Use social media to offer value, set expectations, and gain more customers
Pandemic life has most pet parents spending waaaaay more time with their fur babies than usual. They’re paying more attention to their pets and notice right away when things are a little off. It means that at some point, they’ll need to reach out to a veterinarian’s office for help.
Is your practice well-positioned on social media to be the veterinarian of choice?
“Why is your eye oozing like that?”
“You’re scratching way more than usual.”
“This is the third time you’ve rubbed your rump on my carpet today! What gives?!”
Pet parents have questions.
You’ve got answers, but how do you get them to trust that you’re the best source of information and the best vet option for them?
Creating a customer-centric social media strategy that bonds pet owners to you BEFORE THEY NEED YOU is the right play. This strategy invites them into your space to look around, get to know you, and gain trust, so your office is the first call when it’s time for an appointment.
What does your social media presence say about you?
Like any other service, veterinary customers begin their quest with a good, ‘ole Google search. They read reviews and ask friends or family members for referrals. But, I guarantee that at some point in those initial stages, they’ll head to social media to check out your practice.
They want to feel good about your practice, the people, and what you represent.
- Are the doctors any good?
- Do people seem to like the service and/or leave positive comments?
- Does your practice offer good, solid, valuable advice?
- Do you seem to have regular customers or just a few here and there?
- Do the employees look like they’re having fun and enjoying their work? Are they smiling at all?
- CAN I TRUST THEM WITH MY BABY?
Your audience uses your social media presence to decide if they’ll take the chance of leaving their fur baby in your care. Pet parents come to that conclusion based on the content you post and how people respond to it. Your content showcases your expertise and helps them decide whether you can be trusted. They’re paying attention when you offer advice on:
- Managing seasonal allergies
- Better ways to brush their pet’s teeth
- How often to bathe pets without leaving dry, itchy skin
- When an injury needs an emergency hospital vs. a veterinarian appointment
Well-planned and consistent content allows people to get a glimpse of your take on common issues and how you manage their concerns. Social media allows them the experience without being in the room.
Inquiring minds want to know who’s on your team
Vetting a practice isn’t just about the doctors, it’s about the entire team.
Pet parents want to know they’ll be greeted by friendly desk staff, that the tech who’ll cut the dog’s nails knows what they’re doing, and that the iguana will be left in a safe space while waiting to be picked up. Social media is the perfect way to showcase your team and give customers a sense of who’s doing what at every stage of their pet’s visit.
A part of building comfort and trust is simply becoming familiar with names and faces they’ll recognize later. So, use social media to feature your employees.
- Consider posting a video of a drop-off between a technician and pet owner that went really well
- Show images of an employee comforting a pet who suffered a little anxiety being away from their owner.
- Feature a staff member dressed up for the season’s holiday
- It may be as simple as asking employees to introduce themselves in a quick video, reassuring customers that employees are great at what they do
Your team is your success. Let your audience see that!
Feature specific success stories – toot your own horn!
Every practice has a story or stories that make the team proud of what they do. Tell the world about the time your team nursed the rescue cat back to health, saved the litter of puppies from a bout with Parvo, or just loved on the 12-year-old goat that’s been treated at your practice since it was a kid.
Don’t hide your success stories! These shared experiences reassure potential customers that you know what you’re doing and can be trusted with their beloved family members.
Side note: Don’t forget to ask permission from the pet parents before sharing their story and image with the world.
Social media is a two-way street
One of the best features of social media is the opportunity to interact with your audience on a regular basis. Unfortunately, businesses drop the ball and see it ONLY as a way to give out information. Remember, social media is SOCIAL. Followers see it as a way to reach out and touch, if only briefly.
Whether managed by the practice manager, intern, or social media manager, there should be someone delegated to respond to questions, comments, or concerns on all social media platforms. If questions aren’t answered or comments are ignored, this signals to your audience that you may be just as unattentive if they have questions or concerns as a customer.
Be sure that whoever manages your accounts have smartphone notifications turned on for each platform so they know when content responses are received. When that’s not possible or might be a distraction during the workday, schedule time at least twice per day to check platforms for comments or inquiries.
Your practice doesn’t have a social media presence just yet? You’re missing out! Consider putting the medium to use ASAP! If you have accounts but don’t do much with them, you’re missing out on an entirely new customer base that’s waiting to hear what you have to say.