How Veterinary Practices Can Promote Local Events on Social Media
By Brandi Dupre, Director of Operations and Gabrielle Seltzer, Social Media Manager
As a local business, your practice can thrive on participation within your community. Holidays, dedications, and other celebrations are often occasions for local events where your veterinary practice may have the opportunity to build bonds and grow the business. So go ahead and set up a booth. Walk in a parade. Hand out some freebies (with your logo!). Your staff will get to meet pet owners (potential clients!), you’ll get to showcase your business culture, and, honestly, you’ll get to have fun!
But first, you’ll need to let your clients and potential clients know that you’ll be there -- and encourage them to come out, too. Social media can be your key to promoting your event participation.
Choose your Social Tactics
Talking up the event on all of your social networks is the single best (and free!) method of promotion. You can do this through a variety of different methods, including creating promotional "flyers," adding themed photos with text to promote the event (can be done easily through Canva), video blurbs from the staff encouraging clients to come out, and frequent reminders by way of countdown and tidbits of information. Also, consider building excitement by posting pictures from previous years’ events and talking up how much fun it was!
You'll want to also give users a heads up about any hashtags you're using so that the hashtag "sticks" with them and they remember to use it during the event. Each post you make leading up to the event should include that hashtag. For the hashtag, keep it really simple, relevant, and easy to type and remember.
Make Some “In Real Life” Connections, too
Remember that you can give this same info to clients who visit the office, too. Print half page flyers that encourage them to "Like" your Facebook page and follow you on other social platforms to see info on the event and how they can participate. It doesn't have to be fancy... really, just something simple with clear instructions on what to do and how to find you.
Hashtags and Social “Partnerships”
When posting about the event, don't forget to use any other hashtags that are being used for the event by coordinators or other organizations. This will get you exposure when people who aren't clients are searching for these other hashtags. Hashtags are an important part of reaching event attendees. They provide live search functionality and also provide a history of posts that people can browse through after the fact (and most people do when looking for info or pictures of themselves!). The more you’ve engaged with relevant hashtags, the easier your content can be found.
Do some research beforehand and find out who will be there and how you might incorporate them into your posts. For example, take photos with other organizations and tag/hashtag them. The more friends you can include, the better, so don't hesitate to reach out to any local organizations that you might be able to get photo ops with.
Photos, Video, and Live Broadcasts Before and During the Event
Be sure to take plenty of photos and video so that even if you can't post them all live, you can share them after the event and also save for next year's promotion leading up to the event. Don’t forget to use location tagging on Instagram as an easy way to show off exactly where you are or will be.
Remember that when you go "Live" on Facebook, some users will receive notifications that you're live, and Facebook's algorithm will bump you up in feeds. Those live videos also save to your profile as regular videos that you can share and save for later. So, don't hesitate to go live leading up to the event and again during, even if it's just in short increments. Highlight any pets in attendance or anything special you're working on beforehand. This is all excellent promotion that builds excitement.
Gain Interest with Incentives
If you can offer an incentive for people to get involved, you’ll likely have higher interest and participation. Some ideas for gaining participation include:
- Letting people know ahead of time where you'll be and asking them to meet you there
- Creating fun themes for events such as dress up day
- Offering a prize for most engaged, based on check-in, likes, and comments
Encouraging fun ways to participate also gives attendees a reason to share their experience on their own social media where local friends and family may gain interest.
Find Ways to Follow Up
Speaking of encouraging prizes, a giveaway or raffle can do double duty for your practice during an event. Display the prize at your booth, along with a very simple entry form. Ask for:
- Types of pets
- Email address
- Phone number (optional)
That email address is key. You need to contact the winner, of course -- and you want to encourage that winner to post on social media about the prize and tag your practice. But those who didn’t win can be your biggest assets! Send all of those people an email thanking them for visiting you at the event, and more importantly, offering them an incentive to come visit you again in your office. A special offer for new patient exams or a discount on an over-the-counter product for event attendees draws pet owners to your practice. This will help you gain new clients, or even get existing patients caught up on overdue services. And if your hospital puts out a regular newsletter, you may be able to add to your email list as well.
Local events are a refreshing opportunity to get out and about in your community -- all in the name of promoting great pet care and growing your business. Get out there and take advantage of the positive, party atmosphere when you can! Just be sure to use your social media to build up excitement and boost attendance.
If you have any questions about using social media, for events or any other promotions, to grow your practice, be sure to get in touch with us!