Feutz says it’s important to remember the geographic nature of your veterinary practice, and hone your Facebook and blog content accordingly.

“Veterinary practices tend to be geographic,” she says. “We won’t have clients coming to our practice in southern Indiana from northern Illinois. We see a lot of fungal diseases in dogs here, but that’s not necessarily a large concern in northern Illinois. You want to talk to the people who will come into your door and spend money with you. If you’re not building clients, you’re wasting your time.”

It’s also important to let your current clients know you’re in the social world, Feutz says.

“You can print at the bottom of your receipts to visit your website or Facebook page,” she says. “Also, make sure it’s on your business cards and appointment cards. And, if it’s a brand new website, make a big deal about it. Put up signs and make sure your receptionists and techs are telling customers.”

It’s also important to remember that Facebook is “social” media for a reason, Feutz says.

“Facebook is geared toward starting a discussion,” Feutz says. “Don’t ask a question and then not respond. Be down in the trenches talking with them —not at them. You’re not broadcasting what you know from a mountaintop.”

And, to ensure that communication occurs, Deewall says a practice should designate one person to monitor Facebook comments and make posts.

“It doesn’t take a lot of time, but you want to police the comments at least once a day to stay on top of that,” she says. “Don’t have everyone in the practice able to post. Just have a couple of people in charge. It’s a little easier to keep a handle of it, that way.”

Scheduling routine updates can also help to build your clinic’s following.

Schedule Smart

“If you post religiously for a year, you will get some traction and traffic and see some return,” Feutz says. “But if you only post once a month, no one will pay attention. They won’t see your information as new or fresh, and it won’t bring them into your clinic.”

However, she says, there a fine line between posting enough and too often.

“More is not always better,” Feutz says. “If you post too often, people will get tired of reading it all. If you’re not seeing new clients, maybe you’re not posting enough or are irritating them by posting too often. You need to evaluate who you’re talking to and continually evaluate your strategy.”

Feutz posts on her blogs three times a week, and once daily on Facebook and Twitter.

While Facebook is an incredible tool, don’t underestimate the power of an effective website or blog, as well.

The Place for Blogs and Websites

Feutz says a dynamic website is critical for any veterinary practice.

“Especially in this day and age, a boring website that hasn’t changed in three years just won’t cut it,” she says. “It’s important to have a web presence, and one that is updated.”

And, she says, a blog can be greatly beneficial to a veterinary practice, as well. However, you first must ensure you have a person to manage it.

“You need to have someone who can write, who has knowledge and who has the time,” she says.

A blog is the perfect place to educate clients about the seasonal issues facing their livestock and domestic animals, Feutz says.

“In the small animal world in the spring, mosquitoes begin to come out and we enter heartworm season,” she says. “You could write a series, then, about how heartworms are transmitted; how it progresses in a dog; how you treat it; how you prevent it; and why it’s important to work with your vet.”

Because of the seasonality, Feutz says, developing an editorial calendar can be simple.

And, she says, enabling “comments” on your blog posts is a tremendous way to continue the conversation with clients. Once again, you must also ensure you’re responding to their comments and questions to keep them engaged.

Regardless of the method you choose for your clinic, the best advice is to give it a shot.

Read social media tips from Deewall and Feutz here.