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

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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.

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.

Specs Optometry: There’s an eye doctor WHERE?!

Specs Optometry - Little Italy

When we talk about “retail” in the optical world, we usually mean a dispensary or eye care practice that lives within a Walmart, Shopko, or Sam’s Club. But I recently came across a practice in a most unexpected retail space: a kind of hipster co-op.

Exterior of James Coffee
I see coffee, but I was promised eyewear

Now you may not know what I mean by that term, and I don’t blame you–I just made it up. But how else can I describe this place? It’s one big warehouse building in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood that contains a letterpress card shop, a bowtie boutique, and a straight-razor shave joint, all of which are anchored by a coffee bar and roastery (James Coffee). Though these are individual stores, all the walls inside the building are glass, so the effect is more like open stalls in a market than separate shops.

Interior of James Coffee
Wait, they have WHAT in here?

And right there next to where you sit down to enjoy your honey cinnamon latte is Specs Optometry. Owned by optometrist Dr. Michelle Fitzpatrick (along with another larger location in South Park), this location has managed to display a bunch of independent frame lines in a way that is appealing and uncluttered–all in a space no larger than a living room.

Specs Optometry
Specs Optometry & Eyewear, Little Italy

Let me share with you what I think Specs is doing right, and maybe it will spark some ideas for you:

Interior of James Coffee
She looks like she could use some computer glasses. Just sayin’.

Hot location
Instead of trying to lure patients to another part of town, or into another address on a popular street, Specs is right there inside the building where they get their daily coffee. Some people work there all day! They can fall in love with that Jacques Marie Mage Dorothy frame just by ogling it daily, and not use up a minute of the optician’s time.

Specs Optometry interior
Have a seat, try on some frames

More facetime with frames
I love eyeglasses and will spend as much on them as my wallet will allow, but sometimes it feels like I have to jump through too many hoops to even lay eyes on the frames in a dispensary–much less try on. There may be no window to display frames, or standing outdoors to look at them feels awkward. Or the dispensary may not be up front, and I have to run a gauntlet of insurance questions before I can even start trying on. It’s like they don’t want my money! And after a few hurdles, I no longer want to give it to them.

The experience at Specs was definitely different. I tried on so many frames, my heart sang.

And Specs lets you see everything through their glass walls even when they’re not open. That means MOSCOT, Barton Perreira, Andy Wolf, and Garrett Leight frames are winking at potential buyers up close and often. And when they are open, optician Kayla Gray is the soul of patience and respect for the gravity of your fashion choices.

  • Specs Optometry window
    Get a peek at Specs' crafted interior
  • Specs Optometry interior
    Optimal lighting, funky rugs, and raw wood walls
  • Specs Optometry racks
    Neat, well-lit racks with plenty of storage
  • Specs Optometry display case
    Hand-welded display case for featured frames
  • Exam room
    Exam room
  • Specs Optometry exam room
    A peek inside the exam room
  • Specs Optometry building
    Optical customers, whether they know it or not

Handcrafted interior, curated frame lines
The shop’s interior is full of handcrafted details–raw wood, welded metal, softly faded rugs–which fits right in with the aesthetic of its neighbor shops, and also matches the curated, handcrafted frame lines it sells.

The dr. is in
…and she’s not Lucy from Peanuts.

The doctor is in
Even in this small space, they’ve tucked a little exam room in the back, so there’s no excuse for not getting a current prescription. And if more instruments are needed, such as a fundus camera, they can accommodate that in their other location.

Specs Optometry removes a lot of obstacles to buying that most practices don’t even realize are there. What obstacles can you remove in your shop?

If you’re in San Diego, visit Specs Optometry for yourself at 2355 India Street.

Come meet us at EyeInnovate 2018!

EyeInnovate 2018

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably interested in leveling up your business’s digital marketing. If that’s the case, and you’re in or near Southern California, I have an event for you.

EyeInnovate 2018

There’s a one-day conference happening in LA on November 6 called EyeInnovate 2018, and the speaker list is very impressive. Dr. Tanya Gill is going to be sharing her Instagram secrets, and you should listen, because @oaklandvisioncenter is the model I tell everyone to take pointers from. Dr. Alan Glazier, the creator of the very influential group ODs on Facebook (35K members!), will speak on Facebook changes and what you need to do there for your business.

These are the heavy hitters, folks. If knowledge is power, then these are your friendly neighborhood optical superheroes. And the agenda is packed with even more about SEO, merchandising, YouTube, and consumer trends.

I’ll definitely be there, because while I know a lot about online marketing for optical, things change everyday, and you should never stop learning.

In other words, it’s worth my time, and it’s worth yours.

EyeInnovate 2018
When: Nov. 6, 7:30am – 5:30pm
Where: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles
Details: eyeinnovate2018.com

Register here. Still not sure? Enter their contest to win a trip to LA and two tickets to the conference.

EyeInnovate 2018 - enter to win!

Superfans are critical to your business (even if you’re not The Beatles)

When starting a business, or even just starting social media for your business, there is no one more important to your success than superfans.

Everyone has superfans. Even if it’s your mom, your dad, your cousin, your best friend, your college roommate, your babysitter, or your spouse. Someone you know has seen all that you’ve gone through and wants you to be successful.  And they’d help you, if they only knew how.

Here’s an example of a superfan who helped launch what was, among other things, one of the most successful business ventures of all time.

Freda Kelly was a 17-year-old legal secretary who lived in Liverpool. Friends invited her to a lunchtime show at the Cavern Club featuring a local band. She became a huge fan of the band immediately, and caught all their gigs after that. The band was The Beatles, and their manager Brian Epstein eventually hired this familiar face as a secretary to handle their growing stream of fan mail.

This was in 1962, before their first single came out, and at that point The Beatles could have easily become no more than local favorites. But Freda  remembers that she and all the girls in Liverpool bought the “Love Me Do” single the week it came out even if they didn’t have a record player because they so passionately wanted The Beatles to have a hit.

Imagine that – buying a product you can’t even use because you believe in the maker so much. That is the mark of a superfan.

Now, we know how very big The Beatles got. Their music changed popular culture, like no band before or since. But if you rewind back from those career heights, before the fame and the movies and the hit records and the stadiums filled with screaming fans, it all started with their local fandom in Liverpool, who were rabid and persuasive.

London was not looking to Liverpool for rock’n roll bands at the time. And America was not looking to England for that, either. But that all changed when The Beatles sparked a musical and cultural movement called The British Invasion.

Without that first tipping point, without those superfans, without those girls ponying up their pin money at Merseyside record shops, the rest may never have happened.

(Freda’s superfandom changed her life as well, in ways you can see in a 2013 documentary called Good Ol’ Freda. She became the president of The Beatles Fan Club from 1962-1972, and witnessed firsthand many of highlights of the band’s career.)

Freda Kelly is the perfect example of the superfan who changes everything just by supporting what she loves. She and those like her are the whisper that started the avalanche.

Who will start your avalanche? Who are your superfans? And how can they spread the word about you?

It’s up to you to show them how. Here are some ideas from Social Media Examiner for helping your superfans help you raise your business’s profile on social media:

How to Turn Fans Into Brand Champions