Savvy retailers Spex Optical and Eiwear have maximized social media to provide a healthy boost to their business.

The “playfully sophisticated” Spex Optical in Chicago, IL, has more than 22 locations and a dedicated team for social media: Marketing Director Michael Caputo and Creative Services Coordinator Lauren Pappas. Optician Chris Clarke is the SEO and marketing point person for the fashionable yet accessible EiWear in Berkeley, CA, which is the brainchild of Ernst Erb and Michael Hillord who opened their shop in San Francisco in 2002. I interviewed Caputo and Clarke to find out their strategies for engaging their online patient base and keeping content fresh.

Michele Silver: When did you start to use social media?

Spex Optical: We rebooted our social media presence when the new director of marketing assumed the role in July 2011. We launched our Facebook page in 2009 and Twitter soon followed. Instagram was added in 2012. Our focus is mainly Facebook, which is formatted to feed the same content to Twitter. Ideally, Twitter should have separate content development but that forum alone can be a full-time role.

EiWear: We had been working with Yelp generating reviews. After I joined, we expanded on the platform with Twitter, Instagram, and Google. A lot of Google reviews cause a spike in your SEO. We also worked with MailChimp-a mailing system that helps generate client lists.

Michele: What strategies do you use to increase your audience?

Spex: We engage/draw new fans with “conversation” just like the staff does in our retail spaces. We designed a “conversation bubble” graphic element to further support that point. We also share wellness posts.

Michele: Do you think your presence on social media translates to increasing your consumer base and ultimately your sales?

Spex: Yes, because it ultimately delivers our voice to the consumer. Our presence is lighthearted with a good balance of “check out this stylish frame” and “look at these kittens in a basket!” We don’t post anything controversial that would have our fan base in a “comments battle.”

Michele: Why do you think it’s important to have a presence on social media?

Spex: First and foremost: it’s free! Second, there’s the immediacy of delivering our brand message.

EiWear: With people buying glasses online, you have to have your store online-you need to constantly be up to date with the way people are shopping. Reviews really help boost your SEO power.

Michele: If an optical shop wants to start a social media plan, what advice do you have?

EiWear: Most of your presence is already determined, so straighten out the information that already exists online and make sure your directories are accurate.

Michele: What are the most important factors an optical shop needs to know about maintaining social media sites?

Spex: A savvy marketer once stated, “Content is King” and we agree. We might source imagery from a brand collection, but we always try to place our brand stamp on the final graphic. And, keep the momentum going. Social media is very much like a shark. A shark must swim forward to gain oxygen-to breathe, basically. Your brand is dead in the water when social media posts are few and far between. Keep your fan base engaged every day if possible.

Michele Silver is managing editor of VCPN.


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