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Keeping an Eye on Apps and Remembering Basics on Facebook

An increasing number of U.S. adults are downloading mobile apps to their smartphones and tablets. We take a look at the latest data on the topic from the newest report at Pew Internet Life Project, one of the most respected monitors of the online space.

Despite the speed of change in the mobile world, it's also important to remember the basic elements of a successful social media presence. Frequent CLICK contributor Bob Main reminds eyecare professionals about what they need to know about their practice Facebook pages.

Remember that every edition of CLICK helps you keep up with the latest digital and social media trends. Take a spin through the easy-to-access CLICK Archive located under the CLICK button at, which features dozens of Cool Tools, Sites to See and other resources for building your web image and your office's connection to patients. You can also learn from other ECPs, particularly about how they've grappled with the growth of social media. Take some time, alone or with your team, to watch their talks and look at their presentations from CLICK's 2nd Annual Conference earlier this fall, sponsored by Hoya The Free-Form Company. CLICK's videos are posted at VM's Video page.

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




Going Mobile: Pew Study Reflects the Growth of Mobile Apps

The share of adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app nearly doubled in the past two years—from 22 percent in September 2009 to 38 percent in August 2011—according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

When adults whose phones came preloaded with apps are also accounted for, fully half of U.S. adult cell phone owners (50 percent) now have apps on their phones. In May 2010, that figure stood at 43 percent. The survey also finds that among the 10 percent of adults who currently own a tablet computer, three-quarters (75 percent) report downloading apps to their tablet. This translates to 8 percent of all U.S. adults.

However, just 46 percent of downloaders have paid for an app, according to the report, written by Kristen Purcell, Pew's associate director, research.

These findings are from a survey conducted from July 25 - August 26 among 2,260 adults ages 18 and over, including surveys in English and Spanish and on both landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Moreover, in May 2011, Pew data showed that 35 percent of adults in the U.S. owned smartphones. Yet app downloading and use, while growing rapidly, is fairly low given the wide range of activities U.S. adults now engage in on their phones. Because many of these activities require "apps," one might expect the percent of cell owners who download apps to perform these popular tasks (such as email, playing games, listening to music) to be higher. Having apps and using apps are not synonymous. In May 2010, Pew Internet data showed that only about two-thirds (68 percent) of adults who had apps on their phones reported actually using them.



The Five Things You DON'T Want To Do With Your
ECP Facebook Page

By Bob Main

Building and managing a Facebook page for your ECP practice or optical company can seem confusing and overwhelming. But it doesn't really need to be. There are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind when building your Facebook page that will make it a winning site that can be used as a powerful tool to help grow your optical practice/business. Here are five things you definitely want to avoid.

1. Don't Ignore It

One of the most important social media goals you should have is to get patients (and prospective patients) to "engage" with your Facebook page. By that, I mean that they actually post a comment on your Facebook page in response to something you posted. This is great when it happens because it demonstrates people are reading the material you post and it is interesting to them. To encourage more people to comment on your posts, and to reward them for taking the time to comment, be sure to respond to their comment in a timely manner (see example of a conversation thread). The key word here is "timely." A prompt response to their comment shows that your practice is interested in "being social" with them. A slow response tends to demonstrate that your practice is not really interested in an "online conversation." The rule of thumb is that all comments need a response within 6 hours (business hours). I also recommend that someone in the practice/business monitor the Facebook page during non-business hours so responses don't take days to happen. To efficiently track and know when people post on your Facebook page, without physically constantly checking Facebook, use online tools such as or These free online tools (downloadable to your computer), once properly set up, will give you a real-time, running news feed of people as they comment on your posts. These programs can also be set up to monitor your Twitter account and many other social media sites.

2. Don't Let The Banner Get Lost

The banner, in the upper left-hand part of your page, is part of the most important "real estate" on your Facebook page. When someone is visiting your page for the first time, they may only give it a few seconds to communicate to them what you do and if they should spend more time looking around the site. The maximum size for the banner is 180 pixels by 540 pixels. Most sites are only using a portion of this space (see example). Since this area can be a "billboard" that communicates a quick story about your practice/business, take advantage of this space. Have your banner professionally designed, and give its content a lot of thought. It should contain photos or graphics of "what you do". For example, if you primarily sell eyeglasses, have a high resolution photo of a stylish frame.

3. Don't let the top photos become a distraction

Probably the most ignored part of most Facebook pages are the photos at the top. This is also prime real-estate on your page. They should quickly communicate what you do and project an image about your practice/business. You can control what photos are displayed in this area by clicking on the photo albums section and "hiding" the photos from the display area that are not supporting what you are visually trying to communicate on the page. Additionally, most photos that are displayed in this area are too big for the section.

Photos that are to be displayed here should be resized to about 100 pixels by 100 pixels. Use a photo editing program (such as PhotoShop or to resize the photos. This will insure that all of the photos are visible and not truncated.

4. Don't ignore the "info" tab

Many times people come to your Facebook page for "contact information" about your practice/business. The "info tab" (located in the left navigation area under the banner) is the logical place to put this information on a basic Facebook page. Be sure to populate this area with your hours of operation, phone numbers, address, practice specialties, etc. Check the map that is pre-loaded into this section by default. Be sure it is correctly displaying your location. A more user-friendly option is to turn off the default map and insert a Google Maps locator (see Google Map Maker). This will allow visitors the ability to get detailed directions from their house to your practice, and they can print out the directions.

5. Don't forget the reason people are on Facebook

Facebook can be a very valuable relationship marketing tool, if used properly. But the key is to recognize that people are on Facebook to "be social". They are engaging in online conversations with their friends, relatives. They are exchanging photos of the grandkids and talking about the restaurant they went to last night. They are not on Facebook to get a sales pitch. Your Facebook page and the content posted should do one of 4 things: be engaging, be educational, be informative and/or entertaining. This includes holding contests, posting trivia, posting eyecare information; perhaps photos of new frames you are carrying, etc. Go to and to design applications and tabs for your Facebook page. Posts such as "have a good weekend" probably don't fit into any of these four categories. If posts are not engaging, entertaining, informative or educational; people will un-follow your Facebook page and your practice will lose the opportunity to stay connected with them.

Don't get overwhelmed or discouraged with the process of managing your Facebook page. Knowing and following a few simple guidelines, like these five, will allow you to attract and engage with more patients and prospective patients. The end result is that you will have a powerful tool to stay connected with your patients while they are "outside of the buying cycle."

Bob Main is an optical industry veteran, with over 25 years of retail optical experience and the last six years specifically engaged in internet marketing and social media. As an Internet Business Coach/Consultant, Bob's blog offers ECPs and optical retailers the information they need to learn how to grow their practice/business using the power of the internet. Bob can be reached at



Have you ever thought that you could make your team's brainstorming sessions more productive? Do you wish you could keep better track of great ideas, concepts and suggestions from all of your discussions? At this site, the concept of "mindmapping" is basically a way of keeping tabs, via several proprietary online tools, of discussions and plans for your business, in formats that designated members of different project teams can share. According to the site, Mindmeister has been built from the ground up to facilitate collaboration. Users can share any creation easily by inviting users by email, or simply send them a unique and secure direct link. Once shared, you can start a thinking session and collaborate on any mind map in real-time. Color-coded effects will highlight changes by other users within seconds, and the integrated live chat will let you exchange thoughts with your peers directly.

You can infinitely undo all changes; revert to any particular prior revision and even playback the entire evolution of your mind map using Mindmeister's patented History View. Users of an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or Android device can access their mind maps from wherever they are, using the site's own mobile applications. When using the browser interface of MindMeister, you don't even need an Internet connection, provided you've enabled the Offline Mode. Mind maps are stored securely online, all you need is a standard web browser. All collaborators access the same version, eliminating the danger of conflicting versions. Mindmeister offers Personal, Pro and Business versions for a different fee/set of services per month.



Need a diversion? Want to be inspired by the unusual, dramatic, poignant or funny? Then check out TwistedSifter where you can sign up for daily updates or follow the site's posts via Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook. The content is creative, clever or just plain interesting. Photos are from all over the world and range from the awe-inspiring to the shocking. Every Wednesday, the Sifter posts This Day in History. On Fridays, the Shirk Report showcases the 20 funniest images, 10 interesting articles and five viral videos from the prior week. The Saturday Strip features the best comic strip.

Enjoy? OK, now....get back to work!


The ODLean program at The Vision Care Institute, LLC has launched the ODLean Facebook page. The site provides commentary, key learnings and industry trends from ODLean experts on the topics of productivity, marketing, and patient experience. It also features weekly practice management and marketing tips, and serves as a forum for discussion among optometrists, ophthalmologists, and their staff. The ODLean Consulting program at The Vision Care Institute applies lean principles for eyecare practitioners to grow a practice's patient base, increase foot traffic, and manage patient flow for optimal retention, referral and revenue. ODLean offers customized solutions to any-sized eyecare practice that will increase efficiency, improve patient experience, and boost profits immediately and sustainably. More info about ODLean is also posted at


Eyefinity has rebranded its Business Essentials solution to eyeVantage. The solution is a collection of online educational assets, proprietary tools and best practices that lay the foundation for the success of independent eyecare practices.

As part of any OfficeMate client's annual software maintenance agreement, eyeVantage is available complimentary and provides exclusive access to best-in-class training courses, ranging from basic optics to business management. Clients have 24/7 access to all of eyeVantage's benefits, including 15-minute role-based training modules designed to maximize staff training time, a peer-to-peer forum with interactive Q&A, best practices, daily tips and an OfficeMate support section and a frequently-updated industry news dashboard with timely updates on trends and topics impacting eyecare businesses. Providers looking to take their practice to the next level can sign up for eveVantage Advanced, which offers an even wider set of tools and training to help their practice thrive. Current Business Essentials clients can use their same username and password for eyeVantage, the company said.


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