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July/August 2014 Today's Veterinary Practice 59 PracTice Building | BeYond The Yellow Pages—ParT 2: clienT MaTchMaking Tools tvpjournal.com FACeBooK.CoM Facebook.com is no secret; with over 1 billion registered users, it is the largest online community on the planet. But did you know that businesses can utilize Facebook to engage specifically with existing and prospective cli- ents with similar interests, who live in their neighborhood? according to the company, over 15 million businesses utilize Facebook to interact with their customers. There are many strategies and theories about how to effectively deploy social media in your veterinary practice. Pages of articles and hours of continuing education meeting time have been dedicated to varying perspectives of how to best use Facebook for your practice. Key Features according to the company, a Facebook Business page enables a small business to be: • Discoverable: Facebook has rapidly become its own search environment. with a business page, your clients and prospective clients will be able to find you. • Connected: Facebook is about engagement. Business pages allow your practice to engage with your clients; have one-on-one conversations with people who can like your page, read your posts, and share them with friends; and "check-in" when they visit your practice. • Timely: Posting through your page enables your prac- tice to reach large groups of people frequently, with messages tailored to their needs and interests. • insightful: Facebook provides ongoing analytics that enable a user to identify what messages are most com- pelling to their audience, see what doesn't work, and measure the efficacy of specific promotional efforts. The best content to deploy remains debatable; ultimate- ly, a practice team needs to decide what's going to be most effective for their community and local culture. The mistake many practices make, however, is focusing on Facebook interaction among their existing clientele, rather than using it as a platform to cultivate new relationships and dialogues with Facebook users outside of their client base. Through multiple features, businesses can purchase expanded messaging within the Facebook community. generally, paid promotions are intended to accomplish one of the following goals: • increased page exposure • expanded distribution of a specific post or topic • specific promotions or coupons Targeted messaging can be tailored to specific geo- graphic regions (within miles of your practice), interest types (pets, activities), age, or other demographic details. By employing a more targeted approach, Facebook becomes your personal tool for connecting with prospec- tive clients. in our hands in our practice, we have chosen to be very proactive with Facebook in its role as a communication platform. To the individual user, Facebook is a place to share your life, your family, and your personality; we view it as a way to share our practice's personality, even before the client experi- ences our practice in a patient setting. Because we can identify the individuals who follow our practice on Facebook, we can objectively track new cli- ent relationships that result from specific campaigns, promotions, and coupons, and the overall return on in- vestment. VeTeRinARiAnS.CoM Veterinarians.com is a website platform that con- nects pet owners in search of veterinary care with participating veterinarians. Formerly operated as localvets.com, veterinarians.com seeks to dis- place traditional search tools, such as the yellow pages, and expand a practice's reach across mul- tiple platforms, directories, and publishers. Targeted toward new pet owners, or those new to a given area, veterinarians.com currently drives over 6000 phone calls a day to participating veteri- nary practices from consumers seeking to schedule veterinary appointments, thereby directly increas- ing new patient visits.