Behind the Lens: How one optometrist navigates being a social media Influencer

February 1, 2024   |   Optometrist

In 2021, Jen Wademan, O.D. posted a short Instagram Reel that went viral. With 4.1 million views, the short-form video struck a chord. It was quick, clever and resonated with her audience. To this day, Dr. Wademan has optometry new patients recognize her from “that video with your husband.”



That viral video, along with dozens of other Reels that reach thousands of people, has brought more people to Dr. Wademan’s optometry practice in Folsom, California, along with opportunities to partner with brands and organizations as a social media Influencer.

It’s been a journey she never imagined when she started sharing images on Instagram for her practice as a fun, creative outlet in 2019. “I thought, who wants to hear from an optometry office? How can I make this more interesting? So I started to make it more of my brand, so I could use the platform to educate patients and raise eye care awareness,” says Dr. Wademan.

Dr. Wademan had more time to play with photography and the Canva graphic design app during the pandemic. When Instagram launched Reels in 2020, similar to TikTok’s short-form video format, Dr. Wademan’s page took off. Today, she has over 19K followers on Instagram and is considered a “micro-Influencer.” 

Tips for social media success by an optometry Influencer

In her three years of building a social media optometry brand, Dr. Wademan shares what she’s learned about using social media as a marketing tool for her practice and balancing that with her other responsibilities as a practice owner.

Keep it fun

To be successful on social media as a clinician, you have to want to post on a channel in the first place. Dr. Wademan took over her practice channel because it seemed fun, and she continues to enjoy creating content. In times when she has to stick to stipulations from brand partners, Dr. Wademan tries to also create a few posts she enjoys, without worrying about how successful they are.

At times when she has felt overwhelmed with the extra responsibility of social media marketing, Dr. Wademan takes breaks. “I give myself a little bit of grace because this is supposed to be fun. There’s no need to put crazy deadlines on everything,” she says.

Be mindful of your audience

TikTok and Instagram Reels are often silly, with voiceovers and dances. Like most clinician Influencers, Dr. Wademan does what’s familiar on the channel. Still, she says, she remains mindful that her patients may see her videos. Her measuring bar is thinking about how she would react if a patient sat in the exam room and said they saw the video. “I want to create something where I always feel comfortable if that happens,” she says.

Follow channel regulations for advertising and partnerships

In the case of brand partnerships, Dr. Wademan typically has to fulfill specifications from the brand on the posts’ content and quantity. Following the social media brand guidelines for Influencer advertising posts is also necessary. Each channel posts those guidelines in the resources section. Be sure to check the guidelines regularly because they do change.

Ignore trolls and negative feedback

Social media growth increases the likelihood of receiving more negative comments, direct messages and even trolls. “There’s always someone who chimes in with something mean or inappropriate. Just ignore it,” says Dr. Wademan. 

Don’t offer medical advice online

Dr. Wademan recommends keeping your content general. The less specific, the better. Some clinicians add explicit language in their social media bios or in every post to indicate that the post is meant for education and not medical advice. 

In direct messages, especially, many people will ask medical health questions. Dr. Wademan says she typically ignores these to avoid the liability of responding.

Avoid the comparison game

It’s easy to feel inadequate on social media, even as a clinician. “The landscape of social media has changed so much regarding the amount of content creators and how good the content can be. It’s easy to get caught up and feel like you’re doing something wrong,” says Dr. Wademan.

Instead, Dr. Wademan recommends focusing on why you’re on social media in the first place, whether it’s a creative outlet or to promote your practice in your local area. You don’t need a lot of followers to be successful in either of those goals.

“At the end of the day, when a patient or follower reaches out to me saying they’re thankful, I make them laugh or they love my Reels –– that makes me feel so good. That is why I like doing it.”


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