Social media for vets doesn't work unless it's used!

Posted in: Articles

Posted on: 28 August 2012

A few people have come to me and announced that they've had their social media accounts for a few months and yet haven't seen an improvement in business. Unfortunately I am not surprised when I hear this. Sure enough if I check out their accounts, I can immediately see why.

Social media mistakes that vets make

Some of the reasons people have had no luck with social media is because they’re making these mistakes:

1. You are not using social media regularly. In many cases, I have seen people open a Twitter account; post a few tweets initially and then never use it again. The account becomes dormant and people lose interest

2. You are not talking to people! With Twitter in particular, you must interact with your followers. Social media is a two-way thing and conversation should be reciprocal

3. You are not using hashtags appropriately. If the word “hashtag” leaves you clueless then please do send us an email! How are people going to find you if you don’t give them a pathway? Don’t leave them directionless

4. You are continually posting about your fantastic special offers or amazing services. Every so often this is fine, but using social media exclusively to hard sell is a no-no! People on social media are not looking to buy, they are looking to get involved and have fun

Social media takes time and effort. You really do get out what you put in. Vets are fantastic candidates for social media because there is just so much to talk about and lots of people have a keen interest in animals.

Don’t open a communication channel you can’t maintain

However, it is vital for me to say this – do not open a channel of communication you can’t maintain.

It is arguably a lot worse to have social media accounts that have been inactive for months, than not have social media accounts at all. Think about it – if you were a pet owner and found a vet’s website in Google and then went to their Facebook page, which hadn’t been updated since last Christmas, you’d be a little disappointed. It just looks unprofessional and messy, like a half-finished paint job.

If you are struggling to find the time to manage your social media, or have opened accounts for your practice but aren’t sure how to get going, get in touch and we can help.

Post to Twitter and Facebook regularly

As a minimum, aim to post to Facebook at least three times a week. This could be a photo of a cute kitten that came into the clinic for its first vaccinations, a story about a successful operation (and link it to your blog!), or even a special offer on dog food that you’re currently running.

Twitter should take a bit more time. Aim to log in at least every other day. Think about this – Twitter is very real-time, i.e. things are posted as they happen, in the now. If someone tweets your practice and needs a vet right now to see to a road traffic accident emergency, it’s no use responding several days later! You’ll have missed your chance.

Update your Twitter status every time you log in. What you post shouldn’t take much thinking about. There’s no need to sit there for hours pondering what to post. The great thing about veterinary practices is that stuff is going on all the time! So if someone has just come in to get some advice on their new puppy, talk about it. Or perhaps someone has a dog with a bad case of fleas. What did you tell them to do? Tell the Twitterverse too! Was there an unusual operation yesterday? The everyday occurrences in a veterinary clinic make great content, and help with your search engine optimisation too.

Twitter should be used to talk to people, but you don’t have to reply to everyone. If someone’s talking about their pet, you could comment on that. Most people are flattered to get a response to something they’ve posted, even if it’s just a short remark, such as “cute cat!”. If you make an effort to respond to people regularly they are more likely to follow you. If they follow you, they’ll see all your tweets which will help generate the awareness of your clinic you are looking for.

So do take the time to post as often as you can and over time you will see results. Social media marketing is a gradual process that should be an integral part of your veterinary practice’s marketing strategy.

Do USE your veterinary practice's social media

Just be sure to actually use your social media! There really is no point just having a redundant account. Building relationships, and – let’s face it – this is what social media is all about, takes time. Be prepared to put in the work and you will reap the rewards.

If you’re struggling to find time to update your social media accounts, or perhaps you aren’t sure what to post or how often, please get in touch. We’d love to help. Vet Voice can help you manage your time more efficiently and suggest a realistic social media strategy based on your goals. We can also run your social media for you, although we don’t advise this (running someone else’s social media will never be as effective as you doing it yourself). Why not get in touch?

Thank you!



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