These 3 trends are not new, but they should be an essential part of your 2019 social media strategy.
Social media is always changing and expanding—and 2018 was no exception. Video content continued to gain traction as one of the most important media for generating engagement, Instagram surpassed 1 billion monthly active users, and Google announced it would shut down its consumer social network Google+ by spring 2019.
What can you expect for the year ahead? Consider these 3 growing trends when planning your social media marketing strategy for 2019:
Get Ready to Go Live
Creating live videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram is not a new social media concept, but its popularity is expected to soar in 2019, making it a must for veterinary practices looking to increase engagement. Live videos are favored by consumers over traditional video posts because they are perceived to be more spontaneous, trustworthy, and authentic.
Although no editing is used to produce a live video, do not press 'record' without proper planning. Before going live, come up with a concept or video topic and create related talking points so you are never left speechless. For your first live social media video, consider answering some of the frequently asked questions your hospital receives. Not only is this a topic that your clients are interested in, you will likely feel comfortable answering these questions on camera because you already respond to them frequently.
Provide Customer Service 2.0
The advent of artificial intelligence as an expected element of major brands’ websites and social media channels has trickled down to small businesses. Now, consumers expect to be able to receive real-time responses and book appointments without ever having any human interaction, regardless of a business' size.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to add this element to your hospital’s offerings is to install a chatbot through your clinic’s Facebook page. There are many third-party chatbot programs that easily integrate with Facebook Messenger. With a chatbot you create engaging, but predetermined responses to common questions your practice answers, such as hours of operation, services you provide, location, etc. Clients are aware they are speaking with a bot, but they get the answers they are looking for in a timely manner, which is key to increasing customer satisfaction.
Become a Social Media Storyteller
Like live videos, social media stories are not a new feature in 2019, but they are becoming increasingly popular. Some digital marketing experts would argue that it is more important to generate an Instagram story than a static newsfeed post. If your clinic has not ventured into stories yet, it is time to get started.
So what makes a social media story different from a standard post? For starters, stories do not have a very long shelf life (just 24 hours) but that does not negate their importance or ability to create engagement. Use social media stories as an opportunity to take followers behind-the-scenes and show your hospital’s human side with consecutive posts that depict something happening at your clinic. Some ideas include a before-and-after of dog that has just been groomed, a cat reunited with its owner following an overnight stay, or a patient being greeted and loved by different members of the veterinary staff.