5 Tips to Retain Your Veterinary Clients Using Social Media
By Gabrielle Seltzer, Social Media Manager
With Shannon Pecora, Marketing Manager
If your veterinary practice is like most, you spend a lot of energy and thought on how to bring new clients into your hospital. Once a new client has finished their first appointment, it is important to continue to nurture that relationship in order to build trust and boost client retention. Social posts are one of the best ways to keep fun and engaging messages in front of your clients and help keep you top of mind. In fact, recent studies show that the average person spends 142 minutes browsing social media every single day. Are you showing up?
Direct Methods to Get in Front of Your Clients on Social
First, let’s take a look at some ways you can make your current clients aware of the social networks where your veterinary hospital participates.
#1 Lobby and Exam Room Signage
There are many physical places you can use to make new clients aware of your social media channels when they come in for the first time.
- New welcome patient sign - Welcome new patients by name on a corkboard, letterboard, or whiteboard. Add your social media handles to make them aware of where they may see photos of their pet posted.
- Current contests - Create a sign in the lobby with any current social media contests you are holding. This will incentivize people to enter by finding you on social media.
- TV screens - If you have television screens in your lobby or exam rooms, add slides that promote where clients can find you on social media.
- Likes counters - Some companies sell physical devices that show the number of likes you have on Facebook or Instagram in real time. Some people in your lobby will like your page just to see the counter move up!
- Bulletin boards and countertops - Without cluttering your lobby or exam rooms, see if you can use wall and counter space to post flyers with your social media details. You can include QR codes so that clients can walk right up to them, scan them, and go directly to the social page of your choice. Replace these as they fade or tear to keep them neat and clean.
#2 Welcome Email with Social Links
Create a welcome email for all new clients that includes where they can connect with you on social media. Make sure you add links that will take them directly to your page so they do not have to search for your accounts. It should be as simple as possible. Create motivation for them to follow. Here are some ideas:
- Post a picture of their pet in a new patient photo album on Facebook. Email them the photo and a link to where you posted it.
- Let them know about any current social media contests you are holding.
- Let them know that you post important updates, breaking pet health information, contests, promotions, events, etc.
#3 Use Your Current Client Email List to Create Custom Facebook and Instagram Audiences
Don’t forget that you collect client email addresses as a standard part of establishing new client files. You use these emails for service and appointment reminders, of course, but you can also use them to connect and bond with clients on social media. Allocate part of your marketing budget to advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and you can create messages specifically for your existing client base. These ads can help reinforce your bonds with these pet owners, and you’ll know they’ll be delivered directly to that target audience based on your email list.
- In Ads Manager, upload your client email list to create a customized audience.
- If enough Facebook or Instagram platform user emails match your list, you’ll be able to target that group with ads.
Note: you will never know which individual email addresses match user accounts, and you’ll never know which individual user accounts receive your ads. This protects social media users’ privacy.
- Create image, link, video, or other ad types with messages aimed at client retention.
- Deliver these ads to that specific audience, and keep track of engagement, link clicks, video views, and more to help gauge your success!
For more information about using email lists in social media advertising, see our blogs:
How Veterinary Practices Can Use Social Media to Raise Awareness in Their Local Area
How Pay Per Click Marketing Keeps Veterinary Clients Coming Back Again and Again Throughout the Lives of Their Pets
Appearing Organically in Social News Feeds to Retain Clients
Once your clients are aware of what social networks your hospital is on, you want to make sure they are motivated to follow you. This can be done by posting consistently and also producing quality content. When a client follows you on social media, it is a prime opportunity to show up in their daily life. By staying top of mind, you will retain more clients.
#4 Serve Their Needs
Serving the needs of your clients is the number one priority when showing up in their news feeds on social media. But to properly serve them, you need to understand why they - as pet owners - use social media in the first place.
- Learning - People now more heavily rely on social media for news updates and education about new topics. As their veterinarian, you should be their #1 source of pet health information. So make sure some of what you post is pet health updates, safety, and tips.
- Entertainment - Let’s be honest, entertainment is probably one of the biggest reasons we are on social media to begin with. Plus, cats and dogs are arguably the most popular type of content on social media, so use that to your advantage! From memes, to jokes, to a goofy video of your staff doing the next viral social media challenge, people love to engage with content that makes them laugh.
- Inspiration - Share inspiring stories that probably happen in your veterinary hospital on a daily basis. Show the public how loving and caring your doctors and staff are, and new clients are surely going to feel an emotional bond to your practice, and therefore will be more likely to become loyal clients.
- Reminders - Although the bulk of how you show up on social media should be the first 3 categories we mentioned, you should also be using about 20% of your posts to either sell or remind clients of services that you offer at your vet hospital. Make sure to make it easy for followers to take action by including a link to book an appointment, contact you, or learn more on your website.
#5 Engage Consistently and Thoughtfully
Lastly, you need to engage. People flock to social media to be social, with other human beings. This is a two-way conversation that is so important to create that bond while they are not physically in your practice. This means responding to comments thoughtfully, answering questions, or just telling people how cute their pets are! Show up consistently and mindfully, and new clients will be sure to notice - and become bonded clients.
It is important to show up where your clients are spending their time and to engage with them on their terms. This means that social media must be part of your veterinary marketing strategy. Connect with your clients on social to set yourself apart from your local competition and solidify your position as their go-to vet.
Learn more about the GeniusVets Social Post Inspiration Library and claim your FREE 30-minute veterinary marketing consultation by contacting us today!