In Part 1 of this blog series—How (and Why) to Create a Solid Social Media Strategy in 2020—we examined why having a solid social presence will be extra important for practices in the post-pandemic economic landscape of COVID-19 to attract clients and stay competitive. And as the first step toward developing a solid social presence, we looked at some of the most popular social media platforms and provided a short list of questions to ask yourself in order to frame an overall approach to content development.

If you missed Part 1, click here

This article (Part 2) dives deeper into how to create a solid 2020 social media strategy and covers the basics of channel optimization (image and content), brand consistency, and how to keep it all on track.

 

Designate a Person as Social Media Manager

Team input during social media strategy planning helps develop an overall plan with audience considerations and/or contingencies in place that a single person may not think about. Yet when it comes to executing and handling social media responsibilities on a daily, ongoing basis, most businesses designate a single person as Social Media Manager to:

  • Ensure a regular schedule of fresh posts to keep followers engaged and drive practice website traffic
  • Maintain consistency of message, tone, and practice image

To achieve this, the responsibilities of Social Media Managers typically include:

  • Creation of yearly content calendars
  • Assigning, coordinating, and editing content from colleagues and/or outside writers to avoid repetition and messaging contradictions
  • Writing content, taking images/curating images, and sizing images for different social platforms and uses
  • Manually posting to social platforms or scheduling automated posts with tools like Buffer or Hootsuite
  • Tracking analytics to see which posts are working and which ones aren’t, and adjusting content and messaging
  • Staying on top of content trends
  • Responding to questions and comments, including negative comments

 

Tackle Each Social Platform One at a Time

If you’re new to social media, or have limited experience, the sheer range of social platforms, changing platform specifications, and more can quickly feel overwhelming if you cue up a big list of platforms and try to tackle them all at once. Instead, choose a short list of platforms and tackle them one at a time.

Here are some key optimization tips for the three social platforms we examined in Part 1:

 

Facebook

Create an actual practice page—not a personal page that acts like one. Using a personal page doesn’t just look unprofessional. Using a personal page for business violates Facebook’s Terms of Service.

Make sure to fill out all the sections in the About page, including:

  • Your contact and website information so prospective clients know how to reach you
  • The products you sell (if any)
  • Your location (ideally identified with Google Maps)
  • Categories to help people find your page
  • Your hours of operation, including changes due to external impacts like COVID-19

 

Choose a Banner Photo That Provides Clarity and Trust

Your Facebook business page banner photo is a marketing tool that should answer two terse questions in the minds of prospective clients: What does this business do and why should I trust them?

To optimize your Facebook page beyond the basics, here are a few best practices for a better online presence:

 

Ideal Image Sizes for Facebook

  • Individual post images: 1200 X 630 pixels
  • Profile picture: 180 X 180 pixels (square)
  • Cover photo: 820 X 462 pixels

While you can certainly make text-only posts, images tend to dramatically improve engagement. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.

 

The Best Content to Share on Facebook

According to Buffer, video outperforms all other types of posts on Facebook. In terms of content, inspirational, funny, and practical content generates the most engagement.

 

Instagram

Unlike Facebook, Instagram provides for far fewer profile details, which means setup is pretty simple.

  • Check that the link from your Instagram account to your practice website is current and operational.
  • If you’re new to Instagram, make sure to add a link to your practice website.

 

Ideal Image Sizes for Instagram

  • Individual post images: 1080 X 1080 pixels (square)
  • Profile picture: 110 X 110 pixels
  • Instagram Stories: 1080 X 1920 pixels

While Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours (like Snapchat videos), don’t underestimate their power to engage people. According to research published by Hubspot, businesses on Instagram get up to 37% of their impressions from Instagram Stories.

 

The Best Content to Share on Instagram

Instagram was designed as an image-first platform. So, images tend to perform better than video posts, but video can also perform well. In terms of content, fun pet photos, staff profiles, behind-the-scenes posts can all engage people and boost reach.

 

Twitter

Optimization tips for your Twitter account:

  • Make sure your location, website link, Twitter bio, profile, and header photos are all up to snuff.
  • Add a “pinned tweet” to your profile to highlight an important event, promotion, or update. Simply find the desired tweet, select the “More” option, and click “Pin to your profile page” to ensure visitors will not miss this essential information.

 

Ideal Image Sizes for Twitter

  • Profile picture: 400 X 400 pixels (square)
  • Header image: 1500 X 1500 pixels
  • Individual tweet images: 1024 X 512 pixels

 

The Best Content to Share on Twitter

Whether you’re tweeting clinic news, links to pet health blogs, or industry news, research published by Quicksprout shows a few things about top-performing content on Twitter:

  • Engagement is 200% higher for tweets with images.
  • People are 21% more likely to respond to questions. So, tweet questions.
  • Tweets that contain links have an 86% retweet rate.
  • Tweets with less than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.

 

Hashtags

Use relevant and meaningful hashtags in your posts and use the appropriate number for each social platform. For more about hashtags, including why you should use them and hashtag etiquette, read our blog The Art of the Hashtag. As with any media platform, there are some definite dos and don’ts.

 

General Best Practices for Image Use

  • Keep your business profile pictures uniform across all your social media platforms to ensure brand consistency. Your practice logo is the easiest and most obvious choice.
  • Avoid using any images found on Google. It’s easy to assume that, just because something is posted online, it’s free to use. But assumption can cause legal issues due to copyright infringement. To avoid this, use copyright-free images. To see just how many sources there are, read The Jumbo List of Free Photo Sources for Veterinary Practices.
  • When taking photos of clients and/or patients, make sure to get permission before you use any photos. For more about this (including a downloadable consent form), read Getting Permission to Photograph Patients.

 

In Summary

  1. Make sure all the basics of your social channels are filled out and up to date.
  2. Use images sized correctly for their intended purpose on each social channel.
  3. Use consistent branding across all your channels.
  4. Know the best content types to use on each channel.
  5. Understand hashtag best practices.
  6. Use copyright-free images.
  7. When taking photos of clients and/or patients, get a signed photo release form.

You’ve done it! You’ve completed Step 2 in our four-part series How (and Why) to Create a Solid Social Media Strategy in 2020. And we know it’s been a lot of information. So, take some to let it sink in. Review Part 1 when (or if) you need to and look for Part 3 shortly.

In the meantime, here are some related practice marketing blogs to help inspire you:

 

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