Today’s VETgirl guest blog is by Beyond Indigo on social media mistakes that veterinarians often make!

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Social media—not a topic that veterinarians tend to want to think about. If you still think of social media as mostly cat memes and funny videos, you’re making the #1 most serious mistake that veterinarians make with social media: you don’t take it seriously as a powerful business tool.

Top Mistake: Not treating social media as a serious business tool

Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report shows that outdated understanding can cause you to miss the true impact of social media for your business. The top five mistakes that veterinarians make with social media tend to stem from that one main mistake, and can really hurt your business.

Mistake #1: Missing the chance to make a good first impression
Social media serves as a powerful storefront to potential clients who want to get a sense of your business. Does your practice look clean and modern? Do the vets and staff seem friendly and compassionate? Social media visitors pick up cues from your cover image, posts, tweets, photos, videos, and how you describe your business. Make your first impression a great one!

Mistake #2: Not bothering with a social media plan or strategy
What are your business goals? Do you want to highlight the importance of dental visits or promote training classes this month in your practice? Plan your social media with coordinated posts around that topic and give them a boost to be sure they are seen. Add a blog on the topic, a how-to video, photos, a contest featuring that service, and/or an ad to meet your goals.

Mistake #3: Not investing time or money to follow through on your plan
Once you’ve made a plan, it’s important that someone, like a practice manager, has accountability for seeing that your social media plan is put into practice each month. A receptionist or intern, even if they like social media, is not the right person to be responsible for the success of your social presence.

Mistake #4: Not knowing enough about social media to be successful
It’s not your staff’s fault—they signed on to be a practice manager or a vet tech, and now they are in charge of your social media. Give them the professional help and/or training they need to represent your business well in the social world.

Mistake #5: Not knowing how to use powerful tools built into social media
Facebook is one of the most powerful, most targeted, least expensive advertising platforms in the world. Tools in the Ads Manager let you precisely target new clients within a radius of your building.

Videos have become powerful on most social platforms. Facebook, for example, gives priority to videos in showing your content to others. Short how-to videos in a friendly style, or a 30-second video of a happy dog wearing sunglasses during laser therapy, speak volumes and are easy to make and upload.

Even though many vet practices and hospitals now have a social media presence, most aren’t doing it very well. Take social media seriously. Step beyond simple organic postings of cute patient photos and start putting the power of social media to work for your veterinary practice!

Are you going to be at NAVC? Come visit the Beyond Indigo Pets booth, #2415 at the Gaylord, to learn more about how digital marketing can help your veterinary practice.