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What social media can do for you


DVM360 MAGAZINE


Expand your reach

After you feel confident using one social medium, expand your reach through other platforms. Using the benefit example above, you could expand your reach from Twitter by adding posts to Facebook and your blog to tell more of the story and engage your audience. Here are some posting ideas for the benefit example:

  • Tell the story of a particular pet that inspired your benefit, and how the benefit could help him.
  • Talk about your benefit goal — do you want to raise $500? $1,000? How will the shelter use their donations to help pets? How many bandannas and toys will it take for you to achieve your goal?
  • Run a photo contest of pets wearing your bandannas or playing with your cat toys to promote even more interest in your cause.
  • Post a picture of shelter pets for adoption to tie in with your benefit. The pictures could be of a shelter dog wearing one of your bandannas, or a cat with one of your toys, perhaps given free to new pet owners who adopt pets from the shelter that week. Pictures and videos help attract attention and they are easy to upload on most social media sites.
  • Always show your practice's website so that people can find more information to learn about your practice. In this case, because you are benefiting the local shelter, consider imbedding a link to the shelter's website, too, especially if they also link back to yours.

Keep the momentum

After setting your goals, determining your cause and getting familiar with various social media, a little bit of planning can help keep your marketing on track. Make a list of four to 12 topics to post about throughout the year on your social media sites. The topics should be interesting and useful to pet owners and support your marketing goals. Whenever you can, tie each topic into a bigger event, such as diabetes awareness in November. Then you can ride the PR wave that larger groups have already created to make it work for pets and your practice.

Add your social media links to your website and practice handouts, so that all of your marketing pieces reinforce each other. Try to maintain a consistent look across all platforms and print materials to build your brand. Make sure to read the rules and guidelines on each site to ensure that your links are in compliance.

Finally, make sure your staff knows what's going on. Send them to your website and to the social media sites you use so they can become familiar with them. Ask them for topic ideas and make sure that your hospital team members know when and what about you are blogging, tweeting and posting. That way, employees will feel "in the know" and unsurprised by client questions about recent announcements and posts.

Are you are still on the fence about using social media for your practice? If so, consider this: In May 2010, 75 percent of active internet U.S. household visited social networking sites, according to the Nielson Company's "Internet & Social Media Consumer Insights" report. Users averaged more than six hours online, double the amount of time they did a year ago, and spent 22 percent of that time on social media sites.

Now is the perfect time for you to jump into the social media pool. Your clients are already there and you need to be there, too. I hope the example in this article has given you ideas about how to use social media to help build your practice.

Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM, is a veterinary business consultant and nationally known writer and speaker. She is an adjunct instructor for AAHA, and a founding member of VetPartners.

For a complete list of articles by Dr. Gavzer, visit http://dvm360.com/gavzer/.


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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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