Facebook Posts May Harm Your Veterinary Hospital’s Reputation

0 Comments Posted by Alyssa Noonan in Facebook Veterinary Marketing, General on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013.

If your veterinary hospital employees are posting embarrassing photos or text, it could be damaging to your veterinary practice’s business. But we sometimes forget how our larger-than-online-lives (and those of our staff!) can suddenly come back to bite us and damage our veterinary reputation!

(It’s the Age of Technology. Do you know where your veterinary digital footprints lead?)

In a world dominated by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, and Google Plus+, being connected is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. And all that connectivity translates to exposure.  Reputations are now two-fold: there’s your real-life reputation and your internet reputation. A stellar job interview becomes meaningless once your potential employer does some online creeping and discovers those tagged photos of you— inebriated, half naked, and dancing on tables. In fact, when he thinks of you again, it won’t be your clever conversation that comes to mind. Many would-be employers even ask (right on the job application) if they can friend you on Facebook.

Privacy matters; this is nothing new. We are savvy when it comes to privacy settings, our photos (at least those we know about); and our public internet commentary.  We realize that our hundreds of online “friends” are not quite the same as those we see offline; and that a friend of a friend of a friend—who may very well be a future employer, client, partner, or long lost birth mother  (hello, six degrees of separation)—could have access to anything we put out there. Bottom line: pieces of our lives are wide open for the world to see.

I recently had a conversation about the effects of social media with a veterinarian in New Jersey (who asked to remain anonymous). He explained that although his personal Facebook account had always been set to private, he never had ‘that conversation’ with staff. One of his technicians (a loyal and talented employee) had zero privacy settings on her Facebook page—a page that reflected an active social life and some ‘choice’ language. He only learned about it when one of his clients complained about photos and commentary she had viewed! “Obviously, people search Facebook for many reasons,” he advised. “And in this case, they want to know whom they are entrusting with their pets. Sure, it was nosy, but the information was out there to be viewed.”  It was unfortunate, but eye opening; and since this event, the New Jersey veterinarian advised all of his employees to set their personal social media pages to private.

It’s important to ask employees to exhibit responsibility with their social media pages. After all, they represent your business, and that fine line between a private life and a professional image has blurred. And it’s especially important to implement strong office policies prohibiting anyone from tweeting or posting about work or clients (unless, of course, they are doing so as the representative and approved voice of the company).

The upside to all this caution is that with increased visibility comes tremendous potential. An internet persona can be utilized to create or even leverage your veterinary practice’s reputation.  A professional Facebook page connects you with pet owners on a daily basis (invaluable!) as you share timely information, special offers, critical reminders, and inspirational or funny photos. This ongoing connection—one that welcomes veterinary client commentary and interaction—is an ideal tool for spotlighting your philosophy, sense of humor, special services, and daily presence. Without a doubt, it’s a small marketing tool that packs tremendous punch… and when utilized creatively and strategically, one that ensures revenue raising digital footprints.

Let Vetnetwork help you create and maintain only the strongest impressions.

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