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I'm struggling to keep up with social media, now we need a veterinary blog??!! :(

Posted in Client Service @ Mar 7th 2019 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
Im Struggling To Keep Up With Social Media Now We Need A Veterinary Blog V3 Red

"I'm struggling to keep up with all the social media forums – Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin etc, now you are suggesting we blog!!!?? :( "

This was a question I recently received from a member of our Community (thanks Oliver!) and I thought it would make a great topic for a blog post.

So, first up – sorry Oliver, but yes, I am suggesting that you blog.

However, before you decide that just isn’t going to happen, let me firstly briefly list a few reasons why I think blogging is so important, and secondly, discuss why it may not add as much extra work as you think.

1. Reasons for having a veterinary blog:

Education

Blog posts can help to put as much factual, useful information about veterinary medicine and pet care on the internet as possible to counteract the not-so-factual information.

If your clients and potential clients know that you publish lots of great information about their pets, then they’re more likely to come to you first rather than Dr Google.

Client connection

You may only see clients a couple of times a year with limited time to discuss a range of issues concerning the best care for their animals. However, each time a client reads your blog posts is an extra point of contact with them. It may not be face-to-face but it’s still helping to build your relationship and increase your expertise and trust in the eyes of your clients

Control

Publishing a regular blog post allows you to plan what information will be shared and at what time. This can help to boost quiet times, as well as inform and educate at critical times eg. Increase in ticks, etc

Ownership

You maintain complete control and ownership of the content in the blog posts you’ve written and published – unlike social media where you don't have control over who sees your posts and at any time you could even be locked out of your accounts.

The difference between your blog and your social media accounts can be likened to the difference between building your own house and renting. Your blog is the house that you've built – you can add rooms, repaint the walls and hang whatever art you want on the walls. Your social media accounts are like a rental – you can't make many changes and if the landlord thinks you're doing the wrong thing you can be kicked out!

2. But what about all the extra work if you're already struggling to find time to post on social media?

Writing and publishing blog posts go hand in hand with posting on social media. In fact, if they’re managed well, they can have quite a positive, symbiotic relationship.

Once you have written a blog post, the content can be re-purposed in a number of different ways and published on social media - and each social media post can then be linked back to your blog.

How you can use blog posts and social media together…

1. Write & publish your blog post – make sure it includes at least one good image suitable for sharing on all social media platforms.

2. Share the link to your blog post on all social media platforms in the next week.

3. Chop up your blog post into smaller servings and use to share on social media – add different images and link back to your original post.

4. Pull out statements, facts, informative snippets and share them regularly as Top Tips…

    a.  Keep an excel spreadsheet of your ‘Top Tips’ and they can be reused.

5. Instagram is all about images, but you can still add your Top Tip to an image and share on your Instagram feed.

The secret sauce is scheduling….

Managing both blogging and social media is all about planning and scheduling. You can use scheduling tools such as Buffer to schedule your social media posts in advance or Facebook to schedule posts on that platform. These allow you to plan and schedule a whole week’s worth (or even longer) of social media posts in one sitting. You can also schedule reminders and posts months in advance if necessary.

However! Scheduling doesn’t mean set & forget.

Even with posts scheduled week/s in advance you still need to check in on your social media accounts at least once a day so you can respond to comments and questions. It’s also a good idea to mix up scheduled posts with fresh posts as you come across them.

Vetanswers Veterinary Social Media Posting Calendar

Who should be responsible for blogging & social media?

It doesn’t have to be you! Just because you’re the practice owner, doesn’t mean you have to write every single blog post and share every post on social media. Get the rest of the team involved and share the load, as well as sharing the expertise within your team. If a client only ever sees you for consults, they may not realise that one of your veterinary nurses is an expert in dog behavioural issues, nutrition or training.

Planning, planning, planning…

There’s no doubt that writing blog posts takes time. Especially if each week you’re faced with a blank screen and no ideas.

You could start to keep note of interesting or common questions that clients ask you. Add a whiteboard or pin board out the back and ask your team to write up the questions they hear from clients. Answering these common or interesting questions make for great blog posts.

If you love to plan, then sit down regularly and plan out your blog posts in blocks. This allows you to decide what topics are to be published when and who is responsible for writing them. Planning ahead also means you can write a number of posts in one sitting and you can also plan for others within your team to write some as well.

Vetanswers Veterinary Blog Posting Calendar

To help with your planning, you'll find two resources from Vetanswers particularly helpful:

1. Vetanswers Veterinary Blog Posting Calendar (excel doc, updated every year) helps you to plan out what's to be written, content, author, target audience, keywords and your 'call to action'. It also includes:

  • Suggested topics for content writing for each month
  • Over 40 possible blog topics to help get you started
  • Tips for writing the all-important blog post title

2.  Veterinary Social Media Posting Calendar (excel doc, updated every year) includes suggested monthly topics and allows you to plan and coordinate your posts across all your social media channels

Click here to visit: Member Resources - Social Media and download your copy of both Calendars

 

So to me, it’s all about control.

While every veterinary practice should have a presence on social media, they’re platforms you have very little control over and sometimes it can difficult to find useful content to share. Your blog, however, is yours to do with as you wish, although if you don't share the link to your blog post on social media, it's going to be tough for clients and potential clients to find and read them.

So it really is all about making both your blog and your social media platforms work together!

Like to know more? There is a range of Vetanswers Blog Posts all about blogging….

Click here to read: Answers to your top 3 questions about blogging for your veterinary practice

This post is based on another question from a Vetanswers member about blogging and discusses: 1. How long should your blog posts be?; 2. How regularly should we publish our blog posts?; and, 3. Ok…but publish where…on what?

Click here to read: You know you've got a lot to say! Starting your veterinary blog

Still not convinced you could write a blog? Think you're not a writer or you don't have anything to talk about? This post discusses how stories win over facts and some tips on how to get started.

Click here to read: Your Veterinary Blog - The Engine Behind Your Online Presence

One point I haven't discussed above is how your blog can play an important role in developing your online presence and help with the SEO (search engine optimisation) of your website including increased visibility; improved credibility and client engagement, better SEO and positive online reputation.

Click here to read: Tasty Tips for Newbie Bloggers in the Veterinary Industry

More tips to encourage you to just start writing! Never written a blog post before and don't know where to start? You'll find tips on writing, topics and headings.

Click here to read: How to simplify your veterinary writing to suit clients & the public (Guest Post)

This post, written by Dr Meredith Crowhurst, offers great tips on how to simplify medical and health information for the public. There's no point writing a blog post if your intended audience of pet owners can't understand what you're trying to say. You'll find ten points to help you simplify your content so it's accessible for everyone.

Any questions about blogging - how and why? Just ask in the Comments section below.

Comments

Agnes Beugnon - Publisher (Australian Dog Lover) @ Mar 8th 2019 7:50am
Hi Judy, Great article and as a dog owner constantly researching the latest information on health and behavioural issues, we do notice only a handful of veterinary practices (not necessarily large ones!) consistently publishing articles that are accessible (in language and style) to the general public. If I may add, a great way of getting a lot more coverage for these blog posts is to have them republished on a third party platform like Australian Dog Lover (and soon Australian Cat Lover) which reach a wide audience and are publicised across all our social media feeds? We do the editing, source all the images and layout these stories and also include a direct link to the practice of our guest blog writers and best of all, it's free! If you're going to spend hours writing a comprehensive educational article, why not share it with the wider world? We always welcome direct contact from vets and vet behaviourists to cover a variety of topics and interested parties can reach out to us directly at publisher@australiandoglover.com Agnes Beugnon Publisher https://www.australiandoglover.com/
Judy @ Mar 8th 2019 11:16am
Thanks Agnes, I agree! Re-purposing & republishing blog posts is a great way to broaden the reach and connection with potential clients. So there's no reason why you can't publish on your own blog & then again on a 3rd partry blog such as Australian Dog Lover. I'm always happy to republish posts too from vets writing about their vet life :)

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