This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for you!

thank you

Gratitude is a core value here at The Social Eye, so I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. Yes, dear reader, you.

It’s now just six months since I took the very scary step of leaving my corporate job to start my own digital marketing company. Like jumping out of a plane, it was both exhilarating and terrifying. And it could have been a plummet straight to earth.

But it wasn’t. My parachute opened. I found friends, supporters, cheerleaders, mentors, and most importantly, customers. And now I get to live to the life I always envisioned – flexing my talents, bringing ideas to life, geeking out over great eyeglasses, and helping others in the optical business achieve their dreams.

So thank you. If you liked or commented on a @socialeyesonyou post, or you shared one to an Instagram Story, thank you. If you read one of my blog posts, or used one of my tips, thank you. If you found me at a conference and introduced yourself, double thank you, because I really love that. If you asked me to write for your magazine, thank you, and I’m really honored. If you recommended me to an eye doctor or optical shop owner that needs social media help, then I truly cannot thank you enough. And if you hired me to manage your social media – well, you’re my hero.

But really, thank you. Because whatever you did that helped me believe that a first-time solo woman business owner like me could succeed, it worked. And I am grateful.

Want to improve your business’s social media in 2019? Need help? Please contact me. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Instagram no-no: Don’t abuse photo tags

Instagram no-no: don't abuse photo tags

One of the more powerful tools for engagement that Instagram gives us is photo tags, or the ability to tag our Instagram images with the names of other Instagram users.  The person (or brand) you’ve tagged is notified, and then it’s likely to generate likes and comments from them, increasing your relevance to each other in the Instagram algorithm, and reinforcing your relationship.

But like all powerful tools, this one can be abused. And you may be the one abusing it!

Don’t be that guy. Here’s how NOT to use Instagram photo tags:

Tagging people not in the photo


It’s really not a good idea to tag someone as being in a photo when they’re not, unless you think they would understand and agree with the tag. If, say, you photograph a gift basket that several people contributed to, and you tag all the contributors, that’s reasonable. But if you take a photo of your office, and tag a bunch of potential patients in the hopes that they’ll come in, that’s just weird. It signals that you don’t know how to be social or use Instagram.

Tagging people you don’t know as a means of introducing yourself


Tagging is sort of like saying “We’re besties!” So it feels presumptuous when someone you don’t know tags you (especially if you aren’t actually in the photo).  Start more politely with a like and comment on one of their Instagram posts instead. Then if you work up to actually being in the same room and taking a photo together, you can tag that.

Tagging people but having no other interaction with them

This is one of the more naked grabs for attention, and it absolutely does not work. If you post an image and tag a bunch of influential accounts just to yank their eyeballs over to you, how will they feel about it? Used, probably. And how will they feel about you? That you’re an opportunist who doesn’t care about them. Not a good start to any relationship.

This is a case where a hashtag would be a better choice than a photo tag. Many Instagram users, especially brands, have official hashtags they encourage you to use. For instance, I tell people to tag their photos with #thesocialeye if they want me to feature them. See if your potential tag-ee has a hashtag, and if you’re not sure if you should use it, ask them via DM.

Tagging too many people in a day

Instagram limits tags to 20 per image. But if you’ve gone really crazy with tags, at a certain point it will not let you tag anyone else for a few days. And “Instagram jail” can sometimes mean not being able to do anything on Instagram for a while. That’s a pretty good reason to chill on the tagging.

Tagging people as an insult

Even if you’re kidding, don’t do this. There’s a fine line between comedy and abuse, and Instagram takes a hard line against the latter.

Photo tags: Remember the goal

Now you might be saying…

But know this. Incorrect use of photo tags can actually lead to the opposite of what you want on Instagram. You want people to trust, identify with, and vote for you and your business with their dollars. Treat their photo tag with respect, and you’ll be on the road to getting that. Treat it with disrespect, and they’ll be much more likely to unfollow you, block you, or even report you to Instagram for abuse or spam.

Want to know what Instagram says about tags? We got you.

Need more advice about social media? Contact us.

4 reasons you should make Instagram Stories

Do Instagram Stories Scare You?

Are you feeling a little intimidated by Instagram Stories? You’re not alone.

Earlier this year, I managed an influencer campaign for an eyeglass lens manufacturer. We’d had glasses made for several fashion and beauty influencers which featured a new lens we were launching. We looked forward to them sharing what they thought of the lenses on Instagram.

But as the Instagram mentions started to appear, I was surprised to see that they weren’t showing up in regular posts as we expected, but in Instagram Stories. I panicked! Those Stories were going to disappear in 24 hours. How could I capture them to show my boss? Had I missed some already? Would their fleeting nature mean that few people would see them? And would the sponsorship dollars we’d paid the influencers have no return on investment?

You might be feeling similar discomfort with Instagram Stories. It can be exasperating to learn how to run a business account on Instagram, only to have them add a new publishing format that has its own rules. And why should you even bother?

Well, you really should bother, and here’s why.

  1. Instagram Stories are hugely popular

    Snapchat first debuted Stories in 2013, and this function helped differentiate the platform from others.  Then Instagram and Facebook cleverly figured “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” and added Stories to their capabilities in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

    Now use of Stories is growing 15x that of feeds, according to Techcrunch, and has over 300 million daily users. It probably helps that Stories are featured at the very top of the Instagram interface, and you can see that you have waiting Story content from 4 of your most relevant friends without scrolling.

    Instagram Stories position

     

  2. Stories do disappear, but not for you

    If you have an Instagram business account, your Stories are saved to an Archive, complete with stats and insights. So you can see exactly what impact your Story had, and the actions users took with it.

    Instagram Stories insights

     

    If you hired an influencer, and the Story is on their account and not yours, they can save it and send it to you, and take a snapshot of its stats. Specify this in every influencer agreement so you can track ROI effectively.

  3. You can reshare any post to your Stories

    Instagram is sometimes maddeningly simple. Every other social media platform has a way to reshare posts built into it (Retweet on Twitter, and Share on Facebook). But resharing on Instagram has always required a separate app, or crude screenshotting and cropping. There was no easy way to reshare a post and credit the original poster – until now.

    Now any public post can be reshared to your Stories, with attribution intact, and you can add GIFs, stickers, and your own comments. This is a great way to react to posts you find relevant, or reshare mentions of your account.

    Add post to Instagram Stories - step 1
    Add post to Instagram Stories - step 2

  4. You can reshare Stories you’re tagged in to your own Stories

Speaking of mentions, when your account is tagged in a Story, you’re notified and offered a way to add that Story to your Stories in one click. This is a great way for two accounts to bring attention to each other – say, you and your best customer, for example.

All these factors make Instagram Stories a publishing format you really can’t ignore. Have you tried it yet? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

Are you an optical business that needs help navigating the ever-changing social media landscape? We can help. Contact us.

Eye accessory we love: Clearlens custom lens cloths

Clearlens photo lens cloths

A crucial part of keeping patients happy with their eyewear is teaching them how to take care of it. No one likes to have the “Oops, I scratched the lens with my shirt button” conversation. So don’t let them leave your shop without a good microfiber lens cloth, and make sure it’s branded! The company we recommend for custom-printed lens cloths is Clearlens.

We’re really impressed with the quality of Clearlens’s lens cloths, and with the printing on them. They also have great ideas for making your custom lens cloth memorable.

A photo on your lens cloths?

It’s pretty amazing what Clearlens is able to print on a lens cloth. There are many textures, colors, and sizes to choose from. You can go simple, with just a one-color print of your logo and business info on a silky, 6″ x 7″ cloth. Or you can get really stunning with a full-color photo printed onto a thicker, even softer 7″ x 9″ cloth. I’ll never know how they’re able to reproduce those colors while leaving the cloth soft and glasses-safe!

Clearlens lens cloth samples

Sample some yourself

You can see what I mean by getting a set of their sample cloths. Drop Clearlens an email at info@clearlens.com and they’ll send you one of each of their cloths, printed so you can spark an idea of how you’d like to do yours.

I sent their CMO, Christina Kim, an image that I’d been thinking of putting on a cloth. She sent me back a sample that looked so great, I am definitely having some made up for my next event.

Clearlens custom image lens cloth

 

Clearlens also makes optical accessories like nosepads, nuts, and washers. Check them out at clearlens.com and consider them for your next lens cloth order.

Need more ideas for marketing your optical business? Want to up your business’s social media game? Contact us.

 

 

Eyewear After Party: Independent eyewear at a bar near you

The Eyewear After Party LA

If you sell eyewear for an eye care practice or optical shop in Southern California, then there’s an event October 9 that you should not miss: Eyewear After Party. It’s a regional independent eyewear gathering that will bring 42 independent frame lines under one roof, along with complementary food and cocktails. Even better, it’s free to attend!

Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Time:  Noon – 10PM
Address: Idle Hour, 4824 Vineland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 91601

"Just

Eyewear After Party: A brief history

The event has been gaining in popularity since two previous shows this year in Portland and Sacramento. This one looks to be the biggest one yet, with great lines showing like WOOW, Article One, Thierry Lasry, Andy Wolf, FEB 31st, Garrett Leight, RAEN, Matsuda, and many more.

For those of you not in Southern California, the After Party organizers are planning future events in other cities. A Seattle event is being scheduled for early 2019.

  • Eyewear After Party Portland
    Eyewear After Party Portland
  • Eyewear After Party Portland
    Eyewear After Party Portland
  • Eyewear After Party Portland
    Eyewear After Party Portland
  • Eyewear After Party Sacramento
    Eyewear After Party Sacramento
  • Seen at Eyewear After Party Sacramento
    Seen at Eyewear After Party Sacramento

The easiest research trip ever

Almost certainly, some of these lines will be new to you. This is an opportunity to check out a wide range of great independent eyewear in person, and in a relaxed atmosphere.

The location

Idle Hour is a historic, barrel-shaped bar and restaurant that they are completely taking over for the event. You may remember the Bulldog Cafe in its courtyard as the set for some scenes in the movie The Rocketeer.

The Idle Hour
The Idle Hour

How can I attend?

RSVP at the website below. Each RSVP will get a $50 Lyft code so you don’t have to worry about driving or parking.

eyewearafterparty.com

The Social Eye will be there! Contact us if you’d like to meet up and talk social media.

See you at the Party!

 

Eye accessory we love: ANY DI Suncover

ANY DI SunCovers

We’re just back from Vision Expo West 2018, where we found a great eye accessory we want to share: the SunCover from ANY DI. This could be the perfect merchandise to offer at your front desk.

I mean, is this not the cutest? It’s cuter than a corgi’s butt!

Eye accessory ANY DI SunCover in Cowhide, Blue Eye
Blue Eye ANY DI SunCover in Cowhide

This genius new eye accessory protects your eyeglasses or sunnies and keeps them handy. It comes from a luxury bag maker in Munich, Germany. The “eyes” snap over your lenses, and your temples fold along the back. Then you can hook the SunCover to your belt or purse.

Eye accessory ANY DI SunCover Blue Eye back view
Blue Eye ANY DI SunCover, back view

Speaking of purses, if you want one that has its own SunCover incorporated, they’ve got that, too.

Eye accessory ANY DI SunCover Bag in Daisy
ANY DI SunCover bag in Daisy

The ANY DI SunCover comes in 38 different designs and colors, including leopard, rose gold, camo, pastels, neutrals, primary colors, and traditional leather colors.

Eye accessory ANY DI SunCovers

All are high-quality cowhide, except for a few options in black made of recycled PET.

This is obviously a luxury item, and is priced accordingly. They retail for €74-84, or about $85-95 US.  But we think this is a standout eye accessory that will fly off your shelves despite the price. (I, for one, would buy one in a heartbeat.)

Think about whether SunCovers would appeal to your patients and customers. Then, if they would, contact ANY DI directly.

Want more strategies for bringing eyeglass customers running to your shop? We can help. Take a look at our services. Then contact us for a free social media analysis, and to see how we can help you.

Instagram Stories tools you should use at VEW

Instagram Stories are perfect for VEW

Vision Expo West starts this week, and a lot of people will be following along on Instagram Stories. If you’re attending and want to capture all the excitement, consider using Instagram Stories and some of its new built-in capabilities. These encourage a give-and-take with your audience that you’ll both enjoy.

Instagram Stories: A little background

Instagram Stories are brief snippets of video, photo, or typed content that are available to followers for just 24 hours. They are found in the circles at the top of the Instagram screen, and are offered to you in order of each account’s relevance to you (in other words, you’ll see your best friends and most popular accounts first). Instagram Stories are great for sharing glimpses of live events, because producing them is quick and mobile-friendly.

Instagram Stories

New to Stories?

My advice: play around with making some Instagram Stories before you head to Expo. That way you’re comfortable with how they work before you try to use them on the loud, busy exhibit floor. There are all kinds of fun things you can do with Boomerang (looping video), Face Filter (bunny ears, anyone?), and Superzoom (zooming in with mood music). To make it fun for your audience too, try them on your kids or pets.

Ready to level up?

Awesome! Here are the new capabilities Instagram has added to Stories that are a ton of fun and will engage your audience.

Polls

Ask a question of your audience with the regular Text feature, then offer them two choices in response. It can be Yes/No, or you can change the response text to whatever two answers you desire.

Instagram Stories tool - poll

Q&A

Ask your audience a question, and let them type back an answer. The beauty of this is no one sees the answer but you, so you can share responses selectively.

Instagram tools - Q&A

 

Instagram tools - Answers

Share Posts to Stories

Instagram is brilliant in its simplicity, but it’s always irritated me that you can’t share other people’s posts natively like you can on Twitter. While you still can’t share a post right into the post feed, you can share a post to your Stories. This is wonderful, because you can add your commentary, and the original poster gets credited and notified.

Instagram tools - share a post

Share Mentions

Another new feature I really appreciate is that when someone mentions your Instagram handle in their post, you are notified and offered the ability to add it to your Stories in one click. Instagram even adds a background in a coordinating color (though you don’t have the ability to change that color – yet).

Instagram tools - share a mention

Emoji slider

Want to get an idea of how your audience feels? Ask them a question, then let them answer with an emoji slider. Not every emoji is available, but most of the basic emotions are covered: mad, sad, happy, on fire, crying laughing, etc. You can have text right above the slider, or not.

Instagram tools - emojis

Instagram tools - emoji slider

Where to find them

You’ll find each of these tools in the Stickers menu of the Instagram Stories creation wizard. Click that, and you’ll get a menu of these tools and many others.

Instagram tools - where to find them

 

Instagram tools - menu

Need more help?

Here are the Stories FAQs straight from Instagram. You’ll find detailed help for these tools and a lot more.

Want expert help for your social media? That’s what we do. Contact us.

Have fun at VEW! And if you’re not going, watch for our Instagram Stories at @socialeyesonyou.

Cause marketing: Show who you are by doing good

Share your cause and connect to your community through cause marketing

The good that you do shows who you are. If you want to establish a deeper connection with your community, then integrate charitable giving into your business through fundraising. This is called cause marketing, and it gives people another reason to patronize your eye care practice or optical shop.

My cause

Here’s the cause I support every year: AIDS Walk & Run San Diego. When my stepbrother contracted the AIDS virus back in the early 90’s, there were minimal services to help with the emotional burden, and medications were ruinously expensive. Those meds were also very hard on the body, and he passed away in 1993. Treatments have improved dramatically since then, but they are still costly – and HIV/AIDS education is always needed. So every year since 1995, I have raised funds and walked the AIDS Walk.

This year’s AIDS Walk is September 29th. I actually have to miss walking it, as I’ll be at Vision Expo West. But I’m still fundraising for it. (Want to donate?)

Find your cause

That’s my cause. What’s yours? If you’re not sure, here are some tips for finding a great charity to support:

  • Choose a vision charity. This aligns with your profession! And it can be an opportunity to educate the public on eye diseases and how they occur. Not sure which one to choose? Here’s a list of 97 vision charities around the world.
  • Go local. Remember, as a local business you’re trying to connect with your local community. You can choose a national charity with a local office, a regional organization that benefits your area directly, or even a local school or library. If your region has recently suffered a natural disaster, it’s best to funnel your help through well-established charities like the Red Cross or United Way.
  • Avoid political causes. Of course, you personally can support any cause you believe in. But if you pair a cause with your business, and a significant portion of your community would not support that cause, you’ve given them reason to not patronize you – and you may even end up with protesters. Politics is always a hot-button issue. Instead, choose a cause that nearly anyone in your area can get behind.

Now share it!

  • Pair fundraising with an event at your business. You could have a trunk show with a percentage of sales benefiting your charity. Or throw an evening cocktail party with silent auction, proceeds going to the cause.
  • Take event advice from your charity. They throw a lot of events, and they know what works! They will even likely have some preferred vendors for sound, photography, food, and more.
  • Share your cause well in advance of the event. People need time to notice and decide to throw in their support. Particularly if the fundraising event is anywhere near the winter holidays, plan for a 2- to 3-month publicity campaign. Don’t forget the marketing in cause marketing! And definitely use social media to share the event.

What cause do you support through your business, and how do you do it?

Need help with cause marketing? Contact us.

Instagram Live tip: The right way to ask for questions

Instagram Live: The right way to ask for questions

Have you ever hosted a webinar or Instagram Live, and when you ask if there are any questions, there’s nothing but silence?

Oh, did I just describe every webinar you’ve ever given or attended? My bad.

Webinars can be deadly dull, but they serve a purpose – they’re meant to teach something, or share necessary information. And attendees are obviously interested in the subject, or they wouldn’t be there.

Instagram Live broadcasts are more fun, but can have a similar problem. If your followers tuned in to learn something, technical glitches or just the comments rolling up the screen could have left them remembering little.

But here are tips that can help!

Strengthen your request

Whenever you’re speaking to a live audience, try this technique from Louisiana high school math teacher Andre Sasser:

howtoaskforquestions

Give fair warning

I would add this: let your audience know at the beginning of your session that you want a question from them at the end. That will make them listen more actively.

Bribes are okay

Besides that, you might even incent them by saying you’ll send a small gift to the person whose question you like the best. Something small, like a branded notepad. (I’m an absolute sucker for branded notepads. There’s one within 3 feet of me at all times. Need to jot down a note? I got you.)

It’s always about engagement

The point is, their questions and your answers are literally engagement, and that’s what everyone’s going for on social media. It makes for a better experience, even for those who don’t pipe up. It increases the perceived value of what you’re saying. And it feels good to talk to an audience and have them be curious about what you said.

Have you tried this trick, or do you have others? Let us know in the comments below.

Need help hosting your business’s first Instagram Live? Contact us!

Optical women give their event picks for VEW 2018

Optical women give their event picks for VEW 2018

Vision Expo West 2018 is right around the corner.  You’ve probably already booked your flight and hotel, and now are staring at a very long list of VEW events to choose from.

Fear not! We’ve asked some prominent women in optical to give their advice on which VEW events you shouldn’t miss. Here’s what they had to say:

Autianna Wilson

Autianna Wilson
Optical Goddess & optician – San Francisco, CA
@goddessofoptix 

“I’m interested in seeing THE BLOCK at Vision Expo because I feel it’s important that everyone sees the beauty, uniqueness, and diversity of urban eyewear fashion!”

Alana Whitaker

Alana Whitaker
California sales rep – WOOW Eyewear
@californiaglassesgirl
“I’m looking forward to the Optical Women’s Association Annual Networking Reception & Raffle on Friday night. OWA is important because it promotes support among women in all facets of the optical industry. I love going and meeting other ambitious young women in optical, and successful women in our industry that I can learn from.”

Christina Kim

Christina Kim
CMO, Clearlens

@clearlenscloth
“VEW is the perfect place to connect with other professionals who share the same passion for eye care health, eyewear fashion, and entrepreneurship. Clearlens Tip: The free champagne kiosks around the VEW floor are the best places to make new friends!”

Dr. Jenn Lyerly

Jenn Lyerly, OD
Optical blogger & podcaster, Defocus Media
@eye.dolatry
“I’m very interested in the entire course catalog that Dr. Michael Kling is teaching – from managing cash flow in your business to creating the ultimate customer experience. ‘Private Equity: Should I Stay Or Should I Go‘ with Dr. Kling and Total ECP’s Jay Binkowitz is a major highlight of this conference that I can’t wait to attend!”

Addie Bogart

Addie Bogart
Independent sales rep – Western US
@spexxy_addie
“Don’t miss the Loft Eyewear Show at the Keeping Memories Alive building designed by Frank Gehry. It’s Thursday and Friday only this year. It’s an incredible privilege to show beautifully designed eyewear in a stunning building. It’s a cab ride from VEW, but it’s worth the trip to get there.”

Esther Chang

Esther Chang
Owner, Specs Optical – Cupertino, CA
@specs_optical
“This will be my first year going! But this year we remodeled and relaunched our business, so I’m excited to bring back more fresh ideas. I’m looking to take some CE classes to stay up-to-date, but also potentially meet some new vendors and network.”

Sheena Taff

Sheena Taff
Optician & eyeglass curator
@optician.about.town
“Vision Expo is my candy store! I love wandering the show floor and trend-spotting. There is no better opportunity to see Fall/Winter’s most coveted EyeStyle trends. As an Optician I am equally interested in not only eyewear trends but new lens technologies and styles. Many people don’t consider lenses part of eyewear fashion, and I’m excited to see how brands like Transitions Lenses are changing that perception with the launch of new stylish colours and mirrors.”

Dr. Amanda Rights

Amanda Rights, OD
Optometry, eyewear & lifestyle blogger

@optomeyeslife
“I’ll be sure to make the OWA Connection Series talk from the author of Earning It. This will be an inspirational opportunity to hear firsthand from Joann Lublin and the advice she gleaned from other strong female leaders and trailblazers. I’m looking forward to learning practical career advice and lessons to incorporate into my own practices, businesses, and life.”

Sara Cecchini

Sara Cecchini
Marketing, ZEISS Vision US
@zeissvisioncare_usa

“We’ll have some amazing demonstrations in the ZEISS booth at #LP8065, showing the harmful effects UV can have on your eyes, and how UVProtect in all ZEISS lenses is the new standard. But I’m also pretty excited about something we’ll have called the ’15 for 60 Challenge.’ If you spend 15 minutes with us, you can learn how to add 60 minutes of productivity back into your office each and every day.”

Peggy Gartin

Peggy Gartin
Optical marketer, The Social Eye
@thepegisinagain

“I really cannot wait to catch a most amazing panel of breakout independent retailers: Julia Gogosha of Gogosha Optique, Selima Salaun of Selima Optique, and Alicia Hartman of Peoples From Barbados. It’s happening Friday at 5PM in the Galleria Lounge, and you best believe I will be wearing these Selima Optique Roxannes.”

What are you looking forward to at VEW? Tell us in the comments below.