5 reasons why social media is beneficial for your practice

5 reasons why social media is beneficial for your practice

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Aug 01, 2010

This whole social media thing can be intimidating and confusing, not to mention time-consuming! So, what's a veterinary practice to do?

That's not an easy question to answer, especially since most of what's written about blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media is directed at large companies that have tangible products to sell worldwide. Veterinary practices, on the other hand, sell intangible services that require a close veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Nevertheless, you shouldn't ignore these sites. Your clients and potential clients are using them, so you should be, too.

We are all pioneers when it comes to social media. We're still learning what these sites have to offer businesses. Even sophisticated, global companies that have whole departments dedicated to social-media exploration haven't yet discovered how to make social media reliably, commercially viable to their businesses.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an expert on social media. I am on my own journey to discover what social media has to offer in the hope that what I learn will apply to veterinary practices and will save you the trouble of re-creating the wheel. Here are five things I've learned so far that may be helpful to you:

1. Social media keeps your practice relevant.

Like many people, visiting Facebook is part of my day. I usually start my visit by scrolling down the news feed on my home page to see what people are talking about. I'm constantly amazed how many people post pictures, videos and comments about their pets. My guess is that you'll be amazed, too, once you try it. And, once you familiarize yourself with a few of the social media sites, you'll quickly see how easy and cost-effective it is to position yourself as a pet expert while raising awareness about your practice.

For instance, a short while back, I learned through social media that it was Take Your Pet to Work Day. If I was in veterinary practice and had a social media account or blog, I would have immediately posted tips to help pet owners better manage their pets' experience in the workplace, from the car ride to how to ensure a comfortable day for their pets in a strange place to how to introduce their pets to colleagues. Clients would have noticed this timely advice. If they liked it, they could have passed along the tips to other pet owners.

Why not make a habit of visiting social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, or just Googling for pet-related news every day? When you see something like the Take Your Pet to Work Day announcement, you can jump on it by providing useful information and tips on your practice's website and social media pages. This is a great way to get pet owners talking about you, and elevate awareness about your practice.