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Social Media – Which Platform is Best for your Veterinary Practice?

0 Comments Posted by Vet Network in Facebook Veterinary Marketing, General, Industry Trends, Social Media, Veterinary Marketing on Friday, March 1st, 2013.

VetNetwork Presents a 4 Part Blog Series on Social Media for your Veterinary Hospital:

Part 1 – Social Media – Which Platform is Best for your Veterinary Practice?

Part 2 – Understanding Demographics will Help you Build your Hospital’s Facebook Audience.

Part 3 –Recommended Tools and Software for Creating a Successful Facebook Page.

Part 4 – LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc – Are they Beneficial to your Veterinary Practice?

We will be posting these blog articles over the next 3 months. Check back often as they suggest practical and beneficial advice to attract new clients.

Which Social Media Platform is Best for your Practice?

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest) is the modern rage and many practice consultants claim that your hospital cannot succeed without it. This is partially true; however, many hospitals can do just fine without using social media. For hospitals that choose to expand their client communication however, social media provides a perfect way to do it. The question then becomes which platforms promise the best results for your practice and how should you select the optimal, most interesting material to post for your clients.

The Age Factor

If the majority of your clients are over 50 years old, don’t lose sleep over social media. Most pet owners in this category are still struggling with email and simple internet usage. It’s doubtful that they are going to bother with a Facebook account or follow your hospital tweets. However, if the majority of your clients are under 50, developing a social media plan should be on your priority list. The question now becomes which social media platform is most beneficial to your veterinary practice.

Having a Well Thought-Out Campaign

A recent Wall Street Journal survey indicated that a majority of small businesses increased their growth when they executed a well thought-out social media campaign. The operative key to their success lies in the phrase “well thought-out social media campaign.”

For social media to work, it cannot be done ad hoc. You need to appoint an individual to post relevant and interesting material on a very timely basis. This person should understand the needs and interests of your client base, have excellent writing skills, possess some prowess in graphic design and have ample time to manage the platform. Whether this person is a hospital employee, friend or an outside contractor, he or she must be serious and be well-compensated for his/her work. As with other areas of reputation management, maintaining your veterinary hospital’s social media image is an important function as the postings are a reflection of your practice.

Why Facebook is the Most Important Veterinary Hospital Social Media Platform

By far, Facebook is the most important social media platform for veterinary practices. If you have limited time and resources to apply toward social media, focus on Facebook. If you have resources to develop a second platform, LinkedIn or Twitter probably presents your best choice. Twitter works well if your hospital has continuous promotions, special deals or discounts or if you offer “instant gratification” products. Twitter resembles a conversation so, if you tweet, it needs to be done at least 5-6 times a day. An occasional tweet about an article you read or a disease alert for pet owners may sound good but it has no real value in the Twitter arena. Facebook fosters lasting relationships and builds your community; Twitter is an outlet for quick, short, instant messages. Understanding the difference between the two will help you develop the best platform for your veterinary practice.

Next Article – Your Hospital’s Unique Facebook Postings

The second article in this blog series will discuss your Veterinary Hospital’s Facebook postings and the demographic information provided in them. Your client base is unique and your postings should reflect this. A rural veterinary practice’s Facebook postings should be much different than an urban hospital’s postings. Geography, income levels, socio economic disparities all play a part when casting your hospital’s Facebook net. Check back soon to read how you can optimize your veterinary hospital’s Facebook presence by understanding your audience.

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