May has come and gone and the associated activity for Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month has started to die down. But there are still the competition results to find out – who had the best selfie, the best waiting room display and best campaign event?
If you want to find out more about #whatvnsdo then Read the full blog here…
I apologise in this blog if you aren’t an Archers fan, I know this daily 13 minutes of radio can be divisive. However the on going issue of the visibility of the vet nursing role seems to crop up everywhere and at the time the vet focussed story lines really showed the absence of, well, anyone else in a vet practice that keeps it running besides the vet!
Although since this blog a ‘vet nurse’ has been mentioned… when a fractious cat needed handling! Love it!
When your inbox is filled with GDPR requests in can make checking emails rather dull, so I was even more pleased than usual to get an email from blogspot to say my YouTube channel is in the Top 75 Veterinary YouTube channels in the world!
In fact its at No 34! How amazing is that!
Thanks to the amazing subscribers and viewers who have made the channel such a success. We’re very close to breaking into the top 30 channels so if anyone else would like an emails roughly every 2 weeks to show you my latest video then please SUBSCRIBE and boost our chart position!
Its hard to believe how low I was feeling when I started recording some videos hoping to help a few students… that was 2 years ago and look where we are now! The student vet nurse community really saved me with their positive feedback – THANK YOU!
Recruit4vets get a lot of feedback on what people look for in a job advert, and in the job itself. They supply both permanent and locum positions for vet practices and as we were discussing blog ideas last year we hit upon the idea of getting a poll together to ask what people really had as their top priorities.
Yes, there are salary surveys by many organisations but that’s for the role you are in now… R4V wanted to know what was the biggest, and smallest motivator when looking for a new position and I wanted to prove that talking about money doesn’t hurt, it only helps with the recruitment process.
As we all know mentioning salary or working hours in a job advert seems taboo for many veterinary employers… well let’s see how important that is to you … read more
For Vet Times this month I pondered the good, bad and ugly of the smells we get exposed to in The Veterinary World. That might sound weird but there’s something very powerful about smell and memory and in the vet world we get to sniff the weird wonderful and down right nasty.
Check my blog out here, but sorry, it’s not scratch and sniff!
I’m really pleased to announce that I’m now working with any-uk-Vet.co.uk to provide blogs for pet owners. This adds to my current blogging for Vet Times and Recruit4vets which are mainly focussed on the vet industry.
My first blog was concerning that thorny issue of being a vet nurse who owns a Peke – a flat faced dog of the type that has seen a lot of negative press recently. How do I feel about this and what do I do to keep Hollie healthy? Read more!
I’m really honoured to be chosen to speak directly to pet owners and share my knowledge and experience of being that curious hybrid of vet nurse/vet client as I progress throug the care needed for a high maintenance Peke and a cat who seems to let none of her chronic health issues hold her back.
I first became familiar with the # when training as a veterinary nurse. The symbol appeared frequently as the practice saw a high number of emergency patients and there were the inevitable broken legs from dogs being hit by cars and the broken jaws and pelvis of the high-rise syndrome cats.
Happily I now associate # as a hashtag and enjoy using it on social media, a little different from seeing it and knowing I was heading into theatre for a 3-4 stint. I find on social media people usually see a # and either love it, avoid it or misuse it, so what is it, what does it do and how can you use it?
What is a # ?
Simply put a # is a form of metadata. i.e. it provides data on other data. While that sounds quite dry and dull it’s a very specific way of saying that a # used on social media links all posts that use that #. # terms are also picked up by search engines so can help with your SEO.
It’s an easy way to link people with similar interests or to raise awareness of events or issues without it being focused on an individual account or page.
What is trending?
It is usually the content of a # that you will see “trending”. Trending describes the list of the most popular topics on social media sites. It can be a single word, a phrase or a name. It lets social media users see what is popular on their platform at that time. It can help spread messages quickly which, like my previous blog on viral posts can be really beneficial.
Is a # beneficial to me?
Using a # is quick and easy and can create different communities within your followers and attract new followers. It saves you setting up new accounts for sharing new products or information yet you will still be able to be found on social media and using SEO – yes you can Google #s.
It can be great for short term sharing of information – like having a stall at an upcoming summer fayre or a promotion on preventative health care. I use #planetrvn on social media to link my posts and others use it too to promote what they are doing in the ventures world. It also makes the posts less about me and my account as a person, its a community.
How do I start one?
Choose your message and put a # in front of it – it’s that simple. But make sure your message is easy to understand and not easily confused with others. Avoid the basic pitfalls of:
- Bad spelling – Facebook you can edit posts on – Twitter you can’t so that will live with you forever (deleted posts don’t disappear entirely either) and people then can’t find all the posts
- Typos – as above a typo will make the # look poor and hard to find
- Punctuation – #’s don’t like punctuation and it will stop linking letters and numbers, meaning #no.1petcare will become just #no – not a great #
- # already in use – check especially with commonly used words or initials. Your message will be lost Google your intended # as well as searching on social media
- creating words you didn’t intend to – Susan Boyles album launch # was #susanalbumparty which doesn’t read well when put together
- piggy backing on popular # – some companies have done this and it doesn’t end well. We know that #strictly will trend most weekends over autumn in the UK as the BBC have Strictly Come Dancing on and it’s a show where viewers vote for contestants. Yes, it’s popular but it’s not really vet related – unless Noel Fitzpatrick is in this years contestants. Posting something about flea treatments with #strictly usually won’t win you any favours!
Managing your #
Do remember to head into your # (just click on it) and check whats going on. This means you can make sure it hasn’t been hi-jacked, but also you can respond to comments and re-post. This has the effect of connecting you to more followers and boosting the frequency that your # is seen, as well as creating a community.
#plan, #create, #enjoy
Using a # well can really expand your horizons on social media and it is a great way to increase your SEO. Avoid the pitfalls above, plan what you want to do and enjoy! Join me on #planetrvn to see how it can work.
Since the advent of social media we have become addicted to likes, shares and retweets. It shows our post is good – doesn’t it? If likes and shares are good then a viral post must be the best?
Well, it shows people are interested but if your post gets more than the normal number of views is it really good for you? Is the Moon the dream viral destination, or a lonely place with little interaction?
What is a viral post?
The name tells you little about what a viral post is. Yep, it’s like a virus…. It’s a post that takes over and grows larger than your usual audience and usually at a rapid pace. That might mean a few hundred shares and likes or more, but still within YOUR community. It’s truly viral if it gets shared across more than one social media platform, gets trending or spreads outside of your country, EVERYONE sees it.
Of these two options – either viral for YOU or viral for EVERYONE which do you think is best and how does it get there?
What makes something “go viral”?
viralmadnews.com – is this an image you would like to be known for?
There are common themes for viral posts we often see. The post usually provides one or more of the following:
- Invokes a reaction – good or bad
- There’s an error – beware of cropping pictures properly, typos, checking facts, photo bombs
- It’s emotional – animals always get a response! Telling a story with animal pictures/videos will always get increased interest
- New information – which might seem obvious to you but is new to clients – think of the recent interest in the posts on not giving sticks to dogs
- Use of key words or # – this creates an easy way for people to search for and find your post, naturally increasing the audience
- Timing – local papers can pick up stories that then get into national press. This is more likely to happen on a slow news day for most vet related stories.
There’s Good Viral and Bad Viral too. Posts often get shared because of a reason…
|Post type||Good Viral||Bad Viral|
|Invokes a reaction||Re-uniting lost pets||Animal welfare issues raised that are contentious – cruelty cases|
|There’s an error||An amusing typo||Client details revealed on paperwork or screen!|
|It’s emotional||Feel good stories – patients get better||Highly contentious areas
|New information||Health advice such as not throwing sticks for dogs||Issues with insurance claims – may be relevant to your clients but not to the wider public|
|Use of key words or #||Active veterinary #s such as #teamvet #planetrvn #whatvnsdo||Piggy backing from a trending # not related to your post – dodgy Bots do this so avoid!|
Social media sites have many examples of businesses promoting poorly chosen products for likes – do you want to answer all these negative comments for a the sake of a few more likes?
Is a viral post the Moon Landing of a good social media account?
This might be a surprise to you all but having a post go viral isn’t the unicorn that people think it is. As a service provider a vet practice is unlikely to see a huge benefit in having posts go viral for EVERYONE.
It will probably reach more people than you wish to register at once and they are likely to be out of your geographical area. The point of practice social media is usually to drive more clients to your door or website – but at a level you can cope with and creating committed clients who will return and again and again, not people who travel miles to attend a “celeb” vets but don’t use you for all their pets care.
There is a lack of control of a post once it goes viral. It is harder to read and respond to comments made and you will need specific software to track the post. It can be more work than you intended to keep up with a rapidly shared post.
As a vet practice in the UK there can quickly be a loss of context for some posts. Animal issues vary widely between countries and something that is of concern here may be routine in another country. This can result in then some negative comments that are not intended to be, but are posted due to the lack of context that can happen. Social media users are aware of this and you often find other posters advising people of the origin of a post. Having others correct issues is a great attribute so don’t rush to correct people too quickly yourself.
I see social media is another way of spreading the traditional word of mouth recommendations and a viral post can result in a loss of personal interaction. I like ensuring that comments on my posts or blogs all get a “like”, even if there are too many comments to respond to each individual comment. It’s the same for a business page.
Your practice Instagram is unlikely to become the vet equivalent of Beyoncè, where thousands comment and you aren’t expected to reply, just exist and be adored! It is more realistic to have tens of replies that you can respond to and engage with clients or potential clients. Therefore, a viral post can quickly remove the practicality of doing this and reduces the posts impact and ability to do what you want – increase footfall to practice or website.
What type of viral is best?
For the average vet practice a post that is in the “good” category AND is viral to YOU is the best option. These types of posts generate a bigger audience, they may be picked up by local and maybe national newspapers (or a spot on This Morning!) for a story but you still have control over seeing the responses to the post. If your usual likes are 15-20 and share 5-10 then a viral post for YOU would probably see likes of 150+ and shares hitting 35+. This is great work, and is an asset to your practice, not a burden.
Shoot for the Moon and you’ll still land among the Stars? Maybe hanging around the Stars is the best place to be, the Moon isn’t all its cracked up to be.
I admit I thought I was a bit old to be attending a festival. I like my home comforts and spending a couple of days in a field didn’t seem to offer many home comforts. Maybe there has been too much mud on TV from Glastonbury but the appeal of CPD in a field was a little lost on me.
When its summer I need to have my toes out at all times. How would I cope with mud? What if it rains, will I cope with a chemical toilet, how would I cope with the crazy festival vibe?
Still, I planned for my time in the field. I bought a poncho for the rain, a selfie stick for many photo opportunities and a floral headband so I would fit in, how could I not enjoy myself?
Well Dear Reader, enjoy myself I did. Everything about VetFest was fabulous. Although there could have been more face glitter….
Let’s start with the important part – the CPD. The lectures were held marquees creating a fab atmosphere. To counter the noise from neighbouring marquees there were headphones for attendees and it looked like we were in a silent disco.
The subjects were varied and the presentations of a really high standard. I was sorry to not to have been able to go the rehab lectures on the Saturday as they looked amazing. I really enjoyed Kieran Borgeats cardiology and Jon Bowens behaviour and noise phobia lectures.
The facilities needn’t have had me worried. The toilets were actually pretty plush. The food was fantastic – the best I’ve had at any CPD. There was also plenty of places to top up your water bottle and the food was served in cardboard containers. It was easy to avoid single use plastics so I was really happy.
The atmosphere was laid back and friendly. The small size of the festival really helped. I had envisioned a huge queue for food and toilets but that wasn’t the case.
A few days before we had received an email about an embargo on broadcasting any of the key note with Russell Brand. It all made it seem pretty serious but I needn’t have worried. The discussion between Russell and Noel was great. Relaxed, fun, but discussing the pressures on the vet industry and what we can do about it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt that being in our industry makes us part of a special club that’s an honour to be in it and we need to look after each other.
This was possibly the friendliest CPD meeting I’ve been to. I had an absolute blast, met so many great people and learnt loads, all while being outside! I’m thinking next year I get a VW Camper van and stay for the weekend! See you there in 2018, when everyone will have their toes out!