Social media: Whats in (and out)
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.
No ones reading your veterinary hospitals e-newsletter anymore? Try these marketing formats instead.
Dig in to these fresh ideas. Trash what's out. Shutterstock.comFacebook Messenger: In
Are you sick of your high-bounce, unopened email newsletters? Let's face it: For some of our customer segments, email marketing is dead. The hottest new trend to replace it is Facebook Messenger.
Really. Don't laugh.
In today's rapidly changing market, those who are the first to try a new feature are usually the ones that reach more customers for a lower cost.
Facebook Messenger has a great open rate, with people still spending tons of time on Facebook. The series of updates called Messenger Platform 2.2 in September was designed to make the app more convenient and user-friendly. The updated Messenger moves beyond one-on-one conversations and can send messages to a group of clients. It also has the capability to set up instant replies and specific “away” messages.
Then there are these cool things called Chatbots, which allow you to build subscriber lists through website widgets, comments on posts, and messages through Facebook and Messenger Ads. Want to learn more? Veterinary consultant Brandon Brashears talks them up in an episode of his podcast.
Video: Sooooo in
If you want to get your practice and brand in front of consumers, then you need to create video content. Don't believe video is king? Check out these stats from consulting firm Insivia:
By the end of 2017, online video will account for 74 percent of all online traffic.
55 percent of people watch videos online every day, and 65 percent of those views lasted for more than three-fourths of a video.
Including video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80 percent.
Four out of five consumers believe demo videos are helpful, and four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
500 million people watch videos on Facebook every day, and Snapchatters watch 10 billion videos a day.
Marketers who use video grow revenue 49 percent faster than those who don't.
On average, people spend more than twice as much time on pages with video than pages without.
In this day and age, your clients have a lot of competition for their attention, and video is a surefire way to stop people from scrolling past your content. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate-just hold up your phone and start recording.
Put the fear of fleas in your clients
Here's a bonus video idea from Caitlin DeWilde, DVM, who owns the social media consulting company The Social DVM and practices as an associate at a St. Louis-area hospital:
Show an actual patient with fleas. If you're able to get a client's permission, you could point out the fleas, the flea dirt (I personally think a lot of owners have no idea what this looks like) and the secondary skin lesions. You could then describe the pet's signs and do a quick blurb on the other problems fleas can cause (e.g. tapeworm transmission, other diseases) as well as how easy it is to prevent and treat with certain products.
Visual is key. Clients can see the parasites. They can see the pet in some degree of distress or discomfort. You have their attention long enough to give a little bit of background info on the medical implications as well as prevention and treatment. This approach establishes the veterinarian as both the source of information and the source of the solution, which is huge.
Veterinarians who are just starting to grow their clientele make the best movie star candidates because they have the time and the hunger. Encourage your doctors to build their business by becoming a YouTube or Facebook Live expert. If they're reticent or nervous, get them a free teleprompter app.
Who knows? Maybe we'll be able to educate and enlighten the general public on what good veterinary medicine looks like, instead of what Animal Planet or Discovery Channel says is “normal” veterinary medicine. (Not naming names, but you know who what I mean.) It's high time we took back our own voice and shared our stories.
Boring blog: Waaaay out
If your clinic's website relies on content from your website or social media provider, then you can be assured that the blog content being pushed out to your website as part of the service is bland and unoriginal (i.e. they're sending the same content to every other practice using their service).
The standard, recycled content currently sitting on too many veterinary websites is borrrrrrring. Your blog is a valuable touchpoint where you can engage with your clients, build trust and rapport, and drive clinic traffic or product sales. It shows off your individual personality, which is the only thing that sets you apart from the crowd. Don't let anyone take that from you!
You. Can. Do. This!
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Blogs work best when they use personal stories to educate. If you want to do a marketing push on leptospirosis vaccines, for example, tell a story about a real patient (with the client's permission, of course) that recovered from lepto. Explain how scary it was for the client and provide a quick overview on risk factors, zoonotic potential and disease prevention.
Think about the material you post from your client's point of view. Is it understandable? Why should they care? Can you be funny or relatable? Even better than writing, post a 90-second vlog (video blog) to your blog instead of text.
Own your voice in the marketplace, and share with the world the thing it needs most: Your own unique perspective. That will always be in.
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.