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DIY MARKETING / Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing 101 Make social networking part of your practice in 2013. by Sarah Rumple

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one are the days when all you had to do was trust that word-of-mouth, a Yellow Pages ad and a few brochures or fliers would be enough marketing to bring the clients in your door. Today’s savvy business owners and managers are depending on technology—specifically social media—to keep their brands top-of-mind with their target audiences. If your practice has been trying to avoid jumping on the social media bandwagon, 2013 is the time to set your fears aside and go for it. By now, you’ve no doubt learned the power of social media. It’s something that companies of every size, in every part of the world, are embracing in order to remain competitive. For many of us, however, the thought of social media is quite intimidating. How often should I post on Facebook? On Twitter? Do I need a blog? What if someone posts a negative comment on one of my social media platforms? How will I make the time for me and my staff to actively participate in social media? Does social media replace traditional forms of marketing? The questions go on and on. Here are five social media tips to get you started on the right foot, with input from social media expert Eric Garcia.

1. Update your website. Through social media, you’ll often drive current and potential clients back to your website. Make sure your website

©DVMelite Veterinary Marketing Formula, courtesy of DVMelite

is updated, easy to navigate and looking its best at all times. A bad website could turn off potential clients.

The expert (Eric Garcia) says: “Prominently display all of your social media links on every page of your website so clients and prospects can easily link to the various social media channels you are part of.”

2. Interact with followers. It sounds crazy, but social media is about being social. You or someone from your staff should be engaging with your followers at least a few times per week. Comment on other Facebook pages regularly and respond to the comments your followers leave on your page. Do not delete comments, even if they are negative. Unless comments are inflammatory in some way, simply respond to them and set the record straight for other

“How do I grow my practice?” Your message must inspire potential and current clients and your website must be a 10 out 10, says Michael Warren, DVM, managing director of DVMelite Web Development. DVMelite created the above marketing formula to help show different tiers of marketing and their importance. Every marketing effort (whether online, in the community, or via word of mouth referrals) drives prospective clients to your website where they then decide whether or not to choose you as their veterinarian, Warren says.

Trends magazine, December 2012


Social Media Marketing / DIY MARKETING

followers who might have seen the initial comment. Post things that initiate a conversation between your followers—link to interesting articles or photos and ask how your followers feel about them.

The expert says: “Engaging with your followers will constantly put your practice name in front of people. Clients and prospects don’t follow you on social media to hurt you, but rather to support your practice. The likelihood of negative comments is very small. One way to engage followers is to post a photo of clients and their pets and ask your followers to caption the photo. Facebook, for any practice, should contain a fair mix of education, fun and personalized socialization.”

3. Post daily. Ideally, your business should be posting on at least one of the social media platforms every weekday. Content can, and should, vary. Some posts could include new items related to pet health care in your area, interesting images from your practice (unique X-rays are always a big hit), fun pet-related videos, blog posts, etc. Sharing popular posts from other industry pages is a quick and easy way to come up with a post for the day.

a reflection of who you are, letting your clients feel like they are getting to know you, your staff and your practice. Write posts in the first-person point of view, using many photos, videos and other forms of multimedia. Also, link to relevant sources and related articles as often as possible. Blog posts can feed your other social media efforts—after a blog is posted, link to it in a Facebook post and a tweet. Ideally, you should post to a blog weekly.

The expert says: “Blogs are a great way to enhance your online presence through organic search engine optimization. When posting blogs, make sure to tag and categorize each blog post under a related category. And don’t stop after posting your blog posts on the various social media channels; be sure to tell your clients about the blog in person as well.”

5. Supplement your marketing. Social media should complement your traditional forms of marketing, not completely replace them. Make sure all of your marketing efforts reflect a consistent brand—colors, fonts and imagery should be similar throughout.

The expert says:

“Post daily by sharing the same content across all of your social media channels and remain consistent. If you post a blog on Facebook regarding dental awareness, make sure to post the same blog on Twitter and share a related video on YouTube to keep the message consistent.”

“Don’t try to become part of every social media channel at one time. Take the time to focus on one social media channel and do it really well, then start exploring additional channels to be part of.” There’s never been a better, or more important, time to make social media a part of your overall marketing strategy. Don’t let it scare you. Start slowly and work your way up to meet your posting goals. Before you know it, it’ll be second nature.

4. Consider a blog.

Sarah Rumple is a writer/editor for AAHA and is a Denver-based freelance

The expert says:

Although a bit more time-consuming, a blog is a great way to connect with your clientele. It gives you the chance to show them who you are on a more personal level. Your blog can go in any direction you want it to, as long as it is

Trends magazine, December 2012

writer and editor. She enjoys writing about parenting and pet issues, as well as fitness and nutrition for busy moms. Eric Garcia—“the expert”—is the owner of Simply Done Tech Solutions and an international speaker and contributor to veterinary conferences, publications and events on the topic of web marketing.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2012 AAHA Update newsletter.

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AAHA's Trends magazine  

Social Media Marketing 101 -- article in Trends magazine, December 2012

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