A Note About This Blog Post From Our Team at GeniusVets! This post was written by one of our founders, Dr. Michele Drake—Owner of The Drake Center For Veterinary Care in Encinitas, CA. She is one of the highest-performing practice owners in the country, but that could perhaps make you skeptical. Why wouldn't Dr. Drake want to keep her trade secrets close to the vest? She has always been passionate about sharing the secrets to her success with other practice owners because she genuinely believes that each one of you can elevate one another and the veterinary field in general. So read on and enjoy her tips on how to get new clients through Instagram!
Is your veterinary hospital using Instagram? With a user base of 1 billion active accounts, per a recent tally, it is time to jump on board. The average Instagram user spends an average of 53 minutes per day on the app - and one study found that this is only minutes behind the time spent on Facebook! Can you guess what one of the most popular photo subjects is? You guessed it--PETS! In fact, many people create an account just for their pets. How do you leverage this social media trend? Check out our five hacks for getting your practice noticed on Instagram and, with persistence, converting your followers into new clients.
1. Use the Search Location Feature
This feature is where Instagram wins big time compared to Facebook. Using this tip, you will be able to find pets in your local area and organically interact with them! (Oh, and it’s super simple.) First, use the search tool. Type in a location in your target area and click “Places.”
We suggest targeting roughly a 10-mile radius around your veterinary hospital. Next, Instagram will pull up all public photos in your local area. To search other areas in your target location, simply start a new places search.
For example, The Drake Center is located in Encinitas, but it is also good to pull up posts from Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe, etc.
Our next tip tells you how to interact with the relevant pet posts you find...
2. “Mine and Grind”
What is "mine and grind," you ask? It is simply scrolling through (or “mining”) the location targeted posts on Instagram and interacting with potential customers that fit your target client. In this case, it’s easy: you are looking for pet pics! Click on photos of local pets and like, comment, and follow.
Bonus tips for engaging on Instagram:
- Don’t just like one photo. Go into their account and like multiple pics.
- Read the caption before you comment! (It seems like a no-brainer, but people miss this ALL the time). The last thing you want to do is comment, “Looks like your pup is having such a fun day!” just to realize after the fact it was actually a memorial post. Yikes!
- Leave THOUGHTFUL comments! If you have been on Instagram for any amount of time, you have probably seen very generic comments made by people who are simply copy-pasting or, even worse, using a bot. Your time spent leaving comments will be worth it if you have something meaningful to say. Offer valuable advice, or simply leave a compliment. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality as well! Humor can go a long way when engaging on social media.
- Don’t be stingy about who you follow, but be strategic. Let’s face it; we are not celebrities, so don’t worry about looking cool because you only follow 46 accounts. Follow your current clients and people who fit into what you consider your ideal client.
We recommend scrolling through your timeline and engaging with the accounts you follow, plus “mine and grind” in your local area for 30 minutes per day. Not only will you see an increase in organic, engaged followers, but you may see new clients as well! You can even track these results on your new client paperwork:
3. Follow Local Pet-Related Hashtags
A newer feature added to Instagram this year was the capability of following hashtags, in addition to actual accounts. This is excellent news if you have a local pet hashtag frequently used by pet owners. Not only should you follow the hashtag and interact with the posts, but you should also use the hashtag in your hashtag strategy in every applicable post. This way, anyone that follows or searches for that particular hashtag will see your posts!
4. Always Add Your Location in Posts and Your Hashtag Strategy
Adding your location to your posts will mean that your photo will show up in the posts categorized together in your local area. This means more eyeballs on your posts from potential local clients! Doing this is super simple:
In addition, add your target locations into your hashtags so that anyone searching in your area via hashtags may also see your posts. For example, if you are located in Dallas, use popular local hashtags, such as #dallas, #dallastexas, #dallastx, #dallaslife, etc. Simply input your location into the search bar and click “Tags” to find popular local hashtags. Then you can scroll through and choose tags that would apply to your business.
5. Make Your Only URL Link WORK for You
Luckily, Instagram does feature buttons on your business page that allow someone to be able to click to call, email, and get directions. However, you only get one URL link, which many businesses use to link to their website.
When posting about blogs or any special promotions, marketers have to constantly change out the link in their bio to direct people to the right page. That all changed when platforms such as Linktr.ee launched. With Linktr.ee, you can create different buttons that direct to different pages on your website.
Now you can promote special offers, blogs, making appointments, services you offer, etc., all in one place. We suggest capitalizing on Instagram users who are not current clients by creating some offer or download that you can promote in your bio. This encourages people who are checking out your page to take action!
Remember, content marketing and social media marketing take consistency over time. You may not see an instantaneous influx of new clients who found your veterinary practice via Instagram. It takes time to build relationships with people online and ultimately gain their trust.