When you decided to pursue a career in animal health care, figuring out how to market your practice more effectively on social media probably didn’t top your list of things you’re most passionate about. To save you time sifting through umpteen online reports and how-to blogs, here are 12 quick-win tips to boost your social media presence:
1. Add New Social Media Channels
2. Post Relevant Content
Some content will always be consistently relevant, like educational social media posts each spring about flea and tick prevention. Yet some content can unexpectedly take on extra relevance due to unforeseen circumstance.
Travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, for example, caused a backyard pool boom in 2020, which continues in 2021. That means, pet water safety information for pet owners currently has a new level of relevance and importance. That’s why we’re currently our free Pet Water Safety Client Education Kit with social posts and other tools and resources for practices to easily educate clients about water safety.
3. Post Consistently
Consistency is the basic rule for building social media engagement. Sporadic posts can give people the impression that you’re only sporadically interested in them.
In terms of how often you should post, studies generally agree on the following:
- Once per day on Facebook (to a maximum of two posts per day)
- Once per day on Instagram is optimal (to a maximum of three posts per day)
For Twitter, there’s no real consensus on frequency. While some maintain that three to five tweets per day is optimal, other studies support that the more you tweet, the more value you get from Twitter.
4. Keep It Real
Social media is a conversational medium where authenticity is key, meaning they’re not looking for interaction with a corporation. They want to engage with the real-life humans with whom they trust to care for their beloved furry babies. So, write as a person. Use conversational language. Share behind-the-scenes posts. Profile your staff. Post about real patients and use real photos.
5. Embrace Good and Bad Reviews
Being authentic (and transparent) means allowing negative reviews on your social media pages. Yes, it seems counterintuitive to building your practice reputation. Yet hiding negative reviews can backfire in that it tends to break pet owner trust. Instead, think of negative as customer service opportunities. (For more info, read our blog, “Understanding Why Clients Post Negative Reviews Online.”)
6. Make Your Social Media Channels Known
If your clients don’t know your practice is on social, they can’t engage with you or share your posts with other pet owners. So, direct clients to your social media channels wherever you can: at reception, on your veterinary website, and in all client communications.
7. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to strategically market your practice better on social because they make it easy for pet owners to find your content online. Yet don’t overuse hashtags. Tweets with 1-2 hashtags, for example, see (on average) 21% more engagement than Tweets with three or more hashtags. (For more about hashtags, including proper hashtag etiquette, read our blog, “The Art of the Hashtag.”)
8. Post Entertaining Content
The #1 reason why Millennials and Gen Z visit their preferred social media platforms is to find entertaining content, according to a recent YPulse report. Yes, some pet health subjects don’t lend themselves to lighthearted treatment. Yet when appropriate, engage clients on social with things like funny pet videos, a fun game like a caption or photo contest, or a pet meme. (New to writing pet memes? Read our recent humor blog, “Pet Memes Made Easy!”)
9. Always Provide Value
Quality is as important as consistency on social, meaning don’t just post something for the sake of it. Share timely educational information, fun posts to make clients smile, community event details, and anything else that you feel will be useful or entertaining for clients.
10. Ask and Answer Questions
Asking questions on social provides more than a way to engage pet owners. Asking questions helps you better understand your audience (and the relevant content they seek) by keeping tabs on what they’re thinking and what’s important to them, which ultimately strengthens social media engagement and client relationships.
11. Prioritize Evergreen Content
There’s nothing wrong with posting one-off content based on some trending topic or breaking news story. Yet posts based on trending topics tend to have a very short shelf life. So, prioritize your focus on topics that have no expiry date, like pet nutrition, weight management, or heartworm prevention.
12. Experiment with Your Social Media Mix
What’s the best mix to engage pet owners on social? There’s no magic recipe. Yet by experimenting with equal parts fun, education, and promotion in your social media mix, you’ll quickly figure out what works best for your practice to engage pet owners and keep them engaged.