5 bad social media moves for veterinarians


Tame your tweets by avoiding these networking no-no's.

If you're coming to one of the CVC conventions this year, whether in Kansas City in August or San Diego in October, prepare to be in the zone—one of our interactive learning zones, that is.

This year we're launching a new experience in the exhibit hall. We've taken content from the "pillars" of dvm360.com—Business, Team, Medicine, and News—and put it into a hands-on learning format. The dvm360 Business Zone will focus on social media, and experts will be on hand to answer your questions and assist you with your own Facebook or Twitter efforts. (Visit thecvc.com/zones to learn more.)

To help you get in the zone, I've prepared a mini-tutorial. The experts at CVC will tell you what you should do, so I'll focus on what not to do when it comes to social media. (Some of these I've learned by experience—but I'm not saying which ones.)

1. Launch a blog, then fail to update it. I can't tell you how many practice websites I've visited that proclaim, "Visit our blog!" So I do, only to find a total of three entries, the most recent dated Jan. 24, 2009. If you're going to blog, commit to posting at least twice a month. If you can't manage that (and believe me, I know how hard it is), take it down and remove the references.

2. Post only promotional messages. Just like we've all learned to glaze over direct mail emblazoned with "Low APR guaranteed," social media connoisseurs will glaze over tweets and status updates that all say something like, "Get 10 percent off your next visit!" There's nothing wrong with making discounts and special offers available to your followers, but keep them engaged with regular messages that are original and don't have an ulterior motive. These days, a tweet or status update that contains no linked text, "@" symbol, retweet, or "XX% off!" language is as eye-catching as a hand-addressed letter in your mailbox.

3. Overpost. We all know them. We've all blocked or hidden them from our feeds. They're the people who latch on to Twitter or Facebook as an outlet for every thought that floats into their stream of consciousness. Really, do these people not have anything else to do all day? Relentless barrages of tweets and status updates can get oppressive.

4. Crab about a client or a boss. This seems like it should go without saying, but I still hear horror stories about people who've used Facebook or Twitter to vent after a bad day—and they're surprised when they lose their jobs. If you wouldn't want a particular person or group reading it, don't post it. Assume anything you put out there is public.

5. Do nothing. I admit that the first time I heard about Facebook, I thought, "It'll pass." The first time I heard about Twitter, I thought, "What a dumb name." Needless to say, I'm no longer a doubter. And you shouldn't be either. So stop by the Business Zone at CVC—if only to say hi and post a #CVC tweet to your followers.

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