Social media fascinates me. Especially Facebook. I am always checking out other clinic’s Facebook pages to see what everyone is doing on them. I am looking to see if they are doing things that we can use on our clinic’s page? In my peeping around I am seeing 3 trends and unfortunately only one is a positive one.
Lets back up a bit and review what are the goals of social media. Basically, we are trying to genuinely engage current and potential clients to develop relationships that will drive lasting business to our practices. We want our Facebook fans to think “I like and trust these folks, I am comfortable with them treating my horse and I am going to tell everyone I know about them”.
What are the three trends I am seeing vets do on Facebook? First of all they are shouting at their fans. Too many people are doing nothing but announcing things. We have a sale on this, we are doing this, we are going here. After awhile these pages are like the party bore who is telling everyone how special they are. Meanwhile people are trying to back away or catch the eye of someone else that they can go talk to. We all have things to announce but doing it all the time diminishes their effect. The second thing they are doing is being an absent friend. They make a post on Facebook then perhaps a day or two later another one. Then we have silence for a week or so. It’s hard to develop a relationship with someone who is never around. I think too many practices expect the fans to begin pouring in and then give up when they don’t. Making friends takes a while.
Let us appreciate those who get that building a loyal Facebook following means listening to clients and letting them shine. I love seeing the pages that ask fans to make a diagnosis on a case, to send in a photo of their horse or to submit information about their events or horse shows. They are involving their fans in a dialogue. Those are the pages that I see have regular jumps in their number of fans.
I have seen the good and bad in our own Facebook page. When we are on it regularly and offering up information that is of value to fans we get increases in the number of our fans. When all we do is talk about ourselves we see no growth. None of us can be great all the time. A mediocre post or two is acceptable as long as fans know there usually is a payoff more often than not.
What do you want your Facebook page to reflect:? Do you want to be the party bore or someone who can hang around with and have a good time? Social media is all pretty new to us equine veterinarians but really all that we are doing is building trust and relationships with people. We are great at doing that one on one. That is one of the things that attracted me to equine practice in the first place. Facebook just allows us to do that with many people at once.
What are you doing on your clinic’s Facebook page to engage people? What are the activities that fans are having fun with? Post a comment below to share your successes and lets learn from each other.