4. Find your content
No one wants to subscribe to see you pitching your sales and services 24/7. They want to subscribe to you because you share
information that's interesting, educational, helpful, funny and engaging. You should give them what they want (with a moderate
dose of information about your practice, of course).
One easy way to do this is to let other people create the content and deliver it to you so that you can share the best of
it with your own clients. Email newsletters are a wonderful way to get articles, blog posts and videos delivered right to
your inbox. Some of the best media outlets you can subscribe to are from the AVMA, http://dvm360.com and ASPCA Poison Control. You can collect these newsletters in a folder in your email program. When you need content for
your social media outlet, voila!
Additionally, developing a list of websites with great information for clients—such as http://dvm360.com and http://veterinarypartner.com—allow you to find links quickly to specific information you want your clients to have.
5. Use a social media calendar and a scheduler
Now that you have clear goals, your brand on your mind (and your mind on your brand), and helpful, funny, interesting, educational
and engaging content that you're ready to share, it's time to take action.
First, schedule one hour per week as social media time. Then create a plan for what content you want to put out over the next
seven days. Use a web-based program to schedule posts automatically at designated times.
The social media management company Virtue released a study of Facebook usage between 2007 and the end of 2010 that indicated
the greatest activity on the site was on weekdays at 3 p.m. EST, followed by 11 a.m. EST, and 8 p.m. EST. Wednesday at 3 p.m.
EST was consistently the busiest time in the week, while Sunday was the slowest day. Keep these times in mind when deciding
how best to schedule your posts.
My favorite scheduler is Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com). Users can write their posts, attach files or links, and then set the date and time for the information to appear on Facebook,
Twitter, etc. It's free to use, and once you decide how often you want to put out information, you can set your entire week
in a single sitting.
6. Monitor what's happening.
Once your social media initiative is up and rolling, you can't take your hands totally off the wheel. You must be responsive
when clients communicate through your social media channel. Have notifications about client comments sent to your clinic via
a regularly checked email address. Figure out who will address these comments.
When clients reach out in this way, don't panic. You don't have to respond immediately like you would if they showed up in
person. Twenty-four hours (48 on a weekend) is a good response time and won't leave clients feeling ignored.
Like global warming and Justin Bieber, social media is an unstoppable force. It's undeniably changing and improving the way
we communicate with pet owners. Even if you have the most cutting-edge medical practice, you run the risk of seeming outdated
without a presence in social media. So carve out an hour a week to log in and have fun with it. Then get back to the work
of being a vet.
Dr. Andy Roark practices in ljamsville, Md. He is the founder/managing director of a veterinary consulting firm Tall Oaks Enterprises, LLC.
Follow him on Facebook or @DrAndyRoark
For a complete list of articles by Dr. Roark, visit