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ECPs Are Learning the Power of Social Marketing

We take a look in this edition at how eyecare professionals can realize increased visibility and communicate the value of their service via the new marketing tools that social and digital media provide.

First, Foursquare Day founder, Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, provides some practical insights into how to keep "checkins" fresh and vital, with the third edition of 4SqDay approaching on Monday April 16. And we examine a great new resource from Transitions which can help take eyecare professionals step-by-step in defining how, what and where they can better market and explain their expertise and build connections with patients.

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

—The Editors





Embracing a "Social Media Holiday":
April 16 Is Foursquare Day

By Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care

TAMPA, Fla.—Monday, April 16 is the third Annual International Foursquare Day. Frequently shortened to "4sqDay," the day is observed by millions of social media fans around the world as their "first global social media holiday."

In 2009, I became enamored with the location-based service application, foursquare. I wondered how I could use this new technology to promote my practice and I blogged that since 4 squared equals 16, 4/16/2010 would be a perfect "Foursquare Day" event at the office. The idea was infectious and by the first 4sqDay, 15,000 in 300 communities around the world participated. In 2011, it was even bigger with over 3 million foursquare check ins and over 1,000 events world-wide. This year promises to be even bigger.

Here are some ways that I have found to keep the event fresh:

  • Continuity: Even though the actual day of celebration is April 16, we made efforts to keep things going in the "off season." We came up with the slogan "Make every day a foursquare day" so that we could transition the 4sqday brand from a single annual event to a blog that covers the people who use foursquare. This has provided continuous content to engage people and keep 4sqDay top of mind.
  • Tradition: Over the three years of 4sqDay, we have developed activities that have become familiar for users. These are both nostalgic for long-time observers of the day and fun for the new participants. One example is Fake4sqday, a day when people post made-up foursquare check ins such as visiting the moon or oval office. It is simple, creative, and helps participants engage with the event.
  • New Blood: The entire organization of 4sqDay is composed of volunteers who participate because it is fun and rewarding. But this also means that the very people that make it happen will lose interest and move on. Just as it is necessary to hire and train optical staff, it is important to identify people who are interested in taking on leadership roles and providing them with the tools and information to be successful.
  • Expansion: As with event organizers, it is important to reach out to new users. Since 2011, there has been an explosion of international users. We make a special effort to reach out to them and help maker their first 4sqDay special.
  • Adaptation: As stated above, in the social media world change is constant. Each year that we have organized 4sqDay we have taken advantage of the new tools that people are using. In 2010, we spent dozens of hours creating a custom website and blog. In 2011, we effectively used and YouTube to connect with foursquare fans. This year, Pinterest is the white-hot social application and we are using it to simply and effectively promote both the history and current celebration.

This year at my office, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, we have decided to run a 32% discount on glasses purchases with any foursquare check in on 4sqDay. Why 32%? Because it is 16 X 2 and it seemed like a good way to extend the geekiness of the day. We will promote it via the usual social channels such as our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Hopefully it will be successful.

So Happy Foursquare Day! It has been an interesting experiment that has included both cutting-edge technology and traditional eyecare marketing. Enjoy the day. Take a moment to explore your city and the social media scene.

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, FAAO, Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, Tampa, Fla., is an optometrist specializing in the vision of infants and children. A social media evangelist, "Dr. Nate" has been a speaker at two CLICK Conferences: September 2011 and September 2010. He blogs to eyecare professionals about social media and practice management at Review of Optometric Business. He is a member of the social media committee of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and is chair of the Florida Optometric Association's Children's Vision Committee. He founded Foursquare Day in March 2010.



A New Tool Helps Build An Interactive Marketing Plan

NEW YORK—Any marketing expert will tell you that a strong marketing plan requires a clear understanding of your business' identity and a prioritizing of what you want to achieve.

Eyecare professionals can now have such a service that can guide them. A new, online marketing tool and guide from Transitions Optical, Inc. helps to build an interactive marketing plan for their independent practices. Found at, the Marketing Wiz provides ECPs with guidance and resources for assessing the needs of their practice, retaining current patients, acquiring new patients and increasing revenue through a variety of strategies and tactics.

After registering for the tool, ECPs can use the Marketing Wiz to complete an overall practice self-assessment, derived from industry experts and a panel of independent eyecare professionals. The assessment–which takes about 15 minutes to complete–will help the practice identify their unique marketing needs based on a rating generated from their answers. The Marketing Wiz will then guide the professional through their results and help them set practice-specific marketing goals and build a marketing plan that includes a dynamically generated calendar of tactical steps required to achieve these goals.

The lively and graphic Marketing Wiz offers eyecare professionals various strategies for achieving three main marketing objectives: patient retention, patient acquisition and increasing revenue per patient.

As strategies are selected, the Marketing Wiz will recommend resources–or tactics–to help eyecare professionals achieve their unique goals. Resources include links to step-by-step guides and related Transitions Optical tools and information. The Marketing Wiz also offers additional resources such as a sample marketing plan, tips for analyzing a practice from a patient's perspective, team building techniques and tools for determining a marketing budget.

After an initial marketing plan is created with the Marketing Wiz, ECPs can choose to update their plan, track their goals through e-mail updates and create multiple marketing plans for various locations, if applicable. "We know how busy eyecare professionals are–and that time and resources are focused on patient care–the Marketing Wiz will help them to focus their marketing efforts and set goals that make the most sense for their businesses," said Carole Bratteig, professional development and education manager, Transitions Optical.



A new tool is targeting contact lens prescribers, Developed by an optometrist, Jason E. Compton, OD, also CEO, was designed to provide users easily accessible and current information regarding contact lenses and contact lens care products. The website is a search engine with a robust infrastructure that allows for detailed searches that yield results on over 2,000 contact lens products from more than 150 different contact lens manufacturers. The Right Contact Team has also developed a new method for prescribers to research this information. The site enables users to search and compare lenses (as well as lens care products) on dozens of preferred and relevant parameters.
The site also provides other services encompassing all of the major areas of needs for eye care professionals, regardless of the level or stage of their career. Aside from parameter and fitting guides, is designed to be a valuable information portal with a social element that unites users through the sharing of news, articles, patient care assistance and other pertinent industry-related data.


VISTAKON Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., and the makers of ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses, have lined up the 2012 celebrity ensemble for this year's "ACUVUE 1-DAY Contest." The contest, now in its second year, will give five winners the chance to meet and be mentored for a day by one of the five teen icons. This year's celebs include pop star Demi Lovato, musician Joe Jonas, TV start Tyler Blackburn, actress Meaghan Martin and champion sprinter Allyson Felix. The five lucky winners will also receive a second trip to Los Angeles to attend a teen event, and a one-year supply of 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST Brand Contact Lenses. ECPs can encourage their patients to enter now through June 7, 2012 on the ACUVUE Brand channel on YouTube and upload a 30-to-60-second video showcasing what they hope to achieve one day, how they find the confidence to pursue their dreams and why they should be chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime mentorship opportunity.
Contestants also will be able to view other entries and vote for their favorite to win one of five First Prizes—$1,000 each to put towards their dream of what they will do 1-DAY.


A Billion Acts of Green

Millions of individuals and businesses are pledging to stay green and advance sustainability. With April 22, 2012's Earth Day approaching, this site enables you, your staff, your friends and colleagues to actually "Pledge an Act of Green" and register it on the site, as well as to join the site's community of people promising to advocate for the cause, reduce waste, recycle and take part in raising awareness of environmental issues.


Caricature Software

A photo editing software site called Caricature Software works as a tool to enable users to convert photographs into cartoons and illustrations by converting any photograph into quality vector art. The resulting cartoons, the site says, can be used as avatars, to sign emails and letters, make greeting cards and party announcements, or create a unique art gift. Photo to Cartoon is also a tool to make custom coloring books from photographs. The site features a Gallery of ideas and examples. The software requires a purchase, but there is a free trial experience.

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