According to a recent study, there are currently 4.62 billion people using social media on a regular basis. That’s more than half of the world’s population. Now, consider the fact that 67% of households in America alone include a pet, and that means a significant portion of your clientele is active on social sites. This is why veterinary social media is so critically important.
That said, as with just about anything in business, there’s a right way and a wrong way to manage your veterinary social media activity. Do it well and you’ll enjoy tremendous reach, improved client engagement, and a stronger online presence for your practice.
If you’re not strategic and thoughtful enough, however, not only could you be wasting valuable time, but your efforts could actually have the opposite effect. Things like boring content, lack of activity, or communicating using the wrong voice can actually drive people away from your practice.
So, how can you ensure that you’re optimizing your time and generating the right results with your veterinary social media? Let’s explore a few do’s and don’ts as shared by our practice management experts.
Veterinary Social Media DO'S
When a prospect or client walks into your clinic, they should immediately be introduced to your practice culture and personality. This is conveyed by a number of factors, from how your hospital looks and feels to the way your front desk team and other staff members greet and engage with them and their pets. It even spills over into how your employees interact with one another.
Your veterinary social media presence should convey this same message, albeit virtually. Whether your practice personality is friendly but informative, warm and casual, or maybe even a little bit playful, that feeling should be consistent and evident in your veterinary Facebook posts and other social media activity. This ensures continuity of experience across every touch point.
DO create a plan
They don’t call it a veterinary social media strategy for nothing. If you don’t know what your goals are for social media, you won’t be able to determine what steps to take to actually reach those goals. Likewise, if you don’t know who your target audience or ideal client is, then you won’t know what platforms you should focus on creating and maintaining an active presence on.
Before you start posting on social media, figure out what you’d like to accomplish as an end result. Are you looking to attract new business or nurture leads? Are you hoping to create stronger connections with your existing clientele? Whether it’s one of these things or a combination of several, you need to identify exactly what you’re hoping to achieve so you’ll be able to formulate a plan of action and measure progress.
Another key component of your veterinary social media strategy is who your audience is. This is important because not all users are active on the same social sites. For instance, if you’re targeting Millennials or pet owners from Generation Z, you’re more likely to reach them on apps like SnapChat and TikTok, whereas with older demographics, you may have better luck on Facebook. Understanding this will enable you to plot your approach for when, where and how to share content for best results.
DO use it to build trust
These days, there is so much information out there, it’s easy for your audience to get lost in the shuffle. Not only is this unfortunate, but it can also be dangerous – especially when a well-meaning pet owner takes advice from an unknown source on the internet and inadvertently places their pet in harm’s way.
Veterinary social media is a powerful tool for combating misinformation. It’s also a great way for you to establish trust and nurture relationships with your clients. And this can go a long way toward improving your retention rate.
To accomplish this, utilize your social presence to share useful and accurate content and information that will entertain, educate and engage your audience. Position yourself as a trusted resource to whom pet parents can turn to get the help they need to keep their furry friends happy and healthy.
DO be active and consistent
Another important key to successful veterinary social media is a commitment to posting regular content and interacting with fans and followers. Simply setting up profiles and only posting occasionally will not help you grow your audience, nor will it build the trust we mentioned previously.
Create a social media schedule or content calendar so you’ll be able to stay organized and optimize your time. Plan to post in regular cadence, whether that be once a day, three times a week, etc. If you’re too busy to handle this task, designate one or two team members who will be responsible for managing social posts. Just be sure they are familiar with and well-versed in your practice voice.
DO have some fun
Social media isn’t supposed to be stiff and clinical. Even if your practice voice happens to be a little more on the polished and professional side, you can still let down your hair and have a little fun with your social activity. Share updates and content that your audience will find engaging. Think images, video clips, memes and short surveys – things people enjoy viewing, sharing and participating in.
Put yourself in the shoes of a pet owner who is just popping onto Facebook to unwind after a long day at work. Do you think they want to view dull content or something that really catches their eye and maybe makes them chuckle a little? Create your veterinary Facebook posts and other social content with this in mind for optimal results.
Veterinary Social Media DON'TS
DON'T make it all about you
Pet parents seeking out vet clinics on social media are usually looking for specific information. They want to be entertained and informed about things that relate to themselves and/or their pets. They aren’t interested in the nitty-gritty details about your brand or business. Focus your veterinary social media strategy on the end-user and their needs, preferences, and desires.
This doesn’t mean you can never share anything about your practice. For instance, let’s say you recently won an award for your stellar client service or were voted as a top business in your local community. By all means, share that announcement with your audience. Just remember that posting about yourself should be a rare exception rather than the rule.
DON'T set it and forget it
Speaking of performance, veterinary social media is just like any other type of marketing, specifically in terms of monitoring and measuring results. If you are just sharing random content, but never bothering to check and see how that content is being received and consumed by users, then you could very easily be wasting your precious time, money and resources for nothing.
Utilize the analytics tools available to you – many of which are built right into the social platforms themselves – to regularly assess what type of content is generating the most engagement. This will show you what to focus more on, as well as what things to scale back on or scrap altogether.
DON'T neglect your blog
Last, but certainly not least, it’s imperative that you understand that veterinary social media is not meant to replace your practice blog, but rather serves as another avenue for reaching and connecting with more pet owners. Your veterinary blog should still be a priority, as not only does it provide a direct source of information between your clinic and your audience, but due to its active and fluid nature, it also plays a pivotal role in your website’s search engine performance.
You shouldn’t choose one or the other, but rather develop a strategy for each so that you can leverage both to their fullest advantage. Furthermore, you can even use your social media presence to drive traffic to your blog, and vice versa, using your blog posts to encourage readers to connect with you on social. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create a plan that integrates multiple different campaigns to complement one another.
With billions of daily users, there’s little question that your clients and prospects are active on social media. That’s why it’s so important that your practice has a presence on these platforms as well.
If you could use some help formulating a veterinary social media strategy, or just have questions about practice management in general, we invite you to contact DVM Elite today. We’ve helped hundreds of practice owners catapult their businesses to whole new levels, and we’d love to help you do the same.
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