Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to grow their customer base, but it can be hard to find the money necessary for traditional advertising. Thankfully, social media offers a cost-effective alternative to help you reach local pet owners and potential clients and draw them toward your veterinary practice. The veterinary industry is full of options to meet the needs of pet owners and each furry friend, but with just a few adjustments to your social media strategy on popular social networks, you’ll be able to promote your business without spending much money at all!
Before you get started with these social media tips, make sure that you have a solid understanding of the basics of social media so that you don’t waste time trying out strategies that won’t create the most engagement for your veterinary clinic.
Why do veterinary practices need to be on social media?
Every growing veterinary practice, no matter how big or small must have a website. But that’s just the beginning when it comes to building your online presence. This is the age of social media marketing, so if you don’t have a multi-pronged approach with various social media channels, then you are severely limiting yourself in terms of reaching pet owners.
For example, Facebook users spend an average of 53 minutes per day on the site. Twitter users spend about 22 minutes daily. If you can grab even a fraction of that time from just a couple of your target demographics, showing them why your busy veterinary practice can meet the veterinary care needs of their pets, it can have a dramatic effect on scaling your practice.
Now that you know why social media is important, here are a few specific social media marketing tips for your veterinary hospital on how to make the most of social media so that you can get more eyes on your pet care, products, or services.
Essential social media marketing tips
Start with a strategy and make your objectives clear
Before you go about making a social media profile and posting away, think about what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. Each small practice is different; some practices want to boost their social media presence and increase their client communication on social media while others aim to create content by providing a behind the scenes look about pet topics, sharing pet photos during routine checkups, a look into the exam room and posting about the experiences of current clients. If you don’t know where you’re headed, then it will be much harder for you to get there, so deciding how you want to utilize social media to your advantage is key.
Social media is a powerful tool for veterinary professionals to grow their reach and increase revenue. But without the right social media marketing plan, it can be difficult to know if you’re making progress or wasting time on something that isn’t working out as planned. To get started focus your efforts by setting goals and objectives for your social media posts.
Have specific, measurable goals, like clicks to your website or the number of followers that you want to gain over a period of time. Likes and followers tend to be vanity metrics and don’t always translate to sales, but you’ll need a healthy number of engaged followers to get visibility for your practice. Make sure you define what the call to action will be on your social posts and in your bio.
Define your audience
A common mistake that many veterinary clinic owners make as they begin to take on social media management is that they don’t pay attention to who their target audience actually is. Before you start trying out different social media platforms, think about who your main clients will be and what kinds of content they’re most likely to engage with. For example, if you don’t cater to small pets, you probably should avoid topics about rodents and reptiles.
Social media is an incredible tool for veterinary practices of all sizes, but many people don’t realize that you can use a social network to specifically target local pet owners. For example: if you have your ideal clients in mind, people who own pets, and know they are on Instagram every day before work, then you could schedule your posts, timely information that is relevant for potential customers, to go live at the time your audience is most active on social media.
By identifying your target audience, you can create quality content for the social channels that will reach your ideal customers at just the right time. It also helps you define which social media platform most pet owners frequent.
Decide which platforms are the best fit for your practice
Your practice’s social media strategy does not need to focus on every platform, so decide which social platforms and messages are right for your particular practice based on your audience research. Some practices might not have the resources to manage Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. In that case, pick one or two social media platforms where your audience, fellow lovers of animals, is and focus on building a strong community of followers on them before you go anywhere else. You can always branch out into other social media after that point.
You should also consider what different types of content you can create consistently. For example. TikTok is all video content. If you only have creative ways to create images and not videos, TikTok isn’t the right channel for you. However, Instagram and Facebook may be a good fit, assuming your target audience uses those social channels.
Focus on quality over quantity
One of the most common mistakes that a practice owner can make is posting on social media as much as possible with very little thought. It’s important that you focus on quality over quantity when it comes to social media marketing. If all your posts were just pitch-and-sell, then no one would want to follow you in the first place! Remember: relationships take time- don’t shortcut this step by posting cruddy content or spamming people’s feeds constantly with useless information. Come up with unique post ideas and ways to remind clients why your business is the best fit for their pet’s veterinary needs.
Engagement is critical to success
One of the most important things about social media is how you interact with other users. You need to have conversations with people, ask questions, have a conversation or two, encourage comments, etc. Don’t just promote yourself constantly – try to bolster engagement with others on a regular basis. It’s also important that you respond quickly when someone needs your help or responds to one of your posts.
By interacting with existing clients and potential new clients regularly via social media channels, you’re creating lasting relationships that will, in the long run, help to grow your business.
Choose the right social media tools
With so many different social media tools and services out there, it can be difficult to know which ones are the best fit for managing your veterinary social media accounts. Make sure you choose ones that will give your practice a true advantage because they will make your life much easier when it comes time to schedule posts, monitor campaigns, and get analytics about how well everything is performing.
It’s important as a veterinary business owner to know what type of posts perform best for you, your followers, and your practice. Analytics tools can help with this, by showing which social media posting schedule is the most profitable or identifying popular hashtags that might be appropriate in certain circumstances. This can really help you or your team create compelling content for your practice, so you don’t get lost in all the noise.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just the start of what’s possible with social media. Social Media for small businesses can be overwhelming but there is no need to worry! By utilizing the tips above to determine which social media platform and tools will reach other pet owners and give your practice the best results by boosting engagement and sales, you’ll see your business grow.