“Oh, social media.” We hear you, and we definitely understand why and how you would feel that way. The world of social media is always changing, and it can be frustrating to try and navigate it; so much so that you might just avoid it altogether. However, with 90% of the United States population consuming content through some sort of social media, it’s obvious that social media will play an important part in your life as a veterinary professional. So, how do you use these apps and websites to grow in your career as a veterinarian? Well, you can approach it in two ways: Using social media for business or for brand.
Using Social Media for Business
This is the traditional way to use social media. You create a page on Facebook, or an account on Instagram and you use it as a way to share information with your clients. This is what you will see the most on social media, regardless of the industry. Here is why:
Business accounts are a free (or low-cost) way to market your practice
From local publishers, to billboards, to radio and TV spots. All of the marketing and advertising options traditionally available to you are often times pretty expensive, and at times, it can be pretty hard to justify the ROI on these things. Social media is free to start up, and depending on the platform, doesn’t require you to spend any money to get your content in front of people. If you do decide to spend some money, a little bit of spend can still go a long way thanks to tools like location and demographic targeting.
Business accounts are great for client communication
When it comes to communicating with your clients while they are home, it can be difficult to either get important information out quickly or manage it through phone calls alone. You’re also probably limited by the number of CSRs available to provide support during any given shift. Social media allows you to make mass announcements all at once without having to repeat the same message to your clients over and over again. The same goes for at-home care. Creating photo and video content that can be posted on social media allows your clients to see and understand how to care for their pets prior to or after visiting your practice for something.
Business accounts can serve as the eyes and ears for the practice
As a business, your practice should always be trying their best to provide the best care to your patients. This includes the patients who like to complain here and there on social media. Having an account for your practice gives clients the space to leave feedback and reviews and gives your team the opportunity to see what the practice is doing well and what they can improve upon. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that not all reviews should be taken to heart. Monitor the reviews and take note of the ones that look to be giving feedback that your team can tangibly take steps towards changing. Be sure to block and report abusive comments and reviews.
Social media can be a tool for empowering your team
If you are a practice owner, or a leader within your practice, it’s important to look for ways that you can empower members of your team. Social media can do just that! If you notice that team morale seems down, or that veterinarians, techs, and CSRs aren’t working together well, creating content together can be a great way to encourage your team to collaborate and work towards developing chemistry and culture. Dix Hills Animal hospital in New York discussed how social media impacted their team, and their practice, in a recent episode of the Let’s Vet Together Podcast. To hear what they had to say about their collaborative efforts, click here.
A word of advice. Choose one platform to focus your efforts into, make content that is best suited for that platform, and find ways to duplicate that content across all other platforms. Unless you have a team dedicated to social media at your practice, trying to create different content for all platforms on your own can be a recipe for burnout!
Using Social Media for Brand
Personal brand. How you present yourself to your intended audience. This is your Who, What, and Why. Yes, it might just be time for you to brush off the dust on that veterinary account you made in vet school that you thought you’d never use again. Using social media to develop a personal brand is a great way to market not just your practice, but it can also serve as a tool for you to further develop your career as a veterinary professional. Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or TikTok (pending their ban) here’s why you might consider using social media for your personal brand:
A personal account can still drive business to your practice
Local business thrive primarily because of the people working there. How often do you find yourself going back to a business in your community because the service was great? The same goes for veterinary practices. If you’re comfortable in front of a camera, and can showcase your knowledge in a personable yet credible way, it might just convince someone local who sees your content to come and give your practice a visit. Doctors like Dr. Hunter Finn make awesome client-facing content that gets tons of engagement, and also have their practice name and location in their bios to encourage viewers to make appointments.
A personal brand appeals to more people
It’s ok to admit it. We all hate ads and being sold to on social media. Often times, people will see a business on their social media feed and scroll right past the content because they don’t feel like hearing a sales pitch or a “value proposition.” Creating content from a personal account is a great way to avoid that. Sure, you’re still in a sense selling to the viewer, but rather than selling your practice to them, you’re sharing information that is important to them in a fun and engaging way, and in turn bringing the attention back to your practice.
A personal brand can be useful for career paths beyond medicine
Not all doctors stay doctors. This isn’t a bad thing either. Some doctors are great entrepreneurial minds and other might be incredible coaches. Utilizing a personal brand to establish your credibility and authority in any of those spaces is a great way to use social media. Rather than sharing primarily at-home care tips for your clients, here are a few other ideas you can use as you build your brand on social media:
- How to build great veterinary teams
- How to be a great veterinary leader
- How to take care of your well-being as a veterinarian
So, whether it’s a career in coaching, mentorship, consulting, or even being a full-time content creator, using social media for your personal brand can serve as a valuable tool for career advancement.
It’s important to note that these two approaches to social media are not mutually exclusive. Your hospital social media account can still create a brand that feels more personable than the typical infographic-full business page. Your personal brand account can still support the practice you are working at or the business you are building. Regardless of which route you take, understanding the role that social media can and will play in your practice or career will continue to be important as a veterinary professional today.