Fight dental marketing decay
Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. A member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists, Dr. Wooten divides her professional time between small animal practice in Greeley, Colorado, public speaking on associate issues, leadership, and client communication, and writing. She enjoys camping with her family, skiing, SCUBA, and participating in triathlons.
We dont mean for this to be a kick in the teeth, but do you have a social media plan for talking about National Pet Dental Health Month with your veterinary clients? Try out these five tips in February, and then keep the dental education (and income) rolling all year long.
At least someone likes our veterinary dentistry puns. (Shutterstock.com)Before you know it, February will be here and it'll be time for National Pet Dental Health Month. If you aren't on top of your social media game, this marketing opportunity will go whooshing by. Make the most of the month with these simple social media tips I gathered from social media maven and Fetch dvm360 conference speaker, Caitlin DeWilde, DVM (@thesocialdvm).
Disappointed by the lack of interaction on your practice's Facebook page? Get more engagement by posting videos you've created. It's so easy to share video to Facebook now, and these days, video is about the only thing that will get people to stop scrolling and view your content. Keep edutainment videos short-preferably 90 seconds or less or 150 words or less-and stick to one easily explainable topic, such as:
>Why is dental health important?
>What's the difference between a dental prophylaxis and the $5 teeth brushing at your groomer?
>Why does your pet need dental radiography?
>What makes a Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)-approved dental treat better?
>How do you brush a dog's teeth? A cat's teeth?
You will get even more views, comments and shares if you make your videos funny, personable or memorable in any way, but they don't have to be scripted or fancy. Be sure to add a short call to action at the end of the video, such as, “Call our clinic to make a dental exam appointment for your pet today,” or “Want to learn more? Click our website link in this post.”
Don't reinvent the wheel
If you're short on time and inspiration, the AVMA has a National Pet Dental Health Month social media kit you can use for free. Virbac, VOHC, AAHA-and, yes, dvm360.com (check out dvm360.com/dentalhandouts for starters)-also have educational content you're welcome and encouraged to share far and wide. If you don't have any original content yet (you're working on that, right?), mine the dental education gold from these websites to educate and enlighten your clientele.
Show what progress looks like
Before-and-after photos are one of the most powerful advertising tools you possess, so start compiling them now. If you have patients that have had measurable improvements in their quality of life after dental treatment, ask their owners if you can share their stories to help other animals. Clients will almost always say yes, because their pet gets to be famous and they get to be altruistic. Always get your clients' permission before posting photos of their animals.
Get more bang for your buck
With the right targeting, Facebook ads are still ridiculously cheap compared to print, TV, radio or other online advertising. But if you're going to run a Facebook ad, do it right! Facebook offers good instructions on how to properly target your audience.
Don't want to run a traditional Facebook ad? Try posting an offer instead. These offers are free to share, and you can pay to target them to specific demographics and geographical locations. Dr. DeWilde suggests running an offer or ad starting around Jan. 15.
Be your own PR firm
Veterinarians are good at a lot of things, but self-promotion isn't one of them. The good news: You can successfully run your own PR campaign on social media. Simply decide how many posts you want to publish, which posts you want to publish and when you want them published. For example, at Dr. DeWilde's hospital, the social media PR plan is to post one video and two other posts (either recycled content from one of the resources listed or before-and-after testimonials and pictures) every week during National Pet Dental Health month for a total of 12 posts for the month. All of these posts can be directly scheduled into Facebook for specific dates and times.
If you don't have time to create organic content or post to all of your social media platforms, try using a service like IFTTT.com. IFTTT (which stands for “if this then that”) is a free way to get all of your apps, devices and social media platforms talking to each other nicely. Using IFTTT, you can create “recipes” in which some type of event in one device or service automatically triggers an action in another. There are over 300 communication channels to choose from, and it's easy to use.
Dental health is a year-round issue that deserves year-round attention. Use the momentum built this February to keep the conversation going until next February. Your practice and your patients will benefit.
Fetch dvm360 educator Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. A member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists, Dr. Wooten divides her professional time between small animal practice in Greeley, Colorado, public speaking on associate issues, leadership, and client communication, and writing. She enjoys camping with her family, skiing, scuba and participating in triathlons.