Kids, it’s been a more than a month. The last few weeks have been some of the most stressful many of us have ever experienced. We’re all adapting-—at home and at work. In my own practice, it’s been a day-to-day change and rapid/forced adoption of new technologies and policies. I spent my last shift conscious not only about my distance from the tech and the client but the inevitable distraction that came when someone—anyone—so much as sniffled or cleared their throat.
And now that our teams are adjusting to a new normal—for most of us, curbside care, drop-offs, non-essential/non-elective care—many are asking “what the heck are we supposed to be posting on social media now?” Our normal strategy of crafting a mix of promoting the practice, sharing fun photos, helpful articles and the occasional meme just doesn’t seem right now. But social media is now so full of COVID-related posts making MORE of them hardly seems right either.
So, what should we be promoting on social media? Check out these ideas:
Your practice's convenience offerings
Pet owners still need food, meds and potentially, their care questions answered. Most practices have options to help in some way, and you should share these!
- Online pharmacies for pet food and med deliveries: share the link and any discount/shipping codes, or try a mock-up service like SmartMockups to create a graphic of your practice’s online store.
- Telemedicine options: share the link, webpage to schedule, or a photo of your veterinarian holding a telemedicine call.
- After-hours triage care: share the link or phone number and explain how this helps pet owners.
- Pet resources library on the practice website: share the link and explain!
- Curbside medication delivery: photos of your team handing over meds to a curbside customer.
- Answering pet owner questions via text, call or Messenger: share a few screenshots and be sure to crop/blur out any pet owner contact information. Direct them to the appropriate way to contact your practice and set the expectation on when they will receive a response.
Share how your team is helping
If your practice has donated gowns, masks or medical supplies, share a picture of the team packing it up or making the donation. If you’ve shuttered your surgery room to conserve PPE, take a picture of the dark empty room and tell the story of why your team thinks it’s important.
Support your community
If your neighboring businesses are offering new curbside, carryout or delivery options, give them some social media love by sharing it on your pages. Just this weekend I was able to order a curbside pickup kids art project kit from the craft store, a DIY pizza kit from the pizza place down the street and a carryout dinner (even beer!) from a restaurant near my clinic as they try to minimize the loss of business. These solutions and offerings are creative, supportive and frankly, a welcome distraction (especially since I don’t cook!). If your team always gets lunch or coffee from a local establishment, consider sharing a post to support them.
Your team (at home)
By now, some teams have had to cut staff or reduce hours or may even be mandated to stay-in-place. That’s ok. That means that people are safe. It’s not great for business and paychecks—I get it—but it means that people are staying safe. If your team is staying home or reducing their hours, share pictures of your team at home cuddling with their pets—this will help showcase your team. It’s also important to share the facts that pets are not going to be a source of COVID, and let’s face it—they’re basically the best part of staying home right now and essential to our mental health!
Fun & relatable content
We’re all stressed, we’re all tired, and we’re all ESPECIALLY tired of COVID. A funny meme, video or social post is OK every few days.
Two-legged kid connections
Consider supporting those with two-legged kiddos too. Many are stuck at home WITH kids, looking for things to do. My personal feed has erupted with live videos, at-home exercises, and kid-friendly online activities. If your practice is up for doing some kid-centered live videos—like a tour of the practice, a pet exam, or even reading a pet-themed story—I guarantee you this will be a hit with parents EVERYWHERE and further bond your practice to your community.
It’s a tough time to be a social media manager and this is an unprecedented experience that is continuing to evolve. Focus on your people and your practice first and worry about social media if and when you can. Hopefully, these tips will give you a few ideas for keeping your page valuable to your practice and your followers. Stay safe!
Dr. Caitlin DeWilde
Dr. Caitlin DeWilde is a practicing veterinarian graduate from the University of Illinois and is the founder of The Social DVM, a consulting firm devoted to helping veterinary professionals learn, manage and grow their social media and online reputation. She has taken on a new role as Social Media Coach at Vet2Pet working to help Vet2Pet practices with their social media strategy and goals. She can be reached at email@example.com.