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How not to be a veterinary twit on Twitter
Avoid these five tweeting styles that will get on your veterinary clients' and potential clients' nerves.
Veterinarians, if your Twitter account isn't gaining any new followers, it could be what you're tweeting in those 140-characters-or-less updates. The world doesn't need another Inane Brain or Happy Clapper—and neither do your clients and potential clients. Here are the most annoying types of tweeters:
STYLE 1: The inane brain
You post inner thoughts or random stuff happening in your life.
Example: "What a lovely day...think I'll have cornflakes. YUM!"
My thoughts: Even if you're someone I'm interested in, I don't necessarily care about your stream-of-consciousness.
Effect if overused: You'll appear to be a boring person to follow, so guess what? No one will.
STYLE 2: The robo-retweeter
You're a copycat who only retweets other people's messages.
Example: "RT @dave_nicol Read about dogs and cool stuff here http://13213xggh.ly"
My thoughts: I don't like Robo-Retweeters. They clog up my Twitter timeline with too much junk. That said, retweeting is useful if used sparingly. I've read many useful articles I'd never have found without someone's retweet. Plus, retweeting a comment is a great way to compliment someone. It shows you liked the comment and helps build relationships with other Twitter users. Just avoid being a Robo-Retweeter. No one wants to wind up looking like an unoriginal signpost.
STYLE 3: The happy clapper
Your tweets are all uplifting quotes from famous people.
Example: "The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground."
My thoughts: The occasional inspirational quote can be uplifting. But when you've got nothing else to say, the effect (ironically) is you look quite unhappy and in need of constant inspiration. Not a great message for a practice to send, if you ask me.
STYLE 4: The salesman
You only tweet promotions for your "awesome" products or services.
Example: "Our great vaccines are only $25 today. Get in quick!"
My thoughts: There's no greater faux pas in social media than to constantly talk about your company's "cool stuff." People's BS radars are highly tuned. They'll smell self-promotion a mile away.
The idea is to get other people to spread the word about your services for you by being amazing at what you do. Then you'll get people tweeting, Facebooking, and telling their friends about you.
STYLE 5: The reply merchant
You only post replies to messages.
Example: "Hey @nonsensetweeter. That's great, see you at "Why it's best to wellness test"."
My thoughts: It's good to reply to others on Twitter, but when you publish too many one-sided replies, your timeline becomes disjointed and utterly meaningless to most people. It's better to use the private message function and keep these short conversations behind closed doors.
Twitter is a versatile tool that allows businesses to interact with clients. Mix up your styles, and don't be afraid to inject personality into your tweets. Keep your online conversations as interesting to your audience as those you have in real life.
Dr. Dave Nicol is a veterinary surgeon and veterinary business consultant in Sydney, Australia. He blogs at dvm360.com under the username "davenicol." Please send comments to email@example.com