By Ashley Watson
If you aren’t already using social media for your veterinary practice, take a few minutes to read this post. There are many advantages to incorporating social media into your practice without overburdening your staff or adding to an already overloaded schedule. While you might think that you have to hire an online marketing expert or understand SEO (search engine optimization), you just need a few simple tips to help you use social media effectively.
Why Use Social Media?
By investing a little time and effort into engaging on a few social media platforms, you can attract new clients and help enrich the content that’s already out there on the Internet. No matter what platform you use, interacting on social media can be an effective way to post timely information about your practice, such as check-up and vaccination reminders, any changes in policy or staffing, or just general information to help your clients provide the best care for their animals.
Many people use Facebook in lieu of a website because it is easy to update, and you can put the details of your practice in the “About” section. If you do have a website, social media can help drive traffic to your site by including links to your website. Blogging is another way to do this (see the blogging section below for more information). All of this will help increase business if you are looking to expand.
Because LinkedIn is a platform designed to make professional connections, you may already have a LinkedIn account. If not, this is one social media platform you should seriously consider since it provides the opportunity to connect with other veterinarians and veterinary groups. If you are hiring, it’s a great way to view resumes and other credentials of potential employees. LinkedIn is an extremely valuable tool for any professional in a large field, such as veterinary care.
Another excellent tool used on LinkedIn is the “endorsement.” By endorsing other vets and vet techs for unique skills, such as veterinary acupuncture, you increase awareness about special practices. It also provides a way to keep track with the achievements of your colleagues. While it may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, most social media experts agree that, at the very least, professionals should have a LinkedIn account for their business.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google +
Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or a similar platform, it’s a good idea to at least use one of these social media sites. As mentioned above, this is an easy and free way to increase your business and ultimately your revenue. Think of it as free advertising. Facebook will often change the way people get your information (how your posts show up in their news feeds) because they are trying to get businesses to advertise. There are ways around this, but having a presence is the most important piece. You can link Facebook to your Twitter account so that it automatically puts your Facebook posts on Twitter. Lastly, Facebook allows you to personalize your practice by sharing photos and encouraging clients to post pics of their pets.
Blogging is an excellent way to provide useful information for your clients and to drive traffic to your website. There are plenty of blogs that will help you get started by providing SEO tips, which can help your business become more prominent on the web. One way to do this is to include a link to your blog on your website and other social media platforms, such as the tab we include at the top of our VetriScience® website. You will also want to include a link to your website on your blog, which you can also see here on our blog site. Linking back and forth increases traffic to your sites and, ultimately, your web presence.
We could get into a lot more detail about this, but all you really need to know that publishing a well-written blog post often (weekly if you can) will get more search results. This means that if you post a quality piece about vaccinations for pets with useful information, you are more likely to end up closer to the top of the results when people search for “pet vaccinations,” or “vaccinations for pets.” If you want to learn more about SEO, find a good blog to follow. The Moz Blog is a good source, though some posts may be a bit advanced. For the basics, there are many online articles, such as this one, that can help you get started. Or for general marketing tips, the Market Tech Blog is another good resource.