Rx for veterinary social media

April 28, 2016
Brent Dickinson

Heres my advice for DIY social media to promote your great veterinary hospital that doesnt take all day.

Social media doesn't have to be a bitter pill to swallow. Delegate it. Focus it. You can make it manageable.Everybody wants a magic pill to make all their social media work go away. Well, I don't have that. For a lot of us, social media can be tough. But I have a doable prescription for all of us to find success and really express what our practices are about every day for clients and clients-to-be. Here's my Rx to make social media a snap at your practice:

Show what you do

You do stuff every day. However, when people drive by your practice, or even come inside, they don't always see the stuff you're doing. So, get that fancy smartphone out of your pocket and take some pictures of you and your staff doing what you do every day. Remember, if customers, their kids or their pets are in the photo, get their permission to post/use it. (You can use a permission form like this one.)

When was the last time you posted a photo of an intestinal parasite through the lens of your microscope? How about your stocking manager checking expiration dates on products in stock? Even the ever-so-popular vet tech catching a urine sample? These photos show your team members in their element.

People like to see veterinary medicine isn't just cuddling with puppies and kittens.

People like to see that veterinary medicine isn't just cuddling with puppies and kittens (even though those posts are great, too). That shot of your staffer checking dates shows you care about the products you dispense and ensure they're fresh. The tech dodging pee is doing an awesome job that loads of people wouldn't attempt, so it shows their commitment. It's not hard to find the story in your practice, but it's easy to forget to share them.

Post on the (more than) daily

Take three pictures a day, with or without a meal, for the rest of eternity. You need to make this part of your routine. Put it on your calendar! Make a reminder in your phone! Make it someone's job! Get it done. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter push more frequent users to the front of the pack, and this gets your practice and your message in front of more eyes.

The best part of social media is you don't even need to pay ...

Think of it this way: Who gets more exposure-a business with a cardboard sign on a telephone pole, or a business with 30 billboards along the highway? The best part of social media is that you don't even need to pay for those billboards (unless you really want to step up your game). Use this no-cost marketing pot of gold that's right in front of you. I guarantee another practice in your area will.

Post on your own website

Perhaps the best posts on social media outlets are those that go “viral”-meaning, they're shared and liked so many times that they take off like a wildfire. And our practice has found that the types of content in posts matters.

Great information is worth sharing, so post links to articles posted on your own website (not someone else's). This drives traffic to your page and shows clients-to-be just how much more informative you are than their current veterinarian. (Editor's note: Need stuff to post? We've got you covered-start here.)

People are big fans of charity and good citizenship.

People are also big fans of charity and good citizenship. Scan and post lost-pet flyers you find in town or have posted at your clinic. Take a photo of the donation bin on your front desk to help pets in need. People will share it because it's their own way of helping or donating, even if they can't afford to themselves.

Don't be scared. Fill this scrip. Pages like Facebook and Twitter have made seeing your successes easier than ever. Use those analysis tools. Take ideas from your staff (especially the younger members). Make social media part of your treatment plan and you'll never come down with social media malaise again.

Brent Dickinson is practice manager at Dickinson-McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Chesterfield, New Jersey.