Linda Christoffersson, Marketing Manager at Denplan Pet Health Plans, outlines why social media is a vital tool in the marketing box for veterinary practices
By using social media as a veterinary practice, it gives these small business the opportunity to reach a larger, yet more targeted audience, than most other forms of marketing. Setting up a profile for a business is free, as is posting messages, images and videos. In order to really get noticed and make the most of any social media presence, advertising will help to ensure that what is being posting will reach the desired audience.
Using social media will allow practices to engage with current clients and reach out to promote the practice to potential new clients. The key to being successful on social media is for the content to be relevant and engaging.
Some of the reasons for using social media as part of an overall marketing strategy are:
- Keeping in touch with pet owners to inform them about new pet healthcare guidance, treatments, opening hours, staff changes, etc.
- Allowing clients to give feedback, reviews and ask questions
- Increasing clients through advertising
- Promoting accomplishments and charitable contributions
- Driving traffic to the practice website
- Advertising to find new staff
- Networking with other local businesses
To be successful on social media a business needs to be present and needs to be relevant. To take the pressure off the practice having to come up with content every week, it is advisable to create a calendar of communications for the year. Decide on monthly themes that create the core of the content for the month. For example, at Easter, the month could be themed about how to involve pets in the family activities, dangers of chocolate for dogs and recipes for pet friendly treats.
A lot of what is posted on social media is content created by other people and is shareable, so practices don’t always have to come up with messages of their own. Although it would be advisable to generate some unique content to build the practice’s own brand.
A content calendar could be just a simple spreadsheet with the weeks and months detailed on it. Try to take advantage of the milestones and seasonal happenings that already take place throughout the year as this will be topical and will keep the practice relevant. Try to include offers, hints and tips, treatment reminders and link to events, activities and occurrences happening in the world or your local area.
Social media is all about engagement. And engagement means people sharing, talking about, liking and commenting on the posts vets practice puts on social media.
Aside from pet related content, practices need to remember that people still buy from people. It’s important to use social media to humanise the vet practice. For example, sharing photos of a typical day in a practice. Clients will be interested to see what actually happens day to day. Take images of the equipment and explain what it’s used for. Bringing the practice and its people to life will build familiarity and a personal touch that people will relate to and want to be a part of.
Above all else, don’t be afraid of getting involved in social media. It’s easy to start and there are countless online tutorials to help businesses get going.