What Facebook changes mean for your veterinary practice

April 11, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg and friends are changing data collection practices on the social media giant. Find out what that means for your veterinary hospital online presence and marketing.

Recent revelations about the information-gathering methods of Facebook partners have forced Mark Zuckerberg and company to revise the way they do business. And this may change the way your practice does business, according to Fetch dvm360 conference speaker Bill Schroeder. As he explains it, when users grant profile access to third-party games and apps, personal information gets collected and put to use in various ways.

Schroeder on social media

Worried about your veterinary practice's online reputation? Manage it.

Where do you go for social media inspiration?

Is your veterinary clinic's digital media paying for itself?

"The product of that is a treasure trove of behavioral information that advertisers ... utilize to create really great ads for businesses like veterinary practices," Schroeder says. "This allows for extremely great targeting."

The problem is, this has been going on without Facebook members' explicit knowledge. Because of the recent backlash over this disclosure, Facebook is taking action, revealing that they'll shut down third-party data collection in late 2018.

What does this mean for veterinary practices? Schroeder says those relying on this type of data for targeted advertising will need to use other methods.

"You're going to need to rely upon the internal demographics that are created by Facebook native behavior," he says.

Bot bonus

If you're familiar with Facebook messenger bots-programs that automate some simple Facebook Messenger interactions with potential clients-and your practice is using them to gather demographic information, Bill Schroeder has some advice.

"If you're already using bots as part of your advertising plan, you've been grandfathered in on the program, and it looks like Facebook is going to leave you alone for now," he says.

He cautions you not to make administrative changes to your account, however, so as not to jeopardize your account's standing. If you're not already involved in such a program, it appears you'll have to wait until privacy issues are sorted out, he says.

The best option, he says, is still the tried-and-true email list. While information gathered by outside parties may be fleeting (as shown by the current situation), a collection of customer contacts belongs to you.

"The email list is the lifeblood of your marketing program," he says. "Make certain that you're making real connections with people and that you're gathering as much information on your own as often as you can about those who are following you."

Watch the video for more of Schroeder's suggestions on how to keep these connections and collect legitimate, actionable client information.

You. Can. Do. This!

At Fetch dvm360 conference, we're the support system you need. With every conference this year, we intend to nurture your mind (meaning quality CE for days) while also encouraging you to take stock of your physical and emotional health. Register now.