Now that you’ve created a Facebook page for your veterinary practice with an eye-catching cover photo and a comprehensive “about” section, as we discussed in “Setting Up a Veterinary Facebook Page That Works: Part 1”, let’s talk about how you can amp up your presence on Facebook.
Unfortunately, just because you build it, doesn’t mean your customers will find it.
Here’s how you can start getting your veterinary practice noticed on Facebook, along with some tips to help you draw pet owners into conversations about pet health and the services you provide:
Create a community
Build a place for pet owners to come and connect with other like-minded people by posting relevant content and engaging with your fans. Not only will you be building loyalty with your past and current clients, but when Facebook fans share your content on their own pages, you’ll also reach thousands of potential new clients (and get a strong endorsement from one of their friends!).
Post fresh content on your page at least three times a week. Including a picture or video in your post heightens the interest level for fans. Also, consider releasing your posts at the time you receive the most engagement (you can determine this time through your Facebook Insights).
Make sure you’ve enabled your Facebook page’s email notifications (it’s in the settings). That way you’ll receive alerts when people post comments to your updates or if they send direct/private messages via your Facebook page. You need to respond, and fast! The online community moves at the speed of light and if you let a comment sit for too long, fans will think there’s no one manning the page. Why would they want to visit a ghost town of a page?
Also, a negative comment left to sit on a page unanswered might gather steam and you could get slammed with a slew of others chiming in to support the person or sharing their own negative comments about your business. Try to respond the same day the comment is posted, even if it’s just to take the conversation offline or say you’re following up on it and will respond within 24 hours.
Engaging with your clients/fan base is the heart of social media marketing. Don’t skip it!
Expand your reach
Once your page is created and you’ve published some content, it’s time to build awareness. Pet owners need to know your veterinary practice is on Facebook so they’ll follow you there. The way they find your page is through promotional efforts like these:
- Add the custom Facebook URL and the Facebook icon to marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, magnets, newsletters, etc.
- Place the Facebook icon/social button on your website and link it to your Facebook page.
- Write a blurb or article about your new Facebook page for your pet owner newsletter and ask them to connect with you there.
- Run a Facebook advertising campaign to get in front of local pet owners. These days, it’s a critical component to building momentum for your page. When Facebook introduced advertising, it changed its algorithm so that businesses lost most of their organic reach.
- Plan and launch a Facebook contest using an app like Woobox.com. Fans love taking part and sharing contests with their online circle.
- Review your analytics via Facebook’s Page Insights. Here you can find out when your fan base is most active on the platform and what content is performing best. By regularly checking these stats, you can determine what is working best (i.e. receiving the most shares, likes, comments) and do more of it.
Relax and let us do it
If starting and managing a Facebook page sounds overwhelming or you just can’t imagine who on your staff would have the time, or the expertise, we can help.
Fetching Communications specializes in managing social media accounts for veterinary and pet businesses and offers packages personalized to your practice’s needs. We set up pages, write posts, review your analytics, monitor comments, and develop and oversee Facebook advertising campaigns. Interested to see how your veterinary practice is performing on Facebook? Click here for a free Facebook page analysis.
Let’s discuss what would work best for your business. Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or email@example.com.
Where do pet owners go every single day? Facebook. That’s right, the giant of social media is the new watercooler where people go to hear the latest news, not only from their friends and family, but also from the businesses they care about.
There are more than one billion Facebook users and nearly 60 percent of them log into their account once a day. Even better: you can reach an estimated 98 million American pet owners on Facebook.
Fifty million small businesses already have a business page on Facebook. It’s easy to get started, but you can’t just create a Facebook business page and expect to acquire thousands of fans and generate a high level of interest and engagement without any hard work. You have to put in the daily elbow grease it takes to build a relevant audience of followers who will keep coming back to your page for useful information (or have us do it for you!).
If you want to build a robust and relevant Facebook following for your veterinary practice – a task that has the potential to drive traffic to your website and increase your brand’s awareness – you have to stay on top of the latest social trends, post timely and engaging content and interact with your audience daily. In short, your Facebook page should feel like a community for your followers – a place where pet owners want to go while spending their 40 minutes, on average, of time on Facebook each day.
Although that means you’ll need to dedicate staff time to manage Facebook as well as advertising dollars to build your fan base, Facebook is still a comparatively low-cost way to reach pet owners where they are already spending their time and looking to engage with businesses.
Ready to get started? Here are some considerations and steps to get your Veterinary Practice’s Facebook page up and running:
- Make the commitment
Like all marketing efforts, being successful on Facebook involves a commitment of time and money. At a minimum, you have to develop and post regular updates and respond to fan comments on your page daily. Ideally, you’ll post multiple times a day, create fun contests to help build your fan base and loyalty, provide coupons or calls to action, and review your Facebook Insights to see what’s working so you can do more of it.
- Set up a page
There are several decisions and steps you need to make as you build your Facebook page:
Claim your name: Type in your business name and see if a page or group has already been created. If so, try to track down who in your organization built the page and get ownership transferred to the correct person. Or, if no one in your organization created the page, see if you can claim it through the Facebook process. Alternatively, you can build a page from scratch.
Choose a category: Choose what “page type” is appropriate for your business. For veterinarians, this will be a “local business or place.” Although, if you have multiple hospitals, you may want to choose “company, organization or institution.” The “category” you then select is “pet services.”
Make it visually appealing: At the top of your Facebook page is a big area for what is called the “cover photo.” You can use stock photos you’ve purchased or others you own (and have permission from any pet or person pictured to use), just make sure they are the right size.
Tell your story: Complete the “about” section of your page as thoroughly as possible.
Reviews: You’ll need to decide if you are going to enable the “reviews” portion of your page. You can either turn it on, and Facebook users will be able to add reviews of your business, or you can turn it off. However, you cannot turn it on and then delete bad reviews. It’s all or nothing.
Custom URL: You can also get a complimentary custom URL for your Facebook page (so it’s not facebook.com/gobbled-gook…). You can add your name after the slash instead, which makes it easier to put on marketing materials later.
- There’s still more to do
But, we don’t want to overwhelm you. In our next post, we’ll share tips for maximizing your Facebook page’s impact through posting content as well as ways to effectively promote and grow your page’s fan base. (Be sure to sign up for our blog updates so you don’t miss: “Setting up a Veterinary Facebook Page That Works: Part 2.”)
- Bypass the hassle
If starting and managing a Facebook page sounds overwhelming or you just can’t imagine who on your staff would have the time, let alone the interest, we can help. Click here to receive a free Facebook page management quote from our team of social media experts.
Fetching Communications specializes in managing social media accounts for veterinary and pet businesses and organizations and offers packages personalized to your particular needs. We create pages, write posts, review your analytics, monitor comments, and develop and oversee Facebook advertising campaigns.
Let’s discuss what would work best for your business. Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember when you set up your veterinary practice’s Facebook page? Maybe, like many practices, someone occasionally posts an update about the hospital or adds a photo. But you are now wondering, where are all the comments, likes and shares you thought would happen, not to mention the new business and referrals you expected to come naturally?
Here are four reasons your Facebook page may not be part of the social media conversation, and what you can do to breathe new life into it.
Problem #1: No one is manning the ship…so it’s sinking.
Rule number one is that you have to post fresh messages to your Facebook page on a consistent basis and respond to comments and direct messages that people leave on your Facebook page. This is what social media experts term “engagement” (think: interaction). You have to show your commitment to being a part of the Facebook world before followers will engage with your page.
Solution: Assign a staff member the responsibility of posting content and responding to comments at least three times a week. You can use a free content scheduling app like Hootsuite or Bufferapp to create your posts ahead of time and then schedule them to “go live” on certain days and times. As for responding to comments or direct messages that appear on your page? In your page’s settings, you can adjust the notifications to receive an emailed alert every time someone comments or sends you a direct message. You should respond to comments within 24 hours to 48 hours max. (For tips about how to respond to negative social media comments or online reviews, stay tuned for our upcoming blog post.)
Problem #2: You don’t know how to grow your audience.
Yep, it’s a classic mistake. Around here we call it the if-you-build-it-they-will-come syndrome. Even if you’ve posted regular updates and filled your Facebook page with compelling content (download our Veterinary Newsletter Content Cheat Sheet — it works for social media, too!), you still have to spread the word that you’re on the platform and want to connect with people there.
Solution: Make sure you add the Facebook icon to your website and link it to your Facebook page. Another super-important step is running a Facebook advertising campaign – your Facebook page won’t reach many people without it. Plus, you can target people who follow local Facebook pet pages and get in front of potential new clients.
Problem #3: Your cover photo needs a makeover.
Similar to entering your hospital’s lobby, the big, horizontal image at the top of your Facebook page is the first impression clients receive of your practice. Does it look like your teenage nephew threw it up there –all stretched out, blurry with parts cut off? Or maybe you’re using one of the standard backgrounds Facebook offers. Boring. You want something that shows professionalism with heart. And every so often, the image should be updated to keep your page looking interesting and active.
Solution: You can find stock images for purchase on sites like istockphoto.com and stock.adobe.com, or other sites that offer free image libraries. Then, upload those photos to your Facebook page by hovering over the cover photo and clicking on the white camera icon that appears on the upper left side. Once you upload your new photo use your mouse to move the photo up or down and, when you’re happy with it, click save.
Problem #4: Facebook changes all the time.
Facebook regularly updates its algorithm – the mechanism used to determine which posts will show up in people’s news feeds (the first thing someone sees when they log into Facebook) – which affects how many people actually see your page updates. For example, it used to be that posts with photos received a higher number of views because Facebook, through its algorithm, placed those posts in a higher volume of news feeds or homepages. Now, Facebook is placing a greater emphasis on video posts. That means posts that contain video are more likely to be seen by a greater number of your followers. The platform also routinely updates its advertising requirements and ways to target users through its advertising program.
Solution: Make sure the staff member managing your social media strategy is following the latest social media marketing trade publications and newsletters. You can be among the first to know about Facebook updates by attending the Social Media Marketing World convention in 2017. Or, ask us. We live and breathe social media, and we offer a variety of different social media management and engagement packages for veterinary practices like yours.
Want a FREE Facebook Page Analysis?
Let us take a look at your page today to identify areas that need attention and call out the great things we see too. Click here, or contact Liz Lindley at email@example.com to get a complimentary review.
What is “earned media” and how does it differ from paid or owned media?
Earned media is a term that may be new to many veterinary practices and pet product companies, and sometimes it’s heard right along with Paid Media and Owned Media. All three types of media can be tactics of a powerful communications campaign, but not all need to be used at the same time.
Here are the definitions:
Earned Media: quotes and features in media outlets including those in print, tv, radio, blogs, online, resulting from an interview or product review or rating that developed as the result of a proactive pitch and/or press release. Also called editorial coverage.
Owned Media: Company website and blog, company Facebook page and other social media pages, branded journals or e-newsletters, brochures, in store retail displays.
Paid Media: Traditional and digital advertising. Paid search, social media advertisements or boosts, banner ads, sponsorships, direct mail, display, retail/channel, and ads on tv, print, or radio.
Would you like to talk about how these campaigns can be used to grow your business? Contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877 703 3824 x 105.
Have you written a press release yet about your pet tradeshow presence?
It’s a hectic time for pet and veterinary businesses around the globe right now, preparing unique exhibit booths for upcoming tradeshows. There are show events to plan, designs to approve, collateral to print, flights to reserve…you name it, and it’s on a long to-do list!
Where is PR on your to-do list? Have you written a press release to announce where you’ll be in the exhibit hall, and what you’ll show at your booth? No? We get it — and we can help! Click below for a free tip sheet you can use today to write that release!
One of Fetching Communications’ public relations specialties is helping pet and veterinary businesses prepare for tradeshows. From a philosophical standpoint, we really love helping businesses that help pets and their people, so we want to help your business succeed and be recognized by the pet and veterinary media. So, set aside an hour or two, and let’s do this!
Follow the eight tips for writing your tradeshow press release, and then submit it for distribution via PetPR.com’s unique news service for the pet industry. Use the promo code HOLIDAY25 to automatically receive 25% off any PetPR.com distribution services you select, with the exception of PR Newswire’s distribution option.
CLICK HERE FOR TIP SHEET.
Contact me personally if you need help! email@example.com.