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Learning How 'Social' Can Influence 'Recommendations'

Eyecare pracitioners and retailers are beginning to better leverage the direct-to-patient communications enabled by Facebook. We highlight two new examples of this in this edition of CLICK: we take a look at Clarkson Eyecare's new mobile app, which lets patients learn more about this major St. Louis eyecare provider and book appointments on the go and we also examine how is reaching out to patients to help educate them about the importance of vision care in imaginative new ways.

We also learn from CLICK's regular contributor, Dr. Alan Glazier, about how the "recommendation" realm is also being transformed by the power and higher perceived value of known "social" networks. He enlightens us about

CLICK, Vision Monday's e-newsletter, continues to be an essential resource in its twice-monthly briefings to ECPs about web technology and Internet developments. Past articles, featuring specific examples, programs and tips that you can use today, are available in our CLICK Archive. Don't forget the CLICK Archive features dozens of Cool Tools and important Sites to See which offer content and resource ideas for your sites and your social media activities. The easy-to-access Archives are located under the CLICK button at

Have you tried something new on your website or launched a special social media campaign? Tell us about it and we'll consider it for an upcoming feature in CLICK.

—The Editors




Reaching Consumers in New Ways: Apps and Facebook Contests

NEW YORK—St. Louis-based Clarkson Eyecare has a new app available in the iTunes and Android markets. The app is free to download and features a wide variety of information to streamline the appointment process on a mobile device.

Scheduling an appointment is made simple with an easy click-to-call feature on all 50 locations, with a special section on the latest in office promotion as well. Offices are broken down by geographic area. There's also a section dedicated to the LASIK procedures performed at the two area Clarkson LASIK centers. This feature has details on all four types of procedures performed by Clarkson's surgeons as well as general LASIK information and frequently asked questions.

Tesha Peel, director of marketing for Clarkson Eyecare, said, "Clarkson is continually looking for new ways to simplify the appointment process for our patients. Now it's easy to schedule an appointment with any of our offices whenever you think of it." The survey portion of the app also makes it easy to provide valuable feedback from a patient's visit, something Tesha says is vital to maintaining the high level of customer service Clarkson is known for. "We want to know about every patient's experience with our offices, and the survey on the app gives everyone the opportunity to give us this feedback immediately."

The Clarkson Eyecare app can be downloaded for free on any iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android phone.

Another new initiative for building awareness about eyecare is from the folks at The Think About Your Eyes Campaign, who will invite consumers to "Make a Spectacle of Yourself" with the launch of a new Facebook contest. The contest, part of the campaign's ongoing efforts to promote eye health awareness, encourages entrants to protect their eyes with proper eyewear that blocks 100 percent of UV rays and to show off their eyewear by submitting a photo. More than 30 million Americans suffer from a serious eye disease, many of which could be avoided through wearing proper UV protective eyewear.

The "Make a Spectacle of Yourself" Facebook contest will offer four lucky winners the chance to win a $400 general use gift card, and the winning photos will be featured as profile images on the Think About Your Eyes Facebook page.

"The contest was kicked off during Optometry's Meeting last week, to generate excitement among both students and industry professionals," said Mike Daley, president and executive director, Foundation for Eye Health Awareness. "We hope to remind Americans of the importance of wearing proper eyewear to protect their eyes this summer and throughout the year. Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage the eye's surface and internal structures, but the good news is that there are steps we all can take to protect our eyes."

Entrants can submit an original photo of themselves or their child wearing eyewear by visiting the Think About Your Eyes Facebook page and clicking on the Contest tab. The contest begins on June 13 and ends on July 10 and is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older.

For more information about the "Make a Spectacle of Yourself" Facebook contest, including the official rules, please visit



Can Reviews Be More Meaningful? New Social Recommendation Services

By Alan Glazier, OD, FAAO

Social review sites like Yelp enable recommendations for a particular business that are not selective; you are depending on the word-of-mouth referrals of a vast number of strangers—people who are generally not in your network.

But, think how much your confidence would be increased if reviews were generated solely from your social circle? Recommendations from those closest to you, friends and other close connections, are the most valuable recommendations, and the ability to comfortably contact those friends to get more information would add another social layer to the experience.

Social recommendation services are in fact a new web trend. Several new businesses are morphing their algorithms to weigh recommendations from one's social circle greater than general online recommendations. Since Facebook is, right now, with upwards of 500 million users, widely recognized as having THE most powerful social graph, my money is on a Facebook app to win the social recommendation game, and right now it looks like is in the lead. enables local businesses to capture recommendations by friends and customers one is connected to online, like on your Facebook businesss page. It also enables you to find professionals through Facebook via friend recommendations, similar to how one might use LinkedIn but specific to your Facebook network. recommendations may also have search optimization value. There is also SEO benefit, within and perhaps outside of Facebook. When you are an optometrist or optician with a social network and a significant number of the people who have a relationship with you recommend you within your network, your content, conversations and network recommendations tag you as a thought leader for queries on "optometrist" or "optician" and help enhance your visibility when someone searches for keywords or keyphrases that are relevant to similar queries.

I have been participating on for a few months now and building my network. My friends and contacts have been enthusiastic about providing recommendations, and every time a recommendation is provided, it shows up on my Facebook wall for all my connections to see, keeping my expertise and services in the forefront of the minds of my significant social network.

Google is also getting into the game, and while I won't discount the ability of the 800 lb. gorilla to make an impact, they have a dismal history of attempting to participate in the social web. Their +1 button is their attempt at a more efficient way for searchers to recommend content to friends without pointing away from search engine results. The +1 button allows your contacts through Gmail to see what links you like. Each time you search, the results will have a "+1" button you can click which prompts Google to share that link with your network. It's kind of a Google "Like" button. I am watching this feature and playing around with it, but I am not sold on it yet.

Connect with me on Facebook and visit my page and recommend me and I'll be sure to do the same!

Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO is the founder/CEO of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. A search and social optimization consultant, he is now a regular contributor to CLICK and also writes a regular blog for Glazier is at and his regular posts can be found via his Twitter handle: @EyeInfo, his blog: and his website: Author: Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.


Owned and operated by WebMD and part of the WebMD Network, is an online, healthcare media company which provides easy-to-read, in-depth and authoritative medical information for consumers. A resource of comprehensive health information on a range of topics, the site also features thousands of articles, graphs, images and basic information about vision care and eyecare conditions in its EyeSight center, EyeSight A to Z list and related sites.


A modern site that features health-care related videos in particular, to target the "under 35" demographic. focuses on the health topics that matter most to this audience, including: diet & fitness, mental & emotional health, sexual health, pregnancy, baby health & childcare, beauty & grooming, drugs & alcohol, and more. Dozens of short articles and videos about vision and vision care are included, too.



From basic definitions of glaucoma, presbyopia and AMD to understanding the why's and how's of vision care plans, Lifestyle is a web portal dedicated to women's health, with a modern look and design. It offers a information and advice on a range of health and lifestyle topics, with dozens of articles in the vision care realm as well as style-driven slide shows about choosing eyeglasses.


Healthy Vision With Dr. Val Jones

Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., has launched Healthy Vision With Dr. Val Jones, a new radio program devoted to educating and improving the eye health of Americans.

"Americans spend surprisingly little time thinking about their eyes, even though they're critical to their quality of life," said program host Val Jones, MD, CEO of Better Health, LLC, a network of popular health bloggers, and author of "Dr. Val and the Voice of Reason," which won The Best New Medical Blog award in 2007.

"Research shows that many people share the misguided belief that seeing well translates to good eye health. As a result, they often don't see an eyecare professional regularly, or take the necessary steps to protect their eyes from things like UV (ultraviolet) damage. Eyecare professionals are a critical part of a primary care medical team."

The program, supported by ACUVUE Brand contact lenses, features Dr. Jones joined by experts from around the country. On the inaugural program, they discuss: What's in an Eye Exam? Are You Contact Lens Compliant? and Protecting Your Eyes From the Sun.

Free podcasts of Healthy Vision With Dr. Val Jones can be found in the iTunes Store (for best results, search for the show by its complete title. You will find it in LifeMinute.TV Health), BlogTalk Radio and on A link to the show also can be found here.


VSP's EyeFiles With NBA's Tyreke Evans

VSP Vision Care has launched the second season of its EyeFiles webisode (video) series, starring NBA phenom and Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans. The entertaining four-part webisode series takes a peek inside the life of a mom as she wrestles with the concerns she has over her children's eye health.

The videos also feature VSP optometrist, Leanne Liddicoat, OD, who offers tips to help keep children's vision healthy whether they are playing sports, playing outside in the sun, using digital devices or watching 3D movies.

"Without good vision, I wouldn't be able to make a pass, sink a jumper or have done well in school," said Evans. "Healthy eyesight is a huge factor for kids developing skills on the court and in the classroom and that's why it is so important for them to get an annual eye exam."

Episode One (sports vision) is now on the EyeFiles tab on the VSP Facebook page. Not on Facebook? View it on the VSP YouTube page. Stay tuned for the remaining three webisodes, which roll out every two weeks until the end of July.


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