I Develop Social Media Strategies and Tactics to Help Your Practice Make the Most of Your Investments in Social Media
I Also Draft Custom Social Media Policies for Your Practice to Head Off Problems and Set Appropriate Boundaries Between Your Team’s Personal and Business Activities Online
The return on your investment in social media improves exponentially once you have a custom social media policy in place to suit your practice and begin making posts based on general best practices, following a regular schedule and an editorial calendar to guide content. Your practice will also benefit from having a social media policy in place.
Social Media Strategies and Tactics
Whether or not social media accounts offer your practice a positive return on the mostly-time investments required to create and maintain them depends on your goals and expectations, the quality of your posts and your level of ongoing commitment.
You and just about anyone on your team can easily set up social media accounts—and probably already have. No special skills are required to share posts, and lots of free resources are available for shared and copied-and-pasted post content.
What may be missing is a clear articulation of your business goals for social media, a well-thought-out social media policy, an editorial calendar and a detailed plan for consistently posting high-quality, relevant content and monitoring comments. Ongoing page administration and moderation require some additional knowledge and skill.
As part of the Intermediate and Full-Service Plans, once I assess the current state of your social media presence, I move forward with drafting a social media policy for your practice and, starting from where you are, develop and implement an achievable, effective social media plan that will maximize returns from your investment in social media.
Developing Your Social Media Policy
Every veterinary practice can benefit from having a clear, carefully-considered social media policy to address issues and concerns that come with publishing content online. A sound social media policy will also provide helpful guidelines to you and your team members for using social media effectively on behalf of your practice while avoiding potential complications and pitfalls.
The policy development begins with an assessment of current practices. Among the initial questions:
- What social media accounts have already been set up by the practice or its team members? Who has administrative access to each account?
- Is someone regularly posting to and monitoring all these accounts?
- Are there any still-accessible but neglected accounts?
- Are there any abandoned accounts you can find online but can’t access?
- Who, if anyone, is officially in charge of making posts to your social media accounts?
- Has anyone set up banned words for your Facebook page?
- Do you have any kind of plan or editorial calendar to guide post topics?
- Do you have policies for postings about lost and found pets and pets up for adoption?
- Do you have any guidelines for the frequency, style and content of your social media posts?
- Is anyone officially responsible for monitoring or moderating post comments?
- Do you have your team members’ explicit permission to post their photographs on clinic accounts?
- Do you routinely get the owner’s permission before photographing and posting a picture of a patient?
- Do you secure permission before photographing a client or members of a client’s family?
- Do you have a policy on publishing photographs of minor children on your social media pages?
- Do you include the patient’s and/or the client’s name or tag clients in posts?
- Do you include any details of patients’ cases in the post text?
- Do your employees post clinic-related news or commentary about your clinic on their personal profile pages?
- Have your veterinarians and team members befriended or connected with many practice clients? With each other?
- How do you respond if a client sends a friend or connection request to your personal social media account?
- How do you respond if a team member sends a friend or connection request to your personal social media account?
- How do you respond if a client sends a direct message to your personal account?
- How do you respond if a team member sends a direct message to your personal account?
- How do you respond if you see posts on team members’ personal accounts that reflect poorly on them and could potentially reflect poorly on the clinic?
- Do you use privacy settings to limit the audience for your personal account posts to specific friends and family members?
- Do you encourage team members to keep their personal posts private?
With answers to these questions in mind, I draft a social media policy for your review. Once we have made any necessary revisions and finalized the policy, I recommend presenting copies to your team and incorporating the policy into your employee manual.
Posts to Your Social Media Accounts
Although shared informational posts from industry sources have their place on your social media feeds, the most engaging posts tend to be the obviously original ones made by your own team members.
Because I work remotely, I focus my social media services primarily on strategies and tactics. My posts to your social media accounts will be limited to occasional shared industry pet health news, clinic announcements and links to pages on your website and posts on your blog.
As an account administrator, I help monitor comments and manage your social media pages and profiles.
I offer your team guidelines and coaching as needed to enable them to make effective posts originating from your practice and to do their part to maintain an ongoing social media presence to support our agreed-upon strategic plans.