Your Secret Weapon for Recruiting

In today’s era, social media has perforated almost every area of our lives, and in recent years, the business world has certainly noticed. Digital marketing specialist Nicole Scott-Jones explains how by leveraging the power of social media, you can showcase your clinic’s culture and team dynamics while also highlighting the unique aspects of each job position.

By Nicole Scott-Jones

Use Social Media to Hire the People You Need

The shortage of qualified veterinary staff was a challenge before COVID-19, but the ongoing pandemic situation has only put further strain on the veterinary workforce. According to Merck’s third annual Veterinary Wellbeing Study, a staggering 90% of respondents are worried about the shortage of qualified staff. But now the problem isn’t just limited to veterinary medicine, as attracting—and retaining—skilled employees is increasingly difficult for businesses across industries. The question is: How can you differentiate your practice and attract staff in a rapidly evolving workforce?

In today’s era, social media has permeated almost every area of our lives, and in recent years, the business world has certainly noticed. The data says it all: 56% of recruiters say they find the best candidates through social media, and 79% of job seekers use social media when searching for jobs. By leveraging the power of social media, you can showcase your clinic’s culture and team dynamics while also highlighting the unique aspects of each job position. In this article, we explore social media (specifically, Instagram) as a recruitment tool and show how it can help you reach a larger applicant pool of better qualified candidates, at a much lower cost.

Getting Started

Identify Team Members

Given social media’s widespread use, it’s likely that at least one of your team members has an interest in content creation. Identify those individuals, allocate time for content creation and page management, and compensate them for their time and skill. Protect their time by giving them a designated title and preventing interruptions during their work (no getting pulled into exam rooms or helping with tech appoints “really quick!”).

One Rule to Rule Them All: Know Your Audience

A rule of thumb in any area of marketing is to know your audience. What social media platforms different candidates are using in their job search will depend heavily on their age range. Understanding your social media audience can help you get job postings in front of the best potential candidates. If you are in the market for a seasoned leader, LinkedIn may produce better leads, as those with higher education tend to report regularly using LinkedIn. Instagram may be a better channel to reach a younger cohort, especially with video content.

Overall, having a presence across multiple platforms is integral to success. The content on these sites reaches everyone and provides a valuable opportunity to showcase what makes your clinic unique—to both clients and potential job seekers.

Stay in Your Lane

There is a lot of content out there today, but picking two or three content types and doing them well is the key. Some basic choices could be:

  • Spotlight: Highlight staff members, new pets, and new team members to create a sense of community and personality.
  • Motivate: These are shared positive stories from patient cases or personal anecdotes, whatever staff and clients are comfortable sharing.
  • Inform: This is not as boring as it sounds, but posting important veterinary or public health-related updates establishes your clinic as an authoritative and reliable source of information. In an age where misinformation reigns, this can strengthen your clinic’s brand with clients and job seekers alike. Most importantly, you want to inform followers of job postings/availability.
Tip: Take advantage of marketing and awareness dates to celebrate staff and clients or educate your community on topics like Heartworm Awareness or Pet Dentistry Month. Did you provide opportunities for your staff to earn higher education? Show off their accomplishments and demonstrate that you invest in and value your staff members as instrumental parts of your team.

Identify a team member who has an interest in content creation

Implement the Plan

Recurring Content

One important type of content to mention is recurring content. The significance of practice culture is becoming increasingly apparent. You can show off your clinic’s core values using recurring content by continually reintroducing who you are and what you stand for. These posts should be on the calendar every four to six weeks.

Scheduling social media posts

When planning your content, schedule posts at a frequency that does not overwhelm your social media manager.


When planning your content, schedule posts at a frequency that does not overwhelm your social media manager. To stand out among the abundance of content, prioritize quality over quantity in the content you post. Select your content types and start with one to two posts per week. This creates a consistent posting schedule without flooding your followers’ feeds with irrelevant and invaluable content. An example content calendar can be found online, such as in this blog:


Hashtags are words or numbers preceded by the pound symbol (#) to categorize content and make things searchable and more discoverable. When used correctly, hashtags can increase the visibility of your content to potential followers, but using the wrong ones can have an equal but opposite effect. There really is no exact science for hashtags since social media algorithms are always changing, but staying up to date with a stash of active hashtags will help keep your posts sorted to the top of the algorithm and in front of the people who will engage with it the most.

Here are some tips on how to choose hashtags and avoid “stale” hashtags, increasing visibility for your posts:

  1. Create a list of 10 keywords relevant to your clinic—this is your hashtag bank. Examples: veterinary medicine, DVM, reptile vet, veterinary dentistry.
    Tip: When thinking about keywords, think about what potential job seekers or clients are searching for.
  2. From the “search” tab on Instagram, type in your keyword and look up by “tags.”
  3. Use hashtags that have 20k–500k posts—less means people aren’t looking up that tag and more means there are too many posts and yours will get lost.
  4. The most recent posts with that hashtag should be from the last few minutes or last few hours.
  5. Use between 11 and 30 hashtags with each post.
    Tip: Look at what hashtags your followers are following and what your competitors are using.
Measuring Success

So you’ve designated a team member to oversee your social media content, built out a basic content calendar, started collecting relevant hashtags, and started posting regularly—how do you know if any of it is working? There are a lot of different metrics for success in social media. They differ based on your objectives, but two basic recommendations for recruiting are reach and engagement.


This tells you how many users are seeing your content. The goal for a hiring manager is to get as many candidates as possible to see your job postings. Paying for postings on job boards can cost thousands of dollars. Through both organic and paid content, social media allows your job postings to reach a much larger applicant pool at a much lower cost.

Understanding your reach is one part of understanding your audience, and it is important to ensure your content is getting in front of the right people. For example, if you are a clinic based in Austin, Texas, but you are reaching a lot of users in Positano, Italy, that’s important to know. Unless you have a hefty relocation package (if you do, respect!), you will want to consider using local hashtags to target more geographically relevant applicants. You can access these metrics in your Professional Dashboard in Facebook and Instagram (Assuming you are using a business account for those platforms).

Don't underestimate the power of following and interacting with accounts relevant to your brand

When clients and potential job seekers feel connected to a brand, it fosters loyalty and word-of-mouth reach, so don’t underestimate the power of following and interacting with accounts that are relevant to your content.


Again, we’re living in an age with endless content. Getting your content in front of hundreds of people is not enough. In addition to understanding your reach, you need to also understand how, what, and where your followers are engaging with your content. Any interaction on your posts—liking, sharing, saving, commenting—counts as engagement.

Tip: If you are reaching many people but getting low engagement, this says your content is not resonating with your audience. Consider adjusting your message or imagery.

The Insights in the Instagram Professional Dashboard is not a comprehensive analytics dashboard, but it can serve as a basic tool to understand performance.

  1. Adjust your view to the last 30 days.
  2. Looking at Accounts Reached, you can see your total reach. Write that number down.
  3. In this view, you can get a brief overview of valuable data like what cities, countries, age demographic, and genders you are reaching.
  4. Looking at Accounts Engaged, you can see the total content interactions. Take your first number, Accounts Reached, and divide it by this number: Total Accounts Reached / Total Content Interactions = Engagement rate.
  5. The resulting number can help you evaluate your current performance, which will allow you to set achievable goals.

Learn to understand your social media's performance and pull out insights

Creating Community

When clients and potential job seekers feel connected to a brand, it fosters loyalty and word-of-mouth reach, so don’t underestimate the power of following and interacting with accounts that are relevant to your content. When first starting, make a goal to follow a certain number of similar accounts each week. Make sure your social media manager takes the time to read and engage with content from similar accounts each day. They should respond to comments on your posts and reply to any DMs as quickly as possible. Having a quick response time is favorable for the way the algorithm sorts your posts. Remember your hashtag bank? Follow accounts that are posting content with the same hashtags you are using. All these adjustments work in favor with the algorithm, so your job postings and content get in front of the best potential applicants.

Branding 101

If you are a practice manager, owner, or any kind of team leader and are ready to set out on your social media journey, connect with the team that built your website or did any branding. Request all the colors and fonts and compile all versions of your clinic logo into a central location.

You should also be clear and concise in your social media bios, being sure to keep the brand voice consistent throughout. Your bio should state clearly what your clinic does and what sets it apart. Developing a cohesive look and feel across all social media channels helps you create a memorable brand. And in an age with so much content, being remembered is what counts.

Tip: Your brand voice is the obvious and distinct personality of your business across all communications. Your brand voice enables you to connect with a specific audience and engage qualified candidates.


Content Creation

There is a vast array of tools to keep up with the content planning, creation, and analysis of performance. For example, graphic design is not in my wheelhouse, so Canva reigns supreme in helping me create striking graphics and short videos for all my social media needs. There are thousands of templates. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve found something you love, it serves as an excellent source of inspiration. You can get Canva for free, but the paid version is worth it and can be shared between multiple users.

Tip: Take advantage of the Pro features in Canva like the Brand Kit. You can set templates and input brand colors, fonts, and logos to create a cohesive look across your social media channels.

A cohesive look and feel creates a memorable brand

Developing a cohesive look and feel across all social media channels helps you create a memorable brand.

Content Planning

What’s the best way to plan your content? The answer you get will depend on who you ask. Some prefer spreadsheets while others utilize programs like Asana or Trello, although those can be costly. There are lots of Google Sheets templates that can be downloaded and used as monthly calendars for content planning.

Measuring Success

Marketing teams use different software, spreadsheets, and metrics of success depending on their unique business goals. To keep it simple, get familiar with the Insights features in both Meta (Facebook) and Instagram. Get to know what age range your audience falls into, where they are located, and what they interact with most.

Given the changing workforce, it is crucial that veterinary clinics find innovative ways to recruit and retain skilled team members. By leveraging the power of social media, practice owners can showcase their unique clinic culture and available job positions, reach a larger applicant pool, and connect with better qualified candidates, all for a fraction of the cost of traditional job postings.

Nicole Scott-Jones is a digital marketing specialist and public speaker living in Atlanta, Georgia. She works as a digital marketing and social media strategist with the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. She also serves as the executive assistant at the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative. Combining her experience with both associations allows her to deliver unique perspectives and remain in touch with the needs of the veterinary community.

Photo credits: BRO Vector/iStock via Getty Images Plus, ©AAHA/Alison Silverman



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