We’ve spoken time and time again about the importance of social media marketing for veterinary practices. Do it correctly and you’ll effectively attract more clients which will ultimately boost your profit margin. Do it wrong, on the other hand, and you could be wasting valuable time and resources with little to no results to show for it. If you’ve not quite mastered the social side of marketing for your practice, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Establish your goals. You can’t measure how well you’re doing (and more importantly, whether your investment is paying off) if you don’t have something specific to strive for. Even if it’s as basic as getting to a certain number of fans or followers, determine exactly what it is you want to accomplish.
Schedule and be consistent. Don’t expect to achieve sustainable results if you’re not consistently dedicating time to your social media marketing activities. The good news is you don’t have to set aside hours a week to accomplish your goals. It’s more about quality than quantity, but it does take consistency, so stay the course. Designate a social media manager. There’s no need to hire an expert, but you should at least designate one person (or a few people) on your team who will manage social media as part of their daily or weekly job duties.
Use technology to your advantage. Today’s technology has made it incredibly easy and efficient to manage almost any administrative task, and that includes social media posting. Utilize tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, which allow you to plan and schedule your posts in advance to be published at a designated day and time of your choosing.
Have fun. Remember – social media is supposed be, well, social. Don’t lose sight of this important fact. Focus on sharing quality content that your clients and prospects will find valuable, take time to engage with them and don’t be afraid to let them see your human side. Doing so will further endear them to your brand, fostering loyalty and increasing word-of-mouth marketing.
Share specific medical advice. Do you know what you’re talking about? Of course you do. But using social media to dole out potential diagnoses and treatment recommendations is not only risky, it will also interfere with your chances of getting those people who are seeking advice to actually pick up the phone and book an appointment.
Blur the lines between professional and personal. The tricky side of using social media for business purposes is that it can be easy to forget the important line between professional and personal. Be careful how you speak to your audience and only designate those in your practice whom you trust to handle social media interactions.
Forget it’s a two-way conversation. The way social media algorithms work – particularly Facebook – is that the more people are engaging with a particular brand, the more exposure that brand will get to those with whom they aren’t yet connected. It’s also important to keep your audience involved and active. Ask questions, respond to comments and participate in discussions. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Ignore negative remarks. It’s never easy to see your practice painted in a not-so-pleasant light, but ignoring (or worse – deleting) negative comments isn’t the answer. To the contrary, responding to poor social media reviews in a positive, professional way and offering to resolve the issue at hand will not only repair the damaged relationship, but it will also demonstrate to anyone who ever comes across the comment in the future that you’re listening and you care about making things right.
Being active on social media can do wonders for supporting your practice’s growth, reaching new prospects and forging that all-important bond with your existing clients – but only if you do it right. The above tips should help you hone your strategy so that you’ll get the best return on your investment.