating an Instagram account for your business you will be able to connect with new patients. While scrolling through the feed, future patients can see your posts and interact with you even before they walk into your office door. By using the tools discussed to attract followers, you are able to use zero of your marketing dollars to grow your business and create a dialogue with millions. I am excited to see the new Optometric offices on Instagram and invite them to be friends. You can follow me @glamoptometrist and feel free to ask any questions you may have. — Dr. Arian Fartash, O.D.