One of the questions we hear frequently is: how do you get people interested in reading educational material, and not just the fun stuff?
Social media posts may be short and sweet, but they can be a great way to educate pet owners. The key is to cater to the medium, as well as the reasons that people are there. Long, informative posts and articles don’t go over very well on social media – it’s just not the place for them, generally speaking.
People use social media to socialize, connect, and be entertained. So if you socialize, connect, and entertain, your message will be more widely received.
So what can you do to deliver client education on social media?
Use A Visual
You know those little “did you know” facts we post on Facebook and Twitter? We came up with the idea because we wanted to give you some content that is interesting and fun, and easy to share with your followers (so please feel free!).
But you can create your own visuals if you have something you want to share – the visual component makes it stand out from text-based posts. We create them using Canva, and it’s pretty quick and easy to do – even for me, with my irrational fear of graphic design.
Another way to use visuals effectively is to share something fun that relates to something you want pet owners to know. Not everyone who looks at the picture or video will read your message, but they’re more likely to read it than just a line of text that gets lost. If there is something to catch their eye and make them laugh along with your message, it’s like the old spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.
For example, we found this photo online and it made us laugh – and it was related to our post on handling negative reviews online.
Tip: In general, it’s a good idea to stay away from graphic or highly medical photos on social media. While they may be great at catching some people’s attention, many social surfers may be squeamish and scroll the offending photo off of their screen as quickly as possible, completely missing the message that goes with it.
Use Patient Stories
People love stories. According to consultant Jennifer Kane, stories are the most preferred way for humans to process information. They also have an emotional impact that can change the way people think and motivate them to act. So rather than giving people a few facts, tell a story.
For example, perhaps you have a patient who has lost a lot of weight and a proud owner who is willing to let you tell the patient’s story. Share a before-and-after photo, along with a quick blurb like:
Join us in congratulating Fluffy, who has lost X pounds!
Being a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart and kidney diseases, and more. If you are wondering whether your pet is a healthy weight, give us a call.
Great job, Fluffy!
Using a real patient story to show the facts you want to share not only makes the facts more interesting, it makes for relatable content and a cute story.
Use Content From Other Places
Having a good teaser and a link to content that is somewhere other than social media is another way to share a longer story or message more effectively.
The first (and best) place to link to is, of course, your website. If you’re going to drive traffic anywhere, driving it to your website has the most benefits for your business. This can be done in a couple of ways:
Bring them to your blog. Having a practice blog has a lot of benefits to begin with, not the least of which is having excellent content to share on social media.
Share from your ClientEd Online. Sharing the links to the ClientEd Online articles embedded in your website will also help to drive traffic. Bite-sized content can help keep the interest of social surfers, too!
Show off your website copy. If you have a page on your website dedicated to a particular topic, such as dental health, you can share that link on social as well.
Another option is to share content from other websites. If there is a great article somewhere on the web, you can certainly link to it – just remember that they will benefit from the traffic. But this can be a good way to network, and build goodwill with other experts, community groups, and so on.
Make it a Game or a Contest
A game or contest can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. For example:
- Write an article for your blog that contains some facts about heartworm. Post the link on social media and ask a couple of questions that are answered in the article, offering a small prize for correct answers. You can make it a random draw from all correct answers received, or simply give it to the first person to answer.
- Post a trivia question and ask followers to answer, with a promise to provide the correct answer within a specified time period.
- Do a “question of the week” for short items people might be wondering about. If there is a question that has both a yes/no answer, and a more in-depth explanation, answer the yes/no part on social media, and link to your blog for the details. For example,
- Q: Can cats get heartworm?
- A: Yes. Read all about it in this article [link].
Use your imagination!
Have a Theme
If you have more information to share on a topic than you can share in a single post, having a theme for two weeks or a month can be a fun way to spend more time on it and even generate some momentum.
Take National Heartworm Awareness Month, for example. You can post a series of short facts and helpful tips throughout the month.
Get quick and easy social posts for every month, with pre-written tweets that can also be converted to social posts for Facebook or other social media! Notice that we pick a theme each month, whether that’s a particular holiday, awareness event, or season. You can use ours, or just take them as inspiration to create your own!Remember, client education doesn’t always have to be a huge undertaking. When you’re using social media to share educational information, hook ‘em quick, make it fun, and people will learn something whether they mean to or not.
Curious about ClientEd Online? See how it can help your practice today.
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