Social media is one of the best ways to build awareness, drive traffic to your website, and even grow your practice with new clients—all for a very low cost. Yet, social media, for veterinarians, is also seen as a bit overwhelming on top of all your other duties. Luckily, there are ways you can make social media work for you. All it takes is some patience, a good plan, and of course, consistency!
So, what do you need to know to start your social media game plan?
Don’t Be Afraid to Take it Slow
Doing everything — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and why not some YouTube videos, too? — at once is bound to be overwhelming. Instead, take it one platform at a time. Start with the one you’re most familiar with already and begin forming a social media plan for that platform. You can build onto other platforms as you get the hang of the first one!
Plan Your Social Media Posts Well into the Future
If you can, plan for a year’s worth of posts. If you can post every day, fantastic, but a more realistic expectation might be starting with at least once or twice a week. Plan to post for yearly events like National Pet Dental Health Month in February, Heartworm Awareness Month in April, and use holidays to generate content like Halloween pet safety, Thanksgiving food safety, beating the heat in the summer, etc.
One important thing to keep in mind as you work through your posts as time goes on is to not be afraid of going off-script. If a sweet new puppy comes to visit, take a photo (with their parent’s permission!) and put it on your platform of choice and ask a question like “what breed am I?” These are great ways to boost engagement, plus, who doesn’t love pictures of sweet pets on their feed?
Use Pictures, Rather than Plain Text
It’s no surprise that a post with a picture of a cute puppy or kitten is bound to get more attention than a text-only post. As a veterinarian, creating images for your posts should be one of the easier parts of social media — your whole practice is full of adorable pets every day! Be sure to always get the pet parent’s permission to both take and use the photo on social media before you go posting every pet who walks through your door!
Schedule Your Posts for a More Hands-Off Approach
Posting frequently is ideal for a successful social media campaign. Yet, to stop what you’re doing and create a post every day, or even multiple times a day, is unrealistic. Luckily, there are programs to help you create posts, save them, and then schedule them to post on a particular day and time. Hootsuite is one, and they allow you manage up to three social media accounts for free. Add any more, and you’ll have to pay for a subscription, but as you start out, the free version may be all you need. In this way, you’ll be able to take a day to create and schedule all your posts for a month or more, and then sit back, relax, and let the magic happen.
Hootsuite and many other scheduling programs also offer some analytics and other tools to help you measure engagement and track the success of your campaigns. All of these things allow you to adjust your strategies and optimize your social media posts for the highest engagement. Still, don’t be afraid to take risks! Just because a certain strategy is working well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new things. You never know if you might find something better!
Don’t Forget: Engagement Means Dialogue
Getting comments and reactions on your posts is great, but in order to foster a relationship with your audience, you need to engage them, too. If you start with only one platform at a time, managing engagement will be a bit easier. Try to respond in a timely manner to every comment, and that doesn’t always mean leaving a lengthy reply! Simply acknowledging the comment with a “like” or other reaction is often enough, and helps your audience feel heard.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Don’t!
The beautiful thing about social media is it’s not going anywhere, so whether you start today, tomorrow or next week is entirely up to you. Take it all at your own pace, and don’t be discouraged if you start feeling overwhelmed! Simply take a step back and try to push forward again next week. Social media for veterinarians shouldn’t be a huge hassle. You can make it work for you by finding your rhythm and relying on the right tools to help you plan ahead.
Need extra help with your social media plan? Get InTouch at 1-800-493-9003. We’ll be happy to help.