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Your social media managers spend time delivering great content, but are they monitoring reactions and complaints? You’re asking for trouble when you ignore pointed answers and simple questions.
Corporate client messaging on social media platforms has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two years.
Most veterinary practices have a strategic plan to post Facebook and Instagram posts, email reminders and newsletters, deploy push notifications, and send text messages. With those marketing efforts planned and executed, the responsible team members can breathe a sigh of relief, right? Yes and no. The practices that stop here are missing crucial opportunities to build lasting and loyal relationships with customers and deliver the ultimate experience.
In addition to posting content, practices should place equal emphasis on tracking the response to their digital communications (also known as social listening). Once a comment, question, or action is identified, the team member should continue with side conversations.
Take this example: your clinic posts a photo of one of your vets examining an older dog. The caption reads: “Dr. DeWilde and Toasty have just completed Toasty’s primary pet review. Senior pet exams are recommended twice a year for pets 8 years of age or older so we can spot problems before they start and puppies like Toasty are happy and healthy! “
The cute dog photo gets a few likes, shares and comments. A client asks, “How much does a senior pet exam cost?” the question remains unanswered.
The problems are twofold:
- An existing customer asked a question about a service, meaning she is interested in it for her pet, but got no response. The lack of response is noted not only by the customer but also by other visitors.
- Non-response is an opportunity for another person, with or without correct information, to respond.
The client’s question, on the other hand, could lead to an appointment. The solution is to display the price or just say, “We’ve looked at Maggie’s file and we’re emailing you with the information you need!” If you would like to make an appointment for Maggie, click here [insert link]! “
Now the public can see the practice is engaged, respond to questions promptly and personalize veterinary care. The booking link makes tracking simple and convenient.
Practices should regularly monitor feedback from pet owners in these four areas:
1. Reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp and Nextdoor
Negative reviews online usually receive the most attention from veterinary practices, eliciting not only a formal response, but concern and stress from staff as well. However, it’s just as important – in some cases more important – to acknowledge the criticisms and positive statements.
Clients who, without prompting, have good things to say about your clinic have chosen to be brand advocates. They publicly sing the praises of your practice and your team. Such a gift deserves your attention and thanks because positive online reviews boost your firm’s reputation, earn you more clients, and boost team morale.
Can you imagine giving someone a birthday present and not receiving as much as a “Thank you” or “Got it” note? Don’t falter with online reviews. Acknowledge the review with a ‘Like’, love, or ‘thank you’ response (depending on the platform) and personalize the response when possible.
2. Facebook and Instagram messages
Most veterinary surgeries update their Facebook and Instagram platforms several times a week with content like helpful articles, nice photos, and informative updates. While many comments from visitors, such as “Cute cat!” or “Great article”, do not need a response, some could be conversation or customer conversion opportunities. Questions about pricing, how to make an appointment or whether a service is recommended for a particular animal can be answered publicly or privately depending on the nature of the comment.
3. Facebook, Instagram and Google My Business messages
Corporate client messaging on social media platforms has grown in leaps and bounds over the past two years. More than 60 percent of U.S. users have message a business on the Facebook platform in a recent three-month period, the company reported. Facebook polls have shown that customers prefer the platform because of its ease of use, 24/7 accessibility, and time saving.
The average message sender expects a response within six business hours, but most businesses, in general, take nearly two days, according to HubSpot. A slow response is an opportunity for customers to go somewhere else with their business, so let a customer service representative take care of the messages on a daily basis. Use Facebook’s unified inbox to streamline Facebook and Instagram messaging. In addition to setting up notifications, practices can use third-party programs such as Front, Buffer, or Slack to organize messages and assign them to individual team members.
4. Email, text and app notifications
If your practice is sending client-wide emails, texts, or app notifications, be sure to monitor open rates and responses. As such communication is often sent through practice management software or external programs, add the platforms to your watchlist to ensure client responses do not go unnoticed.
Applaud your best fans
In an age when the veterinary industry needs more love and fewer angry customers, focus on the good by celebrating pet owners who leave great reviews and comments online in a Facebook group. neighborhood and who interact with your firm’s social media accounts. These allies probably accept your recommendations and appreciate your work. Their online advocacy builds on an already established relationship.
Greet these small wins publicly in an online response and privately by sharing with your team. If time permits, consider sending a quick thank you note or email.
How to do it
Asking your team to expand their to-do lists is never fun, especially in a COVID environment. To make social media an effective and rewarding two-way street, I have these recommendations:
- Allow enough time. Just as your social media team has time to deploy content, the need to monitor, listen, and respond should also be considered.
- Use the tools of the platform. As well as setting up notifications – turn those on for customer comments on and turn off the ones you don’t need – don’t forget to link your Facebook and Instagram inboxes, as I suggested above. By doing this, all comments, posts and reviews appear in one place on Facebook.
- Share the Facebook and Google My Business workload among multiple members of the marketing team.
- Set customers’ expectations for when they’ll receive a response, or redirect them to your preferred means of communication, such as phone or email. You can do this through the Facebook Messenger auto reply and Instagram quick reply settings.
- Pro tip: In some cases, you can teach the autoresponder to recognize keywords and craft a specific response. For example, if your practice receives a message containing the word ‘appointment’, the autoresponder may respond: “It looks like you might want to make an appointment, and we would love to see you!” Here is the link to book online while waiting for our team to receive this message. We’ll get back to you with an in-person response before the end of each business day! “
Remember that online messages can be answered offline. Especially with negative reviews or passionate comments, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to the person. Some conversations shouldn’t be public, and some questions ask for information that you don’t want the audience to do. Calling, emailing, or using a platform’s messaging feature can be the best first step. Just be sure to copy the communications to the client file so the whole team knows about past conversations.
Also sort your communications as you would your patients. This means prioritizing responses to pet owners who have a medical need, existing customers, and questions that may lead to the provision of a service or the establishment of a relationship.
The increasing use of technology and communication platforms has added items to our daily checklists. However, social media platforms offer us the opportunity to be more efficient, strategic and meaningful in our communications. Adopt all channels and use platform specific tools to make communication successful for clients and your practice.
Socially acceptable columnist Dr. Caitlin DeWilde is the founder of The Social DVM, a social media marketing company serving veterinarians. Learn more at www.thesocialdvm.com.