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Blog - Save time managing your social media

We recently launched a new service for vets with the aim of solving an issue we see regularly in the veterinary industry. While many vets would like to be taking advantage of things like blogging and social media, finding the time required is easier said than done.

Our new service The Vet Blog Centre provides practices with regular blog articles that you can post to your blog.  You can then use those articles for things like social media content or email marketing purposes. For a small monthly subscription we will send you a new article each month, so all you need to do is publish it on your blog and share it on facebook and twitter.

As we are launching the Vet Blog Centre we thought we would also take a look at some other tips and tricks you can use to make managing your social media more efficient and save you time.

Get ahead of yourself

One simple technique is to plan ahead and batch up the work. Every time you finish one thing and start the next you will have a period of wind down and wind up time, when you are finishing up one task and preparing for the task you are about to start.  By minimising the amount you need to switch tasks and reducing the time it takes you can actually quite dramatically improve the amount you can get done.

Rather than spending time each month creating things to use for your online marketing, try and come up with material you can use over the next three months. Depending on what sort of things you are dealing with, this can save huge amounts of time. Finding a batch of images you can post on Facebook over a twelve month period is unlikely to take that much longer than finding the one image you can post now.

Use a social media dashboard

Social media dashboards like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to monitor a number of social media accounts all within one screen. Being able to see your twitter activity, facebook posts and any other accounts you use all together saves times logging on to each one individually.

Different providers have different features and benefits along with different prices but most are free or have a free option. Some also have some basic reporting features which you can use to monitor how successful your social media activity is.

Timing: Schedule your updates

There are two big advantages to being able to schedule your social media posts. The first expands on the advice about planning ahead. Using a service that allows you to schedule updates for times when you are not about allows you to setup posts in batches. This does not mean you can then ignore your social media for the rest of the time but it does mean you just have to keep an eye on it until you need to setup the next batch.

The second big advantage is that you can schedule posts to go out when they are likely to have the most impact, even if that may be in the evening when you are not there. By posting things at different times of the day you can start to work out which times are the most effective. In some cases you may even want to schedule posts to go out more than once.

One handy tool you can use to research twitter users is followerwonk. Followerwonk allows you to analyse twitter followers and can tell you a number of handy statistics including when followers are most active (great for working out the best times to tweet), which followers have the most influence, and where followers are based.


Maximise each idea

One key difference between running your own social media campaign and hiring a professional is knowing how to build and expand upon each idea.  If you are sponsoring a local event, you may think to post some pictures on facebook afterwards; but a professional will build that one thing out into a number of social media updates, blog posts and associated marketing activities.  The following table gives some ideas:

Build Up

  • Announce we are going
  • Announce we are sponsor
  • Share information about event
  • Ask who else is going
  • Say where we are going to be / when we will be there
  • Promote competitions (if any)

On Event

  • Post arrival
  • Highlight some of what is going on
  • Post pictures

Post Event

  • Post event summary
  • Post remaining pictures
  • Say thank you

Use blogging, social media and email marketing as one.

Put simply, look for ways one bit of work can be used across a number of different marketing channels. Competitions can be a great way to build a social media following, but they can also be used for a variety of other marketing methods. You can use email and print marketing to promote the competitions and write a blog post to announce the winner. You could even base the competition around someone writing a blog post for you. This extends to all areas of marketing. By using each marketing channel to support the others you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Follow other vets

Following other veterinary practices social media activity can be another great time saver. Provided they are not a competing practice in the same area there is no harm in using them as a resource, either for inspiration or even to share their posts directly. If they tweet a link to a good blog post that their followers are likely to be interested in, chances are it may interest your followers to.

Different paths to the end goal

The end goal is always to grow your customer base by building brand awareness and loyalty.  When a customers shares one of your facebook posts with their friends you are potentially getting your name in front of a number of other pet owners who may not be customers.

It is important to remember that not all paths to improved brand awareness and loyalty are that direct.  Every local area has key members of the community who will be more influential than average. Local MPs or newspaper reporters all tend to build up a strong social media following. Depending on what is going on in your area, they may well have an interest in what you have to say despite not being pet owners themselves. Building up a relationship with a local reporter on twitter for example could lead you to becoming their point of contact for any animal related news stories gaining you a wealth of free local advertising.

Share the workload

It may be that there is someone else in your practice that is more able to take on some of the social media workload. Receptionists for example are in a far better position to monitor your social media channels and respond to activity as and when required. You may find that it is far more efficient to manage the planning and directional aspects to social media but delegate the execution to one of your staff.

Every practice is different

These are just some of the general tactics you could use to make running an effective social media campaign less of a drain but remember, every practice is different and there may be many other ways to improve things which are more relevant to you. If you know of any other ways to make managing social media easier why not let us know using the comments below.

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