For the past couple of years the veterinary industry has been diligently focused on attracting more vets rather than new clients to their practices. After all, when there’s a national shortage of skilled veterinarians, who needs more clients?
Times are changing however. In recent months my clients are telling me that bookings are dropping and their schedules have open appointments for the first time in years. Furthermore, pet owners are actively price shopping local vet clinics to compare the best deals without considering the differences between the services offered at one clinic versus another.
So, why is social media so important and what should you be doing about it?
Why Your Social Media Plan is More Critical Than Ever
Rising housing costs, inflation and rising prices and stagnant wages have left individuals and households with financial struggles, increasing debt and a limited disposable income. Early indicators show that pet owners are reducing their expenditure on ‘non-essential’ items such as toys, treats and even premium foods (in favour of supermarket brands). As household budgets tighten, vaccinations are deferred and that dental scale and polish will just have to wait. An unexpected medical emergency or chronic health condition can throw a serious spanner in the works for pet owners who are already trying to cut costs.
Build Authenticity and Trust
Let followers know that you understand by crafting relevant and empathetic content that addresses financial struggles and offers solutions. Balance promotional and informative content (I use the 80/20 rule – 80% informative / entertaining, 20% promotional) and highlight your cost-saving strategies to navigate potential backlash or criticism about pricing.
Highlight cost-saving strategies
- Promote cost-effective products or services such as special offers, pet insurance and payment plans.
- When responding to pricing queries on Facebook and Instagram, take the opportunity to differentiate your services and justify your prices. (e.g. our desexing procedures include fluids, pain relief and an e-collar.)
- Include a strong Call to Action in your posts. Invite your client to make a booking by creating urgency (i.e. explain the incremental costs incurred by delaying treatment)
By adapting your social media plan to evolving economic conditions, your clients (and potential clients) will know that you are actively listening to their concerns and taking steps to mitigate the impact of veterinary costs on household budgets.
My previous blog has ideas to help you monetise your social media accounts, so include some of these initiatives in your plan to help minimise costs to your practice.
The Cost of Social Media for Vets
Vet practices will also need to be reviewing and adjusting their costs of doing business. Clients expect to see you on social media, that’s a given. So what is it costing your practice?
It can take up to 8 hours per week for a vet nurse or Practice Manager to:
- Plan content that is in line with your marketing plan and meets your business objectives.
- Write content
- Create artwork
- Schedule posts
- Monitor reactions and comments
- Respond to messages and enquiries
At an average rate of $31 per hour, having a vet nurse manage your social media is costing you around $250 per week. Yikes!
Would you prefer your qualified nurses to be posting on Instagram, or attending to patients, conducting nurse consults and following up on overdue reminders? If so, you may want to consider outsourcing your social media management to an industry expert (yes, me!) at a much lower cost.
EOFY Social Media Kickstarter Pack
The cost of living crisis is beginning to bite harder than a heeler on a Kong toy and pet owners are shopping around for the best vet deals. To help veterinary practices get a jump on their social media planning I am offering a generous package to new clients during the months of May and June.
My EOFY Social Media Kickstarter Pack includes:
- A complete social media and marketing health check valued at $100
- 1 x pet care blog article valued at $25
- $50 discount on your first month of social media services
(Note: if you are a Lincoln Institute member, your first month is FREE!)
If you’re ready to level up your marketing and social media content, contact me now.
I hope that this information helps you to get a preemptive jump on your marketing plans for 2023/24. If you have any other suggestions that have worked for your practice, please share them with me. I always welcome feedback!