Fluffy kittens and clumsy puppies get a lot of love on social media news feeds, but veterinary social media marketing is not just about being cute – it’s a powerful tool that can help you grow your practice in a cost-effective way.
There can be little doubt that pet owners today expect a modern vet clinic to have a professional online presence, including social media channels. Not only are your clients highly likely to be online, but your potential customers too!
Globally, over 3.6 billion people use social media and the number is only projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025. The top social media networks ranked by the number of active users are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
So, this means you can’t afford to ignore social media as a veterinary professional, but where to begin when creating a social media strategy? How do you find post ideas? How do you find the time or resources for fun veterinary social media posts?
Social media marketing strategy
To be most effective, your social media activities should form part of your overall marketing strategy. This means you should not post randomly on social media platforms, but act in line with your business goals. Your social media channels should work hand-in-hand with newsletters, a professional website with engaging blog posts, and any offline efforts to fulfill marketing objectives.
Social media marketing goals could include:
- Raising awareness of your business among potential new clients
- Sharing information about new services or products
- Showing clients how your business is different, for example by being accessible to pet owners through two-way texting tools
- Keeping pet owners and clients up to date with news about your practice
One of the first things to ask when creating a social media plan is who is your audience, and where can they be found online? Create fictional personas representing typical or ideal clients, so you can really visualize whom you are targeting with every post.
Where are the best networking sites for the pet industry?
The best way to find out where your clients and potential customers spend their time online is to ask them – maybe include a question to this effect on your client information form. Younger clients may be on Instagram or TikTok, but bear in mind that Facebook remains the most popular social media channel with over 2.7 billion monthly active users.
So, Facebook posts are one way you can reach your audience online. Nevertheless, Facebook has been pushing users to “pay to play” meaning you need to invest in advertising to ensure your posts are seen by more people. One way to circumvent this is to create a Facebook group for followers as group posts are more likely to be seen than page posts.
Our advice is to start small by focusing on one social media channel and to do it well. The key is to post consistently and regularly.
So, what do you post on social media?
Social media channels and Facebook, in particular, should be more about engaging with your clients or potential customers than about promotion. Engaging content is relevant information that will educate or entertain your audience.
Here are some examples:
- Cute photos and videos of animals – posted with the permission of the pet owners.
- User-friendly posts with tips for pet care by veterinary professionals.
- Educational infographics to illustrate the posts above.
- News stories about your practice or pets.
- Stories about staff members – it’s a good idea to get your existing clients to know your team to build trust and to build a loyal community.
- Your own blog posts – if you regularly post blogs, you can promote the posts on your social media channels.
- Social media contests – competitions are a fun way to gain followers. Ensure the competition is simple to enter with a clear deadline.
- Recalls – messages about a product recall are a powerful way to show that you care.
- Special offers – provided they are interesting and relevant and you don’t do it too often.
Who should manage your social media marketing?
Handing your social media marketing over to the intern usually is not in the best interest of your practice. They may know how to use the channels, but they won’t necessarily understand your business goals and may lack the knowledge or maturity to engage with your audience. Consider appointing an agency or freelance social media professional if you don’t have the resources in-house.
How to handle online criticism
Managing online criticism or attacks is an example of a situation where a junior staff member is unlikely to know how to handle this in a way that won’t harm the reputation of your practice. The best is to respond politely and move the conversation offline. If you have a loyal Facebook community, they are likely to come to your defense if your practice should come under fire.
Digital tools in your veterinary practice
As a modern veterinary practice, you are probably already using vet tech tools to facilitate the easy management of the practice. For example, these could be to seamlessly automate appointment and prescription refill requests, easily text your veterinary clients, accept contactless text payments, share animal health records or offer monthly payment plans.
Using social media marketing is a cost-effective business growth tool. But if you’re looking to push your veterinary hospital or practice even further, take a look at VitusVet − it provides everything you need to streamline workflows, grow revenue, increase pet owner satisfaction, improve client communication and increase client loyalty. Find out more and request your demo today!