With the UK veterinary market worth around £2.5 billion per year, it’s little wonder why the industry is slowly being consolidated by chains.
Vets4Pets is perhaps the largest player, owned by pet supplies company Pets at Home, though other brands include Independent Vetcare, Medivet, and VetPartners.
As a result, independent veterinary practices are facing stiffer-than-ever competition on pricing, marketing, and product mix, and so anything you can do to stand out and offer a unique service will give you the best possible chance of success.
One way to forge relationships with your clients and encourage them to choose you over the corporate giants is through social media. Creating a unique brand for your business will add that personal touch in a way that multi-practice sites simply cannot. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together some social media post ideas for veterinary practices…
Cute cat and dog pictures
Let’s start with the most obvious one: social media users love cute pictures of cats and dogs.
Whether you share snaps from the internet or take pictures of your clients’ pets coming in for their routine check-ups, it’s a great way to increase engagement and grow your following.
Indeed, user-generated content is one of the most effective marketing strategies for vets. That’s because people want to see pictures of their own four-legged friend on social media; when they do, they tag their friends and family into the post, thus increasing your average post engagement and encouraging them to like your page/share it with their connections.
You should be careful not to overdo it. We recommend no more than one or two cute pet posts on Twitter and Facebook a day, or you could overwhelm your audience and push them to unfollow you. Find the right mix of UGC (or staff-generated photographs and videos) as well as some of the other social media post ideas we’ve put together for you to consider.
Tips on looking after your pet
Next up, some tips on looking after your pet. You’re an expert in looking after everything from cats and dogs to birds, tortoise, horses, and rabbits. Ask your veterinary surgeons and assistants for tips on looking after pets and share them in a weekly series. Even better if you create a fancy graphic or two to hammer home your point and create shareable content.
Infographics, for example, always go down well on social media.
65% of humans are visual learners, so breaking down a complex topic (like dietary requirements for a pregnant horse) can make your business appear authoritative and encourage people to share your stuff.
Infographics can also be reused and repurposed on other sites and on your company blog.
You can also tie in tips to seasons. Regularly remind your followers of the dangers of locking dogs in cars during the warmer summer months, as well as the dangers of chocolate for dogs during Easter and Christmas.
These tips are obvious but will be shared by pet lovers.
Memes, quotes, and relatable content always goes down well on social media and is an easy “crowd-pleaser”.
You should always try to source your own content where possible and be mindful of the fact that people are following you for different reasons. It’s easy to overdo the fun, engaging content when you’re chasing followers and growth, but you should pepper these into a wider strategy so that your business doesn’t appear too silly; after all, you’re a reputable veterinary practice, and your page should reflect your expertise and passion.
We recommend a fun post like this once per week, sprinkled between testimonials and tips on looking after a pet.
If possible, you should add your own graphics and branding to these posts so, if they do go viral, you’ll be credited and there’ll be more eyeballs on your brand.
Something else that you should regularly post about is promotions, offers, and services that you can offer.
Reminding customers that they can come to you for booster injections and specialist dog food will keep you in their minds, and running Facebook-exclusive promotions, like a free health check, will drive more sales and win over clients from rival vet practices.
Be careful, though, not to overpromote your services. You don’t want to appear desperate or lower your prices for the sake of it. Rather than specifying specific pricing or discounts, just tease followers that you’re running a “sale” on pet supplies, and they’ll be more likely to pop in and see what’s on offer. You can also tie promotions into special events, like Black Friday.
Us Brits love our pets, and that’s good for you: there’s always something in the news that you can share.
Distributing topical stories allows you to become part of the conversation, and pet owners will naturally discuss and debate controversial stories in your comments section.
Whether there’s been a spike in poisoned dogs in the local area, you’re supporting a campaign to encourage walkers to pick up their dog poo, or you share an article offering tips on separation anxiety as consumers return to work post-coronavirus, it’s easy to make your business pages the “go-to” resource for news in your local area.
Set up alerts on Google for pet-related content, and share news articles a couple of times per week whenever relevant.
Too busy to work on your own social media channels? At 99social, we offer affordable social media management services for veterinary practices from as little as £99 per month, leaving you to focus on your day job. Get in touch to find out more and get started on a campaign.