If you are a business owner, you had better know that in today’s busy society, social media is an essential marketing tool for any businesses. Throughout the globe there are nearly 1.5 billion social media users. I know what you are asking, what good does that do me as the owner of a veterinary practice here in small-town USA? The fact is that the abundance of online users constitutes an unlimited marketing audience. Of course, based on your location, you may have a limited population of people that require your services but using social media and targeting certain demographics will allow you to maximize your marketing efforts in a way that you never thought possible.

Because of the power of social media, many large companies now allocate about 7 percent of their marketing funds to different social networking platforms. If you would like to grow your clientele and boost profits for your veterinary practice with the help of social media, you will first need to consider many critical concepts pulled from different business aspects such as customer service, traditional marketing and sales to create a social marketing plan. Once a social media sales plan has been formed, you should then consider using these useful marketing tips.

Leverage Quality Content

For optimal consumer engagement, effective marketers know that they have to seed their quality content throughout targeted social networks. Here are some general guidelines.

Facebook: Since this platform has been proven to be valuable for the “purchasing stage” of a sale, you’ll need to post high-quality videos and curated content to get followers interested in your veterinary practice and the services that you offer. Do you specialize in small animal, large animal, equine, bovine, exotics? Share stories that captivate your audience and give the reader a sense of who you are and what your practice is about.

LinkedIn: A LinkedIn profile can help you build brand awareness and generate leads. The users on LinkedIn will be most interested in company news and other professional content. It is a good way to display the credentials of you and your staff and show that you keep up with industry news and follow industry leaders.

Twitter: Twitter is best used as a way to announce the release of new products/ services and deliver important messages to your followers. Twitter can result in Increased Profit when used correctly. The best tweets are ones that inform users of service offerings and product specifications, perhaps you have added a new Doctor to your staff or just performed a lifesaving operation. To keep things interesting, you should mix it up and occasionally keep it light tweeting about a social contest or weather updates.

Pinterest: One of the best platforms for driving sales and purchasing decisions by consumers. More than 90 percent of users now plan purchases using Pinterest. People who use Pinterest want to see how your veterinary services can be embedded into their current lifestyle. As such, focus on posting unique infographics and step-by-step photo guides. Maybe you have tips on grooming or general pet care. This familiarity with you and your practice will influence the prospective client to call on you for their veterinary and pet care needs when the time comes.

Instagram: Most businesses use Instagram to increase product sales, drive traffic to their website, establish relationships with influencers, and enhance brand awareness. If you want to experience Increased Profit with Instagram, make sure that you post high resolution photos and videos with captivating quotes and interesting stories. People love their pets and relate their love of their own pet with good quality photos that you may post. This can influence a person to use your services rather than your competitor.

Connect With Users

The most successful marketers in any industry understand that selling via social media cannot be accomplished without building strong relationships. Contrary to traditional advertising, the uniqueness of social media lies in the ability to engage in real-time conversations with online prospects and customers from anywhere in the world. To connect with your targeted audience like never before, comments and questions on these platforms should be responded to as soon as possible. Another way to establish trust among your followers is to tag users who frequently share your content.

Target Consumers’ Lifestyle

Most companies understand the basics of establishing relationships on social media, but few understand that to connect deeper they must target the consumer’s lifestyle. Instead of focusing your research on the “who,” such as names and contact information, seek out the “what” – people’s motivating likes and dislikes. After determining this important information, create posts that integrate your brand into that lifestyle. For example, consider producing content with the underlying message that your followers love their pets, they are part of the family and therefore they should be using a DVM that treats them like a member of the family too. Remember that social selling is “un-selling” – listening to people online discuss their wants and needs.

Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service located in Bend, Oregon. Centratel’s Veterinary Answering Service assists hundreds of Veterinary businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.

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