You’ve made the decision. You’re going to start posting on social media. You’ve read the last blog and decided what type of posts you would like to share. How do you move forward with the best balance of time spent and impact made?

One important part of choosing your style of posts is that whatever you choose to do – PLAN! You are in control of your feed and while time may be of the essence in occasional situations where you wish to locate the owner of a lost pet you always have time to consider what you are putting out there. There’s no excuse for drunken selfies in vet practice timeline!

There are numerous software brands that can make planning easier and most social media platforms let you create content for posting later. Having social media in practice does not mean having a staff member with a phone or tablet glued to them at all times.

Planning a month in advance is a good way to set up your posts, after planning the “corner stones” of the year. Events where the advice remains the similar each year : –

Event Post ideas Timing
Christmas OOH cover and contacts

Christmas foods to avoid for pets

Christmas foreign bodies

Stress of visitors

 

Can be used to build up to the festive period with information posts and then focus on OOH cover during the actual holiday
Easter Easter foods to avoid

Wildlife in Spring

OOH cover and contacts

Rabbit welfare and rehoming

Can be used to build up to the festive period with information posts and then focus on OOH cover during the actual holiday
Fireworks Stress reduction

Creating dens

Medical intervention

Builds up to

5th Nov, Diwali, Chinese New Year, 31st Dec, local events

Holidays Hot weather – dogs in cars

Travelling with pets

Finding pet care while you are away

Pet passports

 

Holiday season – which for many is summer, Christmas, and all year round!

 

This creates a nice framework for then filling in the year with practice posts. It can make planning your social media feel a little less daunting.

While the software for scheduling posts lets you see what’s coming up, this is only once the post has been created. It’s a good idea to start with a list, table or spreadsheet – whichever format suits you – to plan your posts. This helps you keep an overview on what content is going out and when. You can make the spreadsheet anyway you like, but I like to have a notes column to remind me what I need to do for each post : –

SM planner

This is quick and easy to do and easy to share. For security you don’t want everyone having the passwords to your social media accounts, but you may want to share what you have planned. It can help to have more than one view on what you are posting. Ideally a vet, vet nurse and a lay member of the team such as a receptionist. Each will be able to share what their experience is of information clients ask for. They can also share their social media experiences – posts they have seen elsewhere and liked, or disliked. Even if your planner has just the type of post you wish to put out to shape your feed, then the group decides which cases, charities or products you promote. It makes creating content easier and meetings shorter.

This poses the question – who is best for running your social media? It is commonly acknowledged that vet nurses often do this job well. We do pretty much everything else really well too! There is a cost implication here, as vet nurse time per hour is cheaper than a vets, yet we are still a regulated profession. Thus suggesting that we are aware of the legal implications of our posts and are less likely to post anything controversial. It has also been noted that vet nurses took to social media as a way to empower the community earlier than vets did. Perhaps we are the perfect social media advocates?

The theory also seems to be that the younger the member of staff, the more social media savvy they are and so will be good at this role.

This might not be the best train of thought. Yes, at age 21 you are statistically more likely to be active on social media that at age 65, however putting up posts of your personal life is different to running social media for a business. While I agree that vet nurses are great at creating ideas for social media, that younger staff may understand the technicalities of screen shots and posting memes, you need to make sure they speak for the whole practice and your client base.

A team effort of different ages, roles and experience is more likely to make a successful social media page.

Next time we’ll cover the ‘C’ word – Consent.