+61401395441 leigh@optomly.com.au

Are you active on Instagram? Would you like to know how to use Instagram to grow your practice?

Instagram currently has over 400 million active members. It also has the highest engagement of any social network. This means that the Instagram audience is more likely to Like or Comment on your posts.

For example, here’s a recent post on @optomleigh:

Coming soon post

I posted exactly the same image at the same time on Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, I received 33 likes and 7 unique comments. On Facebook, I received 3 likes. Not only that, but website visitors from Instagram spent over ten times longer viewing articles, compared to Facebook.

Let’s see what Top Optometrists are doing with Instagram to grow their practice and themselves.

Optometrists on Instagram

In total, they have over 32,000 followers on Instagram. Lets find out a little more about them:

  • Dr Derron Lee (O.D.) co-owns Midtown Optometry, Manteca Optometry and Midtown Vision Development Center in Stockton, California.
  • Dr Agustin Gonzalez (O.D.) owns Eye & Vision in Richardson, Texas. He also owns FourTimes52.com
  • Dr Tanya Gill (O.D.) owns Oakland Vision Centre Optometry in Oakland, California. She also owns We Love Eyes Products (Natural Eye Cleansing Products).
  • Dr Darryl Glover (O.D.) previously at Eye Care Associates in Raleigh, North Carolina. He co-founded Defocus Media with Dr Jenn Lyerly.
  • Dr Jenn Lyerly (O.D.) is currently employed at Triangle Visions Optometry in North Carolina.
  • Dr Arian Fartash (O.D.) is currently a locum O.D. based in San Francisco, California.
  • Dr Justin Bazan (O.D.) owns Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Mr Jack Erker III is President of Studio Optyx and runs brands including NW77th, USA Eyewear and others.

1. Why did you choose Optometry? Do you run your own practice or work for someone else?

[Dr Derron Lee] I chose Optometry because of my wife. 🙂 She was the first one to have interest in Optometry during college. I just followed her coat tails. And we both own and operate our own practices; Midtown Optometry, Manteca Optometry and Midtown Vision Development Center.

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez] That’s a long story. I applied to dental school, and I applied to optometry school. I got accepted into both programs, but I did not know which program to choose. So, I drove to see the house of the president of the dental society and the house of the president of the optometric society—the bigger house was the optometrist’s house.
Besides, I was always near-sighted as a little kid. My mom took me to an ophthalmologist who had a Cuban optometrist working with him. I was familiar with optometry, but there were lots of twists and turns to get to where I am. I run my own practice in a medical office complex.

[Dr Tanya Gill] I choose Optometry by default. I get severe anxiety when I see blood, so medical school was out of the question, lol! This is also the reason why I’ve never seen an episode of True Blood, haha. I have owned Oakland Vision Center since 2007 and I love ownership. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

[Dr Darryl Glover] I love helping people and the ability to help one see is priceless. I worked for a practice for ten years.  I served for five years as a technician and trainer and 5 years as an Optometrist.  I recently resigned and have been focused on a few new business ventures.  I plan to open a practice in Nigeria by the end of this year.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] My childhood eye doctor, Dr Bollinger in Clemmons, NC, embraced having a ton of my siblings in the office at the same time. He let me actively watch what he was doing and learn what the equipment does.  I found it so fascinating and approachable as a career because he took the time to allow me to see the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind everything he did during the exam. And Dr Bollinger is still practicing!!).

Currently I’m an associate at Triangle Visions Optometry, and I love practicing in a group with doctors who are constantly expanding their scope. I also have the ability to focus on my own personal projects outside of work.  My other passion project is Eyedolatry Blog.  I spend a lot of time blogging and researching articles. I have the luxury of just doing the things in optometry I love to do, and letting someone else take care of the aspects of owning a business I’m less interested in.

[Dr Arian Fartash] I am a second generation OD, so its kind of in my blood. Lol!

[Mr Jack Erker III] Optics and eyewear is really all I know. As the fifth generation of our eyewear business, I have a need to push the limits. In order to do this, I try to bring designs that work in other industries to our industry. I love when the consumer smiles when they put our designs on. Our family business was started in 1879 and is still going strong. You must be open to change and you must change with the landscape in order to have that success.

[Dr Justin Bazan] I enjoyed healthcare and made sure to shadow many different types of healthcare providers. Optometry just seemed to click with me. Having my own business was something that I knew I wanted from early on in my life.

2. If a friend of yours asks what makes your practice unique, what would you say?

[Dr Derron Lee] 5 simple words; We Change Lives Through Vision. It peaks patients’ curiosity and we schedule a personal tour.

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez] My goal is to be a comprehensive optometry office that does the traditional eye exam and eyeglasses/contacts. However, most of my patient load is based on managing and treating eye conditions and complications from the neighbouring physicians. They recognize that my appointments are much more accessible than an ophthalmologist. If I need, I can get their patients to an ophthalmologist if they require surgery with hours of being in my office. I see many things general physicians do not feel comfortable treating. I rely on the neighbouring physicians for referrals and the bulk of my business. I have learned to use social media and traditional marketing strategies to promote the traditional optometry services side.

[Dr Tanya Gill] The people at Oakland Vision Center makes our practice unique. It’s fun to work here. Plus we are of the mindset that change and creativity are good things.

[Dr Darryl Glover] I love the doctor/patient interaction. I am able to adapt to any patient’s personality and make them feel comfortable with sharing their life. This in turn creates trust, loyalty, better diagnosis and increases the bottom line.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] What makes my blog unique? Well, there are a ton of great optometric resources out there. However, Eyedolatry Blog is really unique in that it is simple enough for patients to read and understand the medical conditions or studies being discussed, but technical enough that they can come away from the article really knowing you learned something.
I’m also really focused on being a resource for young female ODs. I’ve been practicing for nearly five years and already starting to reflect on the things I either didn’t understand or could have done better when I started my career. I want other women to have to avoid the same mistakes, so I hope they can read my articles and get a jump start on their career!

[Dr Arian Fartash] As of right now, I work in many modes of practice. I have the freedom to make my own schedule, where I can choose to work six days a week or work as little as one day a week. For the past five years, I have worked in private practice, retail, and in nursing homes. Switching my days between these modes of practice allows me to broaden my skills and keep things exciting, as everyday is a new adventure. I think the most rewarding is working in nursing home facilities. These patients require not only bedside eye care, but also someone to talk to and share stories with.

[Dr Justin Bazan] We are just a lot cooler than most practices out there. We rely on being friendly, helpful and fun. The whole vibe in our office is not what people are used to. They come in and are welcomed as if they were a friend coming over for dinner. We take a very educational approach and keep the patient involved in the care process at every step.

[Mr Jack Erker III] Our eyewear is unique in that we use materials that typically aren’t used in our industry and make them work for our eyewear. We have recently opened a new factory in the USA to manufacture our NW77th brand as well. This in itself has been very unique.

3. Were you an early adopter of social media? When did you see its potential for practice growth?

[Dr Derron Lee] Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are a great way for us to separate our practices from the pack. Creating engaging, fun content is what we strive to do. Big time opportunity to build your presence.

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez] Absolutely! It all started with internet advertising back in the dark ages of yahoo banner ads. Eleven years ago I moved into my office in a medical office complex where I was by myself in a back building. In order to survive those years, I relied on email marketing to the patient base that I served at a local retail optical setting. Afterwards I became more interested in banner ads, from there to Google Adwords. For years I used Adwords and consistently targeted a five-mile radius form the office but once the big retailers started driving the price of keywords up I moved into Facebook ads. I do these exclusively now.

[Dr Tanya Gill] I definitely lagged when it came to social media. My brother got me into Facebook after he’d been on it for a year. I was playing catch-up, that’s for sure.
I saw the potential for practice growth about 2 years ago. That’s when I got really serious about creating our business pages on the various social media platforms. My mother always said to pick one thing and be really good at it. Last year we saw the most potential for practice growth with our target audience with Instagram. We started in January of 2015 and have been at it ever since.

[Dr Darryl Glover] Yes, I was an early adopter. I noticed that social media works, after patients would comment on my blog or enter the office asking for a specific frame I blogged about, or saw on Instagram.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] I actually feel like I was waaay behind when it comes to social media.  I started blogging relatively early (2011), but I didn’t adopt Twitter or Instagram until they were already really established. Again, one of those mistakes I need to help young ODs avoid!  What’s so amazing to me though is that I felt I was a relatively late adopter, but then I go to meetings and many optometrists don’t even have an active Facebook page established and it’s 2016.  Social media is definitely here to stay. If we as doctors aren’t using it, we’re going to miss connecting with new patients. We also risk losing existing patients to doctors who are using social media actively.
A recent study showed 90% of patients aged 18–24 years use and trust medical advice on social media.  Patients aren’t coming in to the office to seek your opinion first; they want to interact with you online before making that kind of commitment.  If you are an optometrist and don’t feel like social media is something you can balance while juggling your patient care load, there are great posting services that totally customize for your office specialties like Defocus Media. We do all the posting for you!

[Dr Arian Fartash] On a personal level, I do not participate in social media. However, I have created a fun account to express my passion for eyes, eyewear, and eye fashion. It has allowed me to create networking opportunities than I could ever dream possible on a professional level. I get excited seeing what my fellow followers post everyday and look forward to reading their comments and feedback.

[Dr Justin Bazan] I was a very early adopter of social media, going back to a patient care blog in 2005ish. It was very apparent that social media can help build a practice.

[Mr Jack Erker III] We have had a social media presence for a long time. We have found that there is a right way and a wrong way to manage it. It needs to be constantly managed and not a part time job. We have seen the potential for growth by having a larger audience than ever before.

Like what you see? Click here to find out: ‘Can a Facebook Page Replace My Website?’

4. What are three things that you love about Instagram at the moment?

[Dr Derron Lee]
It is:

  1. Simple
  2. Simple
  3. Simple

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez]

So the cool thing is that:

  1. You really do not need to have an Instagram account to run ads on Instagram (we have one for the office but mainly run the ads via Facebook).
  2. You can use your Facebook page comes up as the ad on the account. This helps brand the business but the problem is that if you do not have an Instagram account there is no inter-connectivity between this system and Facebook so the page is not “clickable”.
  3. You can also target by demographics, ethnographic, interests and age. This gives great efficiency by not wasting time and money advertising to non potential customers. In the past, I did mail cards and you never know who reads them and you have no saying in who receives the card. With social media marketing strategies you can send your message and pin point your targeted audience whether it is to bring them in for dry eye, cataracts, designer frames or specialty contacts.

[Dr Tanya Gill]

  1. Instagram is very visual like optometry, so I think it’s a great match.
  2. Instagram is terribly easy to use and interact with your future potential customer.
  3. Instagram takes no money yet makes us a lot of money.

[Dr Darryl Glover]

  1. Social media allows me to have dialogue with the world.
  2. Free advertisement.
  3. Direct Messaging- it allows us to give each client more of a one on one experience without being face to face.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] Far and away Instagram is my favorite social media platform. It’s much more engaging than Facebook, but unlike Twitter you have no limitation on the length of information you want to write with your post.  You can connect with image alone, or use the image to launch a larger discussion.  And compared to other social media networks, Instagram is so active with millennial users.  It’s perfect for reaching people in my age group that are interested in developing their understanding of eyewear and eyes. It’s often the first time that patients find a healthcare provider that’s also speaking their language.

[Dr Arian Fartash]

  1. Making new friends
  2. Discovering new trends in eyewear
  3. Creating a voice for myself

[Mr Jack Erker III] Instagram has opened some international doors for us that otherwise we would have not had the exposure to.

[Dr Justin Bazan] I’m on Instagram personally but have not gotten the business on it yet. We are currently using Facebook as our primary social media platform.

5. What return on investment have you seen for engaged patients on Instagram?

[Dr Derron Lee] ROI is infinite because the buzz and word of mouth has been phenomenal. That is worth it’s weight in gold. We have Instagram audience as ambassadors for our practices. Our front desk team member, Felicia, has so much fun with Felicia’s Frame of the Day. She looks great in ALL our frames. So we were just kidding around at the office by saying, “Hi Felicia” or “Bye Felicia”… And next thing you know, we created an Instagram campaign from that. LOL. #hifelicia #byefelicia

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez] We are particularly bad at measuring ROI. We do ask new patients who referred them and about 60% of the time they say “the internet” but we don’t query any further what sink hole in the internet they are coming out from. But I often hear from patients they like the informative posts and videos.

[Dr Tanya Gill] Customers that come in from instagram spend anywhere between $500-$1,000 at their first appointment. Considering the lifetime value of the customer, it’s a big win. We find that they have really connected with our brand “We Love Eyes” and most often, already know what glasses they want – they just show us the instagram pic.
We have sold this frame a few times just based on the instagram alone:

La Eyeworks

[Dr Darryl Glover] I run an online sunglasses boutique (Eyeseeuphoria) that relies solely on social media. Specifically Instagram. Instagram is the reason for majority of our sales.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] I’ve been able to connect with so many people in the industry –optometrists, student ODs, eyewear designers. These relationships are inspiring new topics of conversation for the blog and in my daily patient care by giving me access to the latest ocular health information and eyewear trends. I feel like being active on Instagram lets me see what’s trending and what’s new before other doctors realize its the next big thing.

[Dr Arian Fartash] Currently, I do not post for my current practice. Once I have my own private practice I will be able to answer this question.

[Mr Jack Erker III] Instagram has helped us ‘brand’ our NW77th and USA brands and make more customers aware of these products. We don’t sell eyewear online, because we don’t want to compete with our retailers who sell our brand. I think social media as a whole is a long term investment that you have to be willing to make to make your brand stronger in the global market place.

6. What tools do you recommend for creating posts for Instagram? What stock image site do you use and like?

[Dr Derron Lee] All our Instagram posts are from our iPhone and iPad. All images are from us directly.

[Dr Agustin Gonzalez] In our office we use the FourTimes52.com service that we designed from a patients’ perspective. FourTimes52 provides content and videos that help me brand my office, and engage my patients. It is cheap, simple. We also take pictures of staff or new products and post them! Be creative, be outside the box and have fun! The main rule in marketing is that people need to like you and trust you. Social media allows your office personality to shine.

[Dr Tanya Gill] The best tool in the world is my iPhone 6+. It takes awesome photos. All our photos are original, so we are taking photos on a daily basis. To keep the photos organized, we have a good system which utilizes the Dropbox app.

[Dr Darryl Glover] For tools, I like using a ‘repost’ application and a notes system such as Asana or Notes App on the iPhone. For stock images, I like Pexels and Unsplash.

[Dr Jenn Lyerly] I mostly use ‘Layout’ for picture editing. It’s great for highlighting the eyewear photographed on a celebrity or street style star. I don’t use any one stock image site regularly, but I love using ShopStyle for eyewear images.  If the frames are on ShopStyle, they are available from designers to purchase right now, so they are current. ShopStyle has a great selection of more popular frame lines.  For independent eyewear lines I often use their own media websites for images and then link the eyewear to their brand.  Instagram is really friendly to reposting others images, as long as you credit your original source!  Reposting someone with a tag is a great way to build a relationship with that person or brand, so don’t shy away from reposting things you love.

[Dr Arian Fartash] What inspires me about Instagram? It is a visual storybook. I love posting information about eyes in unique ways to get the message out there. I’ve started doing #makeupmonday and #thoughtfultuesday in order to keep things consistent on a weekly basis for my followers. I gain inspiration from my day to day work, living in San Francisco, and from other photos I see out there in Instagram.

[Mr Jack Erker III] For Instagram design, we have always done everything in house. We like to be a bit different than everyone else.

Are you weighing up a Facebook Page versus a Website for your Practice? Click here to find out: ‘Can a Facebook Page Replace My Website?’

Lastly, where can you find these top optometrists?

Free Download: How to use Google to bring you more potential patients

Free Download: How to use Google to bring you more potential patients

Need new patients? Don't get left behind. Download the guide "How to use Google to bring you more potential patients" as seen in Optometry Australia News 2018


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