Social Media and Your Veterinary Practice – GROW!

  • admin
  • February 24th, 2021
Pet Mom with white dog" alt="">

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.

Black labrador

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.

Dog getting medicine with needle

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.

Your layoff can produce life!

  • mannette
  • July 22nd, 2019
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Your layoff can produce life!

“I’m here to tell you that your position has been eliminated…”

“Wait…what?!”

I really don’t remember much of what he said after that.

Termination was the last thing on my mind that Monday in March several years ago. I NEVER imagined that the area manager, unexpectedly zipping through the property early that morning, was THERE – FOR – ME. ??

If you’ve ever been laid off, you know how surreal it can be in those first few moments immediately after. Somehow, you’ve got to gather yourself, get up from the chair, and walk through your now-former place of employment without falling on your face.

Good luck with that.

One week before the layoffs. Ignorance is bliss!
Notice my work badge hanging in the background.

So, now what? My recently, but happily-divorced, brand-new mother-self wasn’t quite sure what to do. That job gave me stability after divorce and, until that moment, I hadn’t worried about money. In the blink of an eye, it all changed. To make matters worse, I hadn’t seen it coming. 

I had a child to care for and bills to pay! I had a mortgage to maintain! How was this supposed to work?

image of the author and her child.
Her first Halloween a few months after she was born.
I’d rushed from work to spend it with her.

After the sting wore off, a realization set in. A self-assessment was long overdue. Big decisions were looming and I had to be honest about who my ‘work self’ was.

Here’s what I came to terms with. 

I’m easily restless. Doing the same job over and over again aggravates me. It sucks the life and joy out of my day. Running on a schedule and punching a clock for someone else is just painful. So, while the layoff was a shock to the system, it wasn’t completely unwelcome.

I was ready for something new and I saw a HUGE opportunity. 

Options, Options, Options

I’d wanted to work for myself for a very long time. I dreamed and daydreamed about it and the itch just wouldn’t go away.

I’ve tried several ventures over the years, but I remember at one point trying to sell Mary Kay Coooos-metics. Imagine trying to sell makeup when you just really don’t care about makeup. ???

That doesn’t work too well and it most definitely didn’t work for me.

It did, however, give me a taste of working by my own rules, in my own time, and striving to reach my own goals! 

BEST – FEELING – EVER!

So, a few weeks later, while sitting in the kitchen feeding my then two-year-old and contemplating next steps, I made a decision to change my focus.

Why not help people just like me?

I pivoted into a totally different industry and began helping business owners build their online presence. I started by designing small business websites and quickly moved to teach entrepreneurs how social media integrated with their sites to increase business. 

That led to my love of social media. This new digital phenomenon was great from a personal perspective, and I also saw how it could help small business owners thrive in ways they couldn’t before. It opened doors for entrepreneurs who didn’t have a budget for magazine, newspaper, and television ads.

Now, small business owners can get their product or service in front of thousands of potential customers…for $10! Before social media, even an ad in the local city or county newspaper could run you $500!

As for me, it allowed me to thrive in a space and place I’d created for myself. It felt wonderful, crazy, scary, overwhelming, and peaceful all at the same time.

I found purpose in helping other small business owners build their own online space in the social mediasphere.

Author at various networking events.
I’m not where I want to be, but the journey
getting there has been incredible!
The people I’ve met and the
opportunities I’ve been offered – AWESOME!

Entrepreneurship can be tough, euphoric, and tear-inducing.

Calling it overwhelming is an understatement.

We’ve got 20 things to do in one day… every day, and sometimes we need help.

Allowing someone else to manage the pieces we aren’t so good at or just don’t have time for allows us to thrive.

So, if you need help finding your social media ‘space’, connect with me.

I can help you create and implement a strategy and free up your time to focus on other parts of your business.

Send me a message or schedule a time to talk

Let’s get this done!

The Best Social Media Target Audience You Never Noticed

  • mannette
  • April 27th, 2017
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Social media marketers are constantly trying to find the best way to reach potential customers. If you listen to the plethora of online ‘experts’, you’d think millennials were the target market of the century. They’re the tech savvy generation born and raised in the digital world. Surely they understand and navigate online activity more easily than everyone else, right? But, are they really the group that’ll whip out their wallet…or Apple/Android Pay and spend money with you?

NEWS FLASH! That honor belongs to Generation X.

Generation who?

I belong to Generation X. We are the smallest generation, born between the mid 60’s and early 80’s, and only number about 65 million to millennials’ 83 million. I was born in an age when TVs didn’t have remotes, cell phones didn’t exist, and wearing a seatbelt was only a suggestion. As far as technology is concerned, my college years were spent walking to the campus computer lab to sign up for a time to use the word processor. Rarely did anyone have personal computers in the early 90’s. Well, that one girl down the hall did, but she got tired of everybody knocking on her door during finals’ week.

Fast forward 25 years. Gen Xers have adapted to and embraced the world of technology! On any given day, our eyes are glued to laptops and tablets and smartphones – just like everyone else. And boy do we love our technology! According to a Nielson Social Media Report published this year, Gen Xers spend more time on social media than any other generation! They spend almost 7 hours on social media per week, as compared to Millennials’ 6 hours and Boomers’ four.

Hello! Can anybody hear us?!

Why, then, do marketers ignore Gen Xers and leapfrog their marketing efforts from Baby Boomers to Millennials? Some marketers claim its simple math. According to a 2016 Adweek piece, boomers and millennials get the most attention because they have the largest demographic. Again, while Gen X is 65 million strong, that’s small change compared to boomers’ and millennials’ 74.9 and 75.4 million, respectively. Others think it’s the middle child syndrome. Gen X’ers are bookended by two significant ‘revolutions’. Most Xers don’t remember the Civil Rights Movement or Vietnam from their boomer parents’ generation, and they aren’t the poster children for the digital age, either. For many marketers, these factors make it more difficult to define who they are, since there’s the accepted perception that there is nothing to make them unique. Instead of trying to figure out how to market to this multi-dimensional generation, they’ve been largely ignored by most.

Generation X spends money!

While they aren’t the largest generation, 65 million wallets are nothing to sneeze at. But, outside of just their demographic number, there are a few things that should make marketers sit up and take notice.

According to the same Nielson report, medium social media users are defined as anyone who spends 1-2 hours on social media per day. Remember, Generation X spends almost 7 hours on social media per week. Here are a few stats to get you thinking:

  1. 80% of online purchases are completed by medium social media users. Looking at the data, these users are a pretty even combination of millennials…and GENERATION X.
  2. In the past 12 months, 48% of medium social media users who made online purchases spent money for clothing, 33% purchased books, and 27% purchased airline tickets.
  3. With Generation X spending more time on social media than any others, marketers have more of an opportunity to reach  and sell to them.

Do your homework to understand!

Even with all of this data, you’ve got to understand more than just the numbers. Gen Xers have more disposable income to spread around. Millennials are generally focused on growing income and trying to determine their next career move. Boomers are in or contemplating retirement, so they may pull back the reigns a bit on spending. Gen Xers, in general, are in a stage of life where work is stable, salaries are stable, retirement accounts are stable, and they can afford to spend and splurge a little.

While Xers adapted to the digital world, they are more than comfortable with online shopping. They’ll still pack up the family and head to the mall or outlet to shop, but they are just as likely to put their feet up and search online for that leather jacket they can finally afford.

BONUS: Gen Xers tend to be more loyal than other generations. Translation:If they like your product, they’ll come back again and make additional purchases. Sales 101: current customers typically spend more money than new ones. Make sense?

So, don’t overlook the generation with money to spend by following the crowd or trends! Gen Xers may not be the ‘it’ generation, but have the dollars you’re trying to get.