The Benefits of Web 2.0 for DVMs and Veterinary Practice Owners

0 Comments Posted by Alyssa Noonan in General, Marketing, Social Media, Websites on Thursday, August 12th, 2010.

Intro to Social Networking for Veterinarians and Veterinary Practice Owners – Part 1

This is the first in a series of articles about why it is important for you, a veterinarian and veterinary hospital owner, to embrace social media in your veterinary practice. Here, we extol the virtues of Facebook, a site created in 2004 by a college student at Harvard (who was later disciplined for the breach of security). In future posts, we’ll discuss how Twitter and YouTube can benefit your bottom line by enhancing your veterinary hospital’s presence on the web.

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0, or social media, is a term coined around six years ago when internet content was no longer restricted to screenfuls of text and graphics delivered to a browser window. The Internet became increasingly interactive, with forums, instant messaging, blogs and websites that invited participation. Social media sites have included Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Facebook Can Benefit You and Your Veterinary Practice

By far the most popular social media site is Facebook, with well over 500 million users. If your veterinary hospital does not have a Facebook fan page, you’re already behind the Web 2.0 wave. If you are wondering how Facebook can possibly help your veterinary practice prosper, think of it as relationship-building. Your veterinary hospital’s Facebook fan page attracts your current clients and builds relationships with them. As you interact with clients on Facebook, provide relevant information and allow them to comment, you build a network of followers who are involved and interested in your veterinary practice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Facebook Is the New “Word of Mouth” for You and Your Veterinary Hospital

Facebook has been described as ”time well wasted.” Why should you waste your time updating your status on Facebook? The answer is simple. Because that’s where your potential clients are. Each of your current clients on Facebook has dozens—sometimes hundreds—of friends. If Jane Smith likes your veterinary hospital Facebook page and makes you a “friend,” her hundreds of friends, many in your community, see that “Jane Smith likes Seaside Pet Hospital.” If Jane Smith’s friends also like your Facebook page, they may also make you their friend….and your fan base continues growing. If you think word-of-mouth is good advertising, think of Facebook as word-of-mouth gone viral.

There is another way that social media sites have enormous potential to increase interest and ultimately business for your veterinary practice. In a recent post, we wrote about the value of having a blog on your veterinary hospital website. A blog greatly increases your chance of being “found” by pet owners who are searching for a veterinarian or veterinary hospital in your community. Google announced recently that its algorithm—the method by which it ranks websites in search results—now takes social media links into consideration. This means that your presence on social media sites strengthens the Google search rankings for your veterinary hospital website. And as you know, the higher your Google rankings, the more visitors to your website.

Your Veterinary Hospital Marketing Strategy Must Include Facebook

Facebook is free and far-reaching. Your advertising and marketing plan must include a Facebook page, a Twitter account and if possible, a dedicated YouTube channel. (More about that in a future article.). VetNetwork can set up a Facebook page for your veterinary practice and show you examples of what to post. Our veterinary marketing experts recommend that you place Twitter and Facebook icons on your veterinary hospital website, linking your hospital’s website to your social media sites. Call the experts at VetNetwork today and within 24 hours, we can add these valuable tools to your hospital’s website.

Then, start spending a few minutes every day on Facebook (along with hundreds of millions of other people). Make sure your Facebook content is relevant and interesting for your veterinary practice clients and of course, make it fun. Consider ugly pet photo contests, informal articles, surveys and news items. And, within a short amount of time, not only are your website’s Google rankings going to increase, but you and your veterinary hospital are going to have hundreds of new friends and fans. Many of these friends and fans are going to become valuable clients—an excellent return on a very small investment. That’s time well spent!

Written and Copyright ©
Mark Feltz, DVM and Kay Harrison
VetNetwork, LLC 2010

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