Which social media platforms should my practice use?
Editor’s note: This is a new advice column in NEWStat to answer your veterinary social media marketing questions. Have a question for Cheyanne? Email us at [email protected] or check out her bio for her contact info.
Hey! I'm Cheyanne Flerx, and I’m a veterinary social media marketing coach. My journey began with working for five years as a veterinary assistant and marketing manager for my local small animal general practice. I taught myself how to manage social media for our hospital and eventually built and grew my own social media marketing agency serving a variety of businesses in vet med.
I'm honored to be able to share my knowledge about social media marketing with you in this advice column!
Choosing a social media platform
One of the most common questions I get asked by my clients and students is, "What social media platforms should my clinic utilize or be on?"
My answer may surprise you, but it depends on your typical clients, their demographics, and what you ultimately want to achieve with your social media accounts. Most commonly, hospitals have Facebook and Instagram. Depending on the hospital and the audience, I have seen more and more hospitals getting into Tik Tok.
Determining which platforms are a good fit for your practice starts by establishing the type of client you want to attract (aka, your dream clients), your local demographics, your current bandwidth, and your available resources.
Find your dream clients
To discover where your dream clients like to hang out, survey your existing clients to find out which social platforms they prefer, where they would like to connect with your practice, and where they do not want to spend their time.
Identify your social media goals
Ask yourself, "How does my practice want to connect with clients? Do we only want a place where people can find and contact us, or do we want to create a community online where we can build relationships?
If your goal is only to have a place for clients to reach you, then you might decide a simple Facebook page with a couple of posts a week to keep it active is all you need. If your goal is community connection, then you will want to consider having a robust posting strategy where you host interactive livestreams and conversations on Facebook and Instagram.
Know your own bandwidth
Knowing your bandwidth is going to depend a lot on your clinic’s schedule, your overall goals, and how heavy your workload is with your other responsibilities. Dedicating approximately five to 10 hours a week is decent for maintaining your social media accounts from week to week for an established clinic and social media presence.
If your clinic is new and you are starting from scratch, then you may need to dedicate more like 10–15 hours a week as you reach out to more people and create connections and relationships.
Pro tip: Know when to expand
When ramping up your social media activity, I suggest starting with one social media platform and focusing all your energy and attention on that one until you master your presence there.
You'll know when it's time to add another social media platform to your plate when:
- You feel you have a good handle on publishing posts consistently
- You can easily interact with your followers in a meaningful way
- You are generating the results you want on the first platform
Overall, I find veterinary practices do best on Facebook and Instagram as their main social media platforms.
Not sure if a certain social media platform is a good fit for you? Do you have a question you want me to answer next in my advice column in the future? Email me and I'd be glad to help!
Cheyanne Flerx is a former veterinary assistant turned veterinary social media marketing coach. She teaches veterinary professionals how to become confident social media marketing managers and how to use social media more effectively and efficiently for their hospitals. To learn more about her, more about social media, or social media management, visit her website at HeyCheyanne.com or email her at [email protected].