Google “tips to improve pet-owner engagement on social” and you’ll find any number of articles about the right channels, tools, and other machinery that fall under the general category of campaign strategy. And having a plan is always…. well, a good plan.
The challenge is, any social-media post born of any strategy (whether the post involves images or video) involves writing a few lines of content in order to turn abstract concepts into specific and effective form. And this is where many tips articles fall short.
While many articles will recommend types of posts that tend to perform, they rarely explain key writing tips that help improve engagement for one post over another, even though two posts are seemingly the same when placed side by side.
That’s basically the same as showing you attractive photos of some enticing Caribbean beach somewhere but failing to tell you how to get there.
To fill in some of the missing information, here are three painless writing tips with walkthrough examples to help boost pet-owner engagement on social, including the why behind the tips.
Human beings are naturally wary of the unknown, reflected in the following sentence that characterizes a common content oversight in many veterinary social posts:
June is National Microchipping Month! Get a discount on microchipping!
From a pet-owner perspective, the ambiguity of “discount” easily creates questions, concerns, and the perception of risk: “What kind of discount? Why aren’t they telling me? I don’t like the idea of being lured into something.”
As irrational as the last part seems, research shows that human beings are foremostly driven by emotion when making purchase decisions, and logic comes afterward.
Adding specifics to “discount” helps clear up ambiguity and adds incentive for pet owners to contact your clinic, as in the following revision:
June is National Microchipping Month! Get 20% off microchipping all this month for dogs and cats. That’s a savings of $20 off our normal microchipping fee of $100.
Yes, the content is a bit salesy, but it serves to illustrate. The addition of “20%” clears up the unknown about what kind of discount. The addition of “$20” also adds context and clear visualization to “20%” to increase the incentive for pet owners to act on the post.
Compel, Don’t Tell
Do you remember that day as a kid when your parent demanded that you eat some objectionable vegetable because it was “good for you”? Do you recall how you dug in your heels and resolutely said no? If this sounds even remotely familiar, you won’t be surprised that people don’t enjoy being told what to do, as in the following:
Get your dog’s flea and tick medication now! It’s flea and tick season!
Yes, it makes good logical sense for people to protect their pets against diseases transmitted by fleas and ticks. But as shown earlier, logic comes after emotional reaction in decision-making.
Now compare the get-now approach to the following revision:
It’s flea and tick season. Protect your dog against disease in 5 minutes with [insert medication name here]. Drop in today. No appointment necessary.
Rather than demanding that a pet owner do something, the revision begins by presenting timely and useful information, which is always a benefit to pet owners. Next, the revision reminds pet owners of the dangers of ticks and fleas before presenting the simple and time-saving option of protection in just five minutes, which is another benefit to pet owners. Finally, the revision ends with an invitation (rather than a demand) and makes the invitation easy to accept.
People Love a Mystery
If you’ve ever watched a scary movie, you’ve probably watched that scene where some guy opens some door, even though he (and the entire audience) knows there’s some horrible beastie lurking behind that door. Yet the guy just can’t help himself and opens the door anyway to release said beastie.
Why couldn’t he help himself?
Human beings have a fundamental need for closure (NFC). Content writers know this and leverage the power of NFC in social teaser posts to compel people to click through to blogs and other content on veterinary websites. A few examples:
- 7 Signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
- Have you ever wondered why we keep asking you to bring in you pet’s stool sample?
- TV Show Reboots That Fail According to Dogs
In each case, the content leaves pet owners with an unanswered question:
- What are the signs?
- Why indeed do you keep asking me?
- Is my favorite show on the list? Wait a second. Dogs watch TV?
For closure, pet owners are compelled to click through to find the answers.
NFC writing has taken a bad rap over the years and earned the nickname “clickbait” by writers who’ve abused NFC to trick people onto landing pages or websites for exploitative purposes. So long as you deliver on exactly what you promise in an NFC post, pet owners will associate your posts with value, you’ll earn their trust, and that trust will translate to better engagement.
Effective use of social media is a key driver behind why veterinary practices are seeing annual growth by 6.2%, according to the Veterinary Services Global Market Report. Yet effective use of social media means more than content style.
Regularity is another major factor. Regular weekly posts (at minimum) are crucial to consistently and effectively keep pet owners engaged.
The challenge in any busy veterinary practice, of course, is time.
That’s why all LifeLearn WebDVM websites come with prewritten weekly news (and much more). When you’re stuck for time or just can’t come up with something new, WebDVM has you covered with fresh weekly articles filled with information that pet owners are looking for.
All you have to do is paste an article link into a social post, write a few sentences according to the tips in this article (or another approach you prefer), and you’re ready to keep pet owners engaged and attract more visitors to your veterinary website.
PS: To answer the TV question: Nobody knows whether dogs have any opinions about TV show reboots. However, if we were to hazard a guess, we might speculate they’re disappointed that the Magnum P.I. reboot wasn’t called Wagnum P.I. 🙂