Social media is a two-way street


Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterestit doesn't matter which social media platforms your veterinary practice has its hooks in. Want succeed? You can't just talk AT gotta talk TO people!

Your clients want to know how you can be of value to them and their pet, not how they can be of value to you. Want to know what they need? Ask them. (Illustration Getty Images)My idea starts with a great video I saw recently. Tara Hunt-a big thinker in online and social marketing-produces the web series Truly Social (check it out here). In "Your Definition of Social Is Wrong," she gives examples of activities that businesses engage in that really aren't social and why they aren't connecting with their audiences. Scheduling posts, placing ads and generating automated responses are just a few of the activities she mentions.

I think I know what she's talking about. Today's practice owners, team members, practice managers and social media managers need to know when to talk ... and when to shut up.

1. Talk, don't tell

If you're just posting an ad for a product or service, you're not engaging with clients. Your clients want to know how you can be of value to them and their pet, not how they can be of value to you.

Think about this the next time you post something on Facebook or YouTube about Dental Month specials. Don't just publicize a discount-explain why dentals are necessary and beneficial to the health of their pet. Post questions, not just statements, and thoughtfully respond to comments.

The point is to start and have a conversation, which begins with asking questions of your audience. Remember, social media is supposed to be social and not one-way discussions.

2. Don't argue with clients

At one time or another, we all deal with nasty remarks online about us, our hospitals or our team members on social media. In my opinion, arguing with a client in public online is damaging to your reputation and a surefire way to ruin relationships. What the client posts may be hurtful or even false, but as professionals it's important for us to rise above our personal feelings and handle the situation with grace and tact.

One of the best ways to respond is to acknowledge the client's remarks and offer to call them to resolve the situation. This shows everyone reading online that not only do you monitor your social media channels, but you also want to try to resolve client complaints. If you instead attack the client, you're showing the audience you're not just unwilling to try to resolve a complaint, but you're teaching them to stay quiet when they aren't completely satisfied and just never come back your practice again.

Christine Scarborough, RVT, CVPM, owns Scarborough Veterinary Consulting in Villa Rica, Georgia.

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