Your brand as an optometrist is already awesome! You will then be wondering if this article is even necessary. Why do I still need to develop my brand as an expert optometrist? Branding as you will come to see is not just what you think you are but how your target audience perceives you. Developing your personal brand as an optometrist is about deliberately positioning yourself for eye health consumers to see you as the primary eye care expert you are.
Imagine you traveled home for Christmas. While sitting outside and enjoying your goat meat pepper soup, a member of the community rushes in. He is carrying a toddler and shouting, doctor! doctor! emergency, my baby is dying’. Meanwhile, they could have rushed to the nearest community hospital but, no. Instead, they came to you because they know you as a doctor.
They are ignorant of the difference between a medical doctor and a doctor of optometry. Also because you are a relative, it is a cheaper option for them. Some of us have had such experiences. Many in our communities don’t know who an optometrist is. Many people may still be seeking eye care in the wrong places while you are there.
Your brand is not what you think you are but what people think of you when you are not there.
Following self-discovery, these 4 important steps will help you develop your brand as an awesome optometrist.
- Purpose-driven social media strategy
- Website design aligned with strategy
- Audience-focused content strategy
- Community networking
1. Start With Yourself – Your Personal Brand
Developing your brand as an optometrist starts with you. Who am I? This is a question you must sincerely answer. Why am I an optometrist? What is my life purpose? It is also very important to ask like Jesus asked, who do people say I am? This is extremely important. No one can rightly fault a brand definition from the owner of arguably the biggest brand in the world – Amazon. This is my favorite definition of a brand. I quoted it in a previous article – Your Personal Brand: What Is It And Why Develop It?
According to Jeff Bezos,
Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Knowing where you are with a view of where you are going determines what you do today. If you are an optometrist working for an established eye clinic, do you want to run your own tomorrow or get into a partnership? Then you would want people to know you as who you are, not as the brand you currently work for. From personal experience, I worked in a setting for so long that many people called me by the hospital’s name when they met me. You must deliberately fashion this out or it will be done for you. Your brand promise must be aligned with your brand practices to offer an expected brand or consumer experience.
2. Maintain a Purpose-Driven Social Media Strategy
Yes, they are called social media platforms. All the same, we must note that today brands are built or destroyed through social media. Many of us joined one platform or the other because others were doing so. Maybe because it was the vogue. You will notice many out-of-tune social media names. Now we know better.
As eye care professionals, we can’t be everywhere all the time. We must do everything for a purpose. We must remain true to our core purpose and values even while having fun. Social media for an optometry professional can not be a matter of like or dislike. Such are called vanity metrics in digital marketing. Why? Because most times they are useless. Beyond likes, you want people to take action like visiting your website, booking an appointment, or any other set goal.
Your social media strategy has to be aligned with a defined purpose. It has to be strategic to reach your target eye health consumers where they are. If for instance, you target corporate bodies who, through your research, are mostly on LinkedIn, then LinkedIn becomes a top priority platform. Designing a purpose-driven social media strategy starts with knowing your target audience’s social platform of choice, how they engage, and what type of content they consume. It must also be measurable and with a well-defined plan of action.
3. Design A Website Aligned With Strategy
Websites have become very necessary in this digital age. A website is like a business card but interactive and works for you 24/7. It is the first impression consumers have of your brand. But you just don’t need a website. You need a strategic website that is aligned with your determined optometry brand. You don’t want a website that contradicts your personality.
The good news is that digital technology advances have made it easier to build websites. There are many site builders to start with, especially if you have a lean budget or want to start very small. Some of them are drag and drop systems you can use to build websites by yourself. They range from the easy to use do it yourself platforms like Wix to some with a deeper learning curve like Webflow. The most popular website builder and content management system powering more than 41% of all websites remain WordPress. It is versatile and customizable.
All the same, remember you need your website to be functional and an asset. For your brand as an optometrist to be effective, your website has to be:
- Well planned
- User Experience Focused
- Search engine optimized
- Represent your personality
- Designed to grow with you
4. Implement An Audience-focused Content Strategy
Content strategy can never be overemphasized. People are consuming content every second. As they say, content is king. You can be a kingmaker by creating great content of value. An effective content strategy attracts, engages, and builds profitable relationships of value. This is especially important as much unverified information populates the internet space.
As you put up content, especially in the area of your expertise, you build authority for your optometry brand. For instance, what better source to know about optometry than from an optometrist? Merely writing about the different types of eye care professionals will help your target consumers know who to see for any condition. You can educate eye health consumers on how to use eye drops. The very beautiful thing about the content you put on your site is that it can be regularly updated. It also remains there for reference purposes.
Some other content strategies you can implement include:
- Researched contents
- Curated content
- Professional Stories
- Eye health articles
- Motivational nuggets
- Video guides
- Eyecare tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, SEO-friendly blog posts on your website will offer great value and build trust for your brand.
5. Leverage Value-Driven Community Networking
As a primary eye care practitioner, you already know the importance of professional networking. Beyond getting your continuous professional development credits, networking helps you build relationships, exchange knowledge, and even unwind. You spend time with colleagues who already know you as an optometrist.
But your optometry brand needs to grow beyond your professional circle. After all, that is the source of growth for your brand. To achieve this, you need to interact with your community, build relationships with them, and offer them value beyond the eye clinic. Some avenues for community or local networking include
- Local business groups like chambers of commerce etc
- Church groups
- Voluntary organization
- Local meetups
- Media programs
- Talk Shows
You must deliberately build your optometrist brand. Whether you like it or not, you have a brand as an optometrist. It’s either you deliberately package it yourself or the digital space will do so for you. You can’t allow society to define you.
When you put your name on google, do you like the result? Does your social media bio befit your profile? Do those around you know what you do and why you do it? Objectively answering these questions is a good way to start. You package yourself and grow into a determined brand. Some of the ways to achieve this include
- Social Media
- Web Design with strategy
- Content Strategy
- Community Networking
Originally published in starrosedesigns.com as How To Develop Your Brand As An Awesome Optometrist by the same author.