The information offered in this post was provided by Bill Schroeder, a founding owner of InTouch Practice Communications, and Jessica Vogelsang, better known as Dr. V from the blog Pawcurious, in a session at the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) 2013 conference. The session was presented as part of a strategic alliance between AAHA and BlogPaws and offered 25 ways to increase engagement and broaden your social media reach.
We offered five ideas in each of the last three posts. Today we’ll finish up the series with five more ideas. Some of these ideas will be specific to a veterinary practice but many will work in any animal-related business.
As previously, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to implement all of these ideas to be successful. Rather choose one or two of the ideas that appeal to you and that fit with your practice style and try them. Here we go:
- Create a trivia challenge in which your readers guess the breed or type of animal from an unusual perspective such as a closeup picture of a nose, an image of the animal’s fur, a photo of a tail, or by listing traits specific to a certain breed. I’ve seen these types of challenges offered on other websites and blogs or through Facebook. Though I’ve never run a challenge like this myself, I have participated in them and they can be a lot of fun.
- Ask your clients to complete a survey after each visit to your practice. This allows you to get feedback from your clients and to make changes in your practice as necessary to satisfy your clients needs. These surveys can also be a great source for testimonials. Keep the survey short, no more than 7 questions according to Bill. Multiple choice or yes/no questions are easiest for clients to complete. Or you can ask clients to grade your practice in specific areas on a scale of 1-5 or something similar. Sites such as Survey Monkey make these types of surveys easy to set up and the results can be kept confidential and anonymous if a client prefers.
- Create a “mascot” for your practice and let your clients take your “mascot” on vacation with them. Flat pets work well for this. Encourage your clients to take and post photos of your “mascot” visiting various sites and participating in family vacations. After taking a tour of the National Mall in Washington with a group of people with their own flat pets, I can attest to the popularity of this activity. I now have my own flat pet (my cat Midge) that travels with me when I’m on vacation or attending a social media conference. This is an activity your clients will enjoy. It is unique and quirky. And it can provide great publicity for your practice when/if your clients post your “mascot” on their own social media channels along with a mention of your business.
- Another unique and fun thing that you can do for your practice is creating a book club. Choose a pet-related book, discuss the individual chapters on your blog, and then have an end of book party in your practice. This type of activity can not only be fun for your clients but it can be educational too depending on what books you choose.
- A scavenger hunt is another activity that can be a great practice builder and get a lot of attention online. You can involve the local media in your scavenger hunt and even partner with local shelters or other businesses in your area. Start the scavenger hunt at your practice where the participants will get a clue that will lead them to the next location in the hunt. You could require check-in via Facebook in order to collect the next clue, ask a question which the participant must answer via Facebook or another social media channel, or provide the clue via a QR code posted in your reception area. Have a staff member positioned at each stop in the hunt and offer a prize at the end of the hunt. If more than one business is participating, each business could contribute a prize. I’ve never tried this but it sounds like it would be a fun project for everyone involved although it would take some planning and coordination to pull it off successfully.