Audrey Raley, OD, created her Instagram page, Doc_Raley_OD in May of last year as a way to let her friends and family follow her journey into entrepreneurship with the opening of her own practice, Refined Eye Care. Almost a year later, Dr. Raley opened the doors of Refined Eyecare to her patients and as her practice has gotten on its feet, so has her presence on social media.

“I created my IG page in May of 2018 as an announcement of the decision I made to open cold,” she stated. “I opened my doors for patients on March 14, 2019 and our grand opening celebration was on June 8. Entrepreneurship is thrilling. It’s a constant challenge. There is so much reward in being the ‘master of your own destiny’ and creating something uniquely yours.” In the year that Doc_Raley_OD has been up, the account has amassed 1,365 followers—some of them even sliding into her DMs asking for appointments. It’s no wonder that Dr. Raley’s Instagram has gained such popularity in a short amount of time. Her aim is to be professional, while also being authentic and personable.

Most of her page consists of her life at Refined Eye Care—whether she’s helping her neighbors get new glasses, raving about a cool eye-shaped mirror she found at Pottery Bar or her beautiful pup, Hazel running around the office—Dr. Raley wants her followers to see that Refined Eye Care is a relaxed environment to be.

“I try really hard to maintain authenticity in my posts. I actually have never ‘scheduled’ a post. And I don’t actually set aside designated time to work on social media on a regular basis...although I probably should. I kind of ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ and post as I have new ideas, when I’m inspired, or when I feel compelled to share something with my followers.” During the build-out process of her practice, Dr. Raley also shared each and every step of the way—from digging, to the framing of the walls, color selection, installation of lights all the way to the furnishing of the space—the year-long process is still available to watch on her Instagram Highlights as well as IGTV.

In addition, to posting about the goings on of her office, Dr. Raley also features information about various frames found in her practice, inspirational quotes as well as eyecare tips. “I decided to keep a mix of what is going on/happening at my office, what kind of experiences I encounter as a doctor and business owner, and all the fun things like eye facts, tips and frames. I like to educate as well, because many of my followers are not in ey care and I get the opportunity to share the importance of eye health, different eye conditions, and why annual eye exams are important,” she said.

With the new practice underway, it is no question that finding time to be on social media can be a bit challenging for the new practice owner. Nonetheless, she makes sure to update her timeline at least once a week and posts to her Instagram Stories every 24 to 48 hours.

Time management aside, being on social media has been an overall positive and rewarding experience for this go-getting Texas native. What started out as a page for friends and family, has now turned into a way to also connect with patients and peers who also want to venture into owning their own businesses.

“IG is like a window into someone’s life. I think people enjoy getting to see the day-to-day and I really enjoy connecting with my followers and people in my industry to stay up to date on new trends and styles.

“Sharing the story of creating my own practice and getting to share advice/mentor others who want to do the same [has been rewarding]. I think of it as ‘paying it forward.’ There are many people who have had a part in helping me achieve my success thus far.”