The top 5 mistakes veterinary practices make with social media

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Learn how to avoid these pitfalls and properly promote your practice online.

Brenda Tassava, CVPM, CVJ, author of Social Media for Veterinary Professionals (Lulu, 2010), shares the most common social media problems she sees among veterinarians—and sets the record straight on how to properly promote your practice online.

Mistake #1: Accepting friend requests on your practice's Facebook page. If you're receiving friend requests, then you've set up your practice's page as a personal profile rather than a business page. This can lead to major problems—like trying to decide which clients to friend—and it's frowned upon by Facebook. Your clients should only be able to "like" your page. No worries, though; it's an easy fix. Once you sign in to Facebook, click on the Account button in the top righthand corner and then click on the Help Center to find instructions on how to transition your practice's personal profile to a business page.

Mistake #2: Not linking your practice's business page to your personal profile. All business pages must be attached to a legitimate personal profile. If you have hesitations, create a separate profile using your professional e-mail address and use that profile to manage your practice's page.

Mistake #3: Believing social media will take up all your time. While it's easy to spend hours looking at pictures on Facebook and stalking celebrities on Twitter, this doesn't mean you have to be sucked into social media oblivion. Take time every Monday to plan out your posts and tweets for the entire week. Make a calendar strictly for social media scheduling so everyone knows the plan.

Also, be sure you're receiving e-mail notifications when people comment or post to your social media sites. This will eliminate the need to log on frequently.

Mistake #4: Rejecting social media opportunities if you're older than 24. Don't confuse maturity and professionalism with being hip and cool. Social media doesn't require a lot of technological know-how and is user-friendly. One of the fastest growing demographic segments on Facebook is people age 50 and older. The person managing your social media should know the practice inside and out and deliver exceptional client service.

Mistake #5: USING ALL CAPS IN YOUR POSTS. This is the equivalent of yelling at clients. You don't want to offend loyal pet owners when speaking with the practice's voice, so check out other sites to pick up on online etiquette.

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