An Actual Social Media Case Study
[NOTE: Names have been changed to protect the innocent]
So, about eighteen months ago I visited my eye doctor for a checkup. At the time, there was no social media conduit for communication (Key word: Communication) between my optometrist and his patients. He had a very nice website, but it wasn’t doing much talking either.
About 12 months after my visit with the good doctor, I was expressing to a friend what a bad experience I had with the optician. She advised me to let the Doc know since expressing my opinion was in some way effecting his business. How many people had I shared my story with who would have changed their opinions of that particular practice? I couldn’t say. So I decided to stop telling the negative, damaging story (He is a very good optometrist after all) and let him know so he could fix his practice.
That’s just what I did, via his private email and he kindly responded. At this time, I noticed he had a new Facebook Fan Page. I also noticed, there was almost no activity. On the second day of April I left a nice review and watched patiently for someone to respond.
I have been watching for more than 6 months.
Now, Dr. …er, um, Sam. Yes, Dr. Sam is an excellent optometrist (Recently Voted Friendliest Service, in 2010 by the (Something) News “Best of the Best” Readers Poll). Make no doubt about it; he is friendly. He is not, however, an internet marketer, and I am going to point out a few mistakes he’s made in not engaging (or training his staff to engage) his many patients (i.e. Clients/Customers).
It’s my personal belief that if some businesses put away their old marketing ideas (print media, TV & radio ads) and just talked to their clients, customer and patients via a social channel, then they would save a TON of money and have a farther reaching, deeper impacting effect on their overall business.
Since April (as of this writing), Dr. Sam’s practice, (Something) Eye Care, has gained 32 fans and a whopping 24 followers on Twitter. Design-wise their social sites are very attractive, as is his website. Now, we know that design is great, but it doesn’t get you friends, fans or followers, which convert to highly satisfied customers. (I should note here that I love design and I think it is very important. It’s just not going to do all the work for you)
He also puts links to his Page and Twitter handle into email communications and on his website (WTG, BTW!) and that has garnered a few fans and follower, no doubt, but is it enough?
The key ingredient (and I hope dear reader you have stuck with me this far because this is pure gold) is the three pillars of social media success – Share, Engage and Connect.
It’s that simple. Want more followers on your Fan Page or on Twitter? Give them something worth reading. Share. I hear, “Content Is King,” all over the place, but the truth is, if you’re not talking, I guarantee no one is listening. Say something, anything, and you’ll begin the process of finding listeners. Anyone can do that. It just takes minutes a day.
Then you have to Engage. Say you share something and someone comments, retweets or responds to you in some way? Don’t just let them hang – engage them. Thank them, follow up with a questions, invite them to interact with your “media” in another way. This is imperative! How many people like to be in a one-way conversation? Not very exciting. In some cases, it’s even a turn off.
Do the first two pillars right, and you will Connect. It’s as simple as that. When something new comes along, they’ll be the first ones to broadcast it to their inner circle of friends. I know this for a fact.
Your fans live in a community and interact with the businesses in your town. They have friends who live here, and they interact on Facebook and Twitter. When they are looking for an eye doctor, for example, are they sending them to or from your door? Use the tools right and watch them come.
Now I know Dr. Sam is busy. He’s a very nice man and he has built a very successful practice. He may not feel a desire to put any energy into his social media strategy because his “business machine” works just fine. Then again, by taking the effort to Share, Engage and Connect, he could do even better.
What about you and your business? Have you given it any thought? What’s your Share-Engage-Connect strategy, and how does everything you do, from your Fan Page to your cash register, reflect that? Let me know, I’d love to hear your story.