Have you been using social media to help boost the profitability of your veterinary practice? Many veterinary offices fail to take advantage of social media prospects because they don't understand just how effective they can be at reaching new customers and keeping old customers.
Defining Social Media
Most of us think about Facebook and Twitter when we talk about social media, but these are only two of the many, many social platforms that currently exist. Even review sites like Yelp and LinkedIn qualify as social media. Why? Because social media is really just a new way of communicating information with a broader audience. These tools allow people to connect with others in their community and communicate openly. Social media isn't limited to 140 characters, either. YouTube and Instagram provide a great social platform that is based on visual content, not just text.
Participating in the Conversation
Social media has become increasingly important for veterinary practices in recent years because people simply aren't turning to the Yellow Pages to find local professionals anymore. After all, why would we settle for a name and a phone number when we could go online and find tons of information about your practice, including real reviews from other pet owners? More importantly, social media has become so ubiquitous in our society, that many people find it very unsettling if they can't find your business actively participating in social media. What are you hiding? Why aren't you willing to post pictures of your office or your staff? Why don't you want people leaving reviews on your Facebook page? Not being on social media could actually be driving customers away because they feel like you're hiding something.
Before you run out and open a new account on every social platform, it's important that you have a plan. Choose one or two social platforms that you feel are most relevant to your business. Make sure that you can comfortably manage these pages and that they won't be neglected after only a month (another unsettling sign for would-be customers). Plan what type of content you want to share with your followers and invite people to start following you. Use a scheduling tool to make your posts so you won't have to manually make them each time. Finally, make sure that you check-in often. If somebody leaves you a bad review, make sure you respond and show that you are working to correct the situation. If somebody messages you with a question, make sure you respond in a timely manner.
Neglecting social media could be working against you more than you ever knew. You don't have to be a social media expert to start boosting your profits with these tools. All you have to do is focus on putting a little bit of content out there for users to get comfortable with you.