+61401395441 leigh@optomly.com.au

Want to attract new patients who love top quality eyewear? Are you ready to get started on Instagram?

In this article, you’ll find an Instagram Guide including practical tips to get you up and running quickly.

Instagram allows you to build real relationships with new and existing patients.

The best thing is that Instagram is relatively simple. There’s an image, a ‘like’ button, a ‘comment’ button and a ‘send to’ button. The image takes up the full screen, so there’s fewer distractions than all other social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus).

Therefore, you get more exposure, likes and comments than Facebook and other social media channels.

Use your practice database to it’s full potential

Your best asset is your current patient database. Are you familiar with the patients that give you the most value? If not, let your clinical software do the work for you. Bring up a list of optical/medical sales by age/gender, location or health insurance fund.

Your practice is unique. Perhaps you specialise in Behavioural Optometry or Ortho-K. Know the patients who support you the most!

If you are a general Optometry Practice, you may find that Baby Boomers support you the most! Especially women aged 45–60 years. Not only that, but they are a key driver of other patient referrals, like their husband, children and grandchildren.

Brainstorm at your next staff meeting. Come up with a list of things that your best patients love to do or learn.

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Instagram is growing. According to expert Sue B. Zimmerman, Instagram is close to reaching 500 million users. Over 49% of adults use Instagram daily.

To get setup on Instagram

  • Choose a localised name for your Instagram account. Moscot Eyecare has three practices in New York City. They chose the username @moscotnyc. From their username, it’s easy to see the suburb where they practice. (If your practice is named Insight Vision Care, you can still choose an Instagram username like @werribeeoptom. When patients tap on your username, they’ll still see your full practice name ‘Insight Vision Care’.). Remember to keep your username short too- this improves the accuracy and likelihood that patients will tag you in their photos.


  • Remember to fill out as much of your profile as possible. Choose a great profile photo. Use text in your description that matches the eyecare problems that you solve. Remember that you are limited to 150 characters. For example, we help people who can’t see or have eye trouble in New York City. (Leigh’s note: You know that some patients say they “can’t see” and have a refraction of 0.00/–0.25×180. That’s fine. They still need eye appointments.)


  • Make sure that you include a link to your website. For me, Instagram has been great at bringing visitors to this website. However, I went looking for Instagram Website Traffic one day. It wasn’t there! Unlike other social networks, tapping your web address in Instagram won’t show up in your website statistics. It gets put in the bucket of ‘Direct Traffic’ which isn’t helpful.How do you fix this? Check out this article. On your website, create a link like moscot.com/visit. When somebody clicks on it, it actually links to moscot.com/?utm_source=Instagram&utm_medium=Organic&utm_campaign=Social. Instead this is a much more appealing link. Then, you can easily compare Instagram to other social networks, and see which is best.Here’s an example of how you can see visits to your website from Instagram:Can you see your traffic from Instagram?


  • Post daily on Instagram:  Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media maven, is famous for his social media strategy of ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’. In other words, post several valuable information pieces, followed by one promotional piece. On this last piece, make sure that you tell patients what you want them to do, such as ‘call our office’ or ‘tap the link to make an appointment’.


  • Have a theme for each day: Do you run a Behavioural Optometry Practice? For example: Monday– post tips about eyecare for kids, Tuesday– post about tips for reducing computer vision syndrome, etc.


  • Encourage your staff to think of ideas: Allow them to be creative and think of interesting posts or stories. For example, one team member might come up with a post about Memorial Day. An optician may take a ‘before & after’ post after fixing seriously crooked frames.


  • What is the best time to post on Instagram? At the moment, you can’t find out directly from Instagram. However, it may be added soon. In the meantime, you can run a trial version of paid apps, such as Iconosquare. This shows you the best time to post on Instagram, based on your previous posts. You’ll also see  which posts received the most likes or comments. You can then use this to optimise your future posts.


  • How long are your posts visible? Previously, Instagram showed posts based on how recently they were posted. Recently, Instagram changed this to be less chronological, and more based on images that it believes your followers will like. The most visibility that you will have is in the first six hours. However, for me, most of the likes and comments on my posts tend to happen in the first three hours.


  • How can you extend the visibility of your posts? Use hashtags to boost your exposure beyond this. You may be familiar with hashtags. They are different conversation ‘categories’.What hashtags should you use? Try this. Open Instagram, tap the search icon at the bottom, and do a search for #glasses. Tap some of the posts and scroll down to the description. Find out what other hashtags have been used. Write down some of the common ones that are used in conjunction with (#glasses, or #eyecare).Do you use an iPhone or iPad? Download the free app called Grama app from the App Store. It makes it easier to find popular hashtags, even local ones. For example, typing in ‘Haslet’ (as in Haslet, Texas) gives ‘Fortworth’, ‘Texas’, ‘fortworthtx’, ‘saginaw’ and others.


  • Try to post to a mixture of popular hashtags and less-popular hashtags. Instagram will tell you how popular that a hashtag is. For example, you might post to popular hashtags (for better exposure to new patients), and less popular hashtags (that are visible for longer, since they’re updated less often).


  • Do a cross-promotion with another local business. Start with businesses that know you. For example, you might be located nearby a Jewellery Store. Share one of their posts to your followers. Use the Repost app from the App Store. The other local business could do the same for you. It’s a win-win for both of you!


  • For existing patients on Instagram, get them to take a selfie with their new frames and tag your practice in their post. This tells their friends/followers about you! It also gives ‘social proof’ that you have great frames in your practice.


  • Lastly, tell your patients that you’re on Instagram. Share your Instagram username everywhere on your business card, website, recall letters, email signature, newsletters and others.

Bonus tip:

  • My favourite app for creating Instagram posts is Adobe Spark Post (iOS)! It is free and super easy to add photos and text on the go. All the images are public domain too. Have a play with it!

I hope this helps you to get up to speed with Instagram quickly!

I look forward to hearing how you go with it. If you haven’t already, follow me on Instagram @optomleigh.

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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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