As you all know - I am an office manager at a veterinary clinic. I am passionate about our clinic and even more passionate about my role in managing it. I have a lot of responsibilities and wear many hats as manager but one of the hats I wear is the "marketing" one.
Because we are a small practice in a somewhat still rural area we don't have tons of funds allocated to marketing; however, it is still something I know to be valuable and important for attracting new clientele.
Several months back, in my peer group of office managers we discussed ways to market our practices in an affordable way. As I'm sure you can imagine, Facebook was one of the things mentioned and they had a ton of ideas on how to creatively use your clinic Facebook page...one clinic's office cat even had a page. Seriously!
I was resistant to creating a clinic page because I myself am not on Facebook and opening up that avenue (not knowing much about it) made me a little nervous. Enter this past months Journal of Veterinary Medicine article regarding having a social network presence in order to communicate more effectively with existing clients as well as appealing to prospective new clients. On the heels of that article came a study done by Bayer Animal Health stating that annual client visits are dropping and most practitioners aren't aware. The study encouraged each practice to do an "inventory" of their client visits which we did and our numbers were in support of the study. So...it kind of was "HIGH TIME" if you will for me to "manage" this need to increase client visits and ensure our current clientele knows how valuable they are to us.
Obviously I wanted to make sure that we did this correctly and as such I ordered a book written by an Office Manager called "Social Media for Veterinary Professionals". Yes people - there is such a book. It is a good book too - I devoured it in one day!
The Author, Brenda Tassava stated the following in one of the early pages of her book: You need to spend some time using Facebook on a personal level before attempting to manage a business profile for your practice. You will need to get used to common social media etiquette and spend several weeks, if not months simply observing, listening, and conversing on a personal level before taking it to the next level. Search out other veterinary practices and "like" these pages in order to stream them into your newsfeed. Search for your local animal shelters, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Associations, and even your state's medical association. You will find most, if not all to already have a presence on Facebook. Search for friends and family members and build your list of Facebook friends, interacting with people with whom you already have relationships before striking them up with existing and potential clients. The more you "practice" social media, the better you will become at communicating in this venue."
So...as a result, I officially have a Facebook page people! Now, I would like to address the fact that the reason I was not on Facebook prior to now (personally) was simply because I feared I would not have the time to allocate to it. Would it take me away from my kiddos, would I get too wrapped up in others lives, etc. etc. I can't say yet whether or not those things will occur. I can say that I've gotten a lot of good advice from those who have gone before me which pretty much includes EVERYONE aside from two of my three sisters. So...that's a lot of great advice! Furthermore, to not explore this avenue on a professional level for my clinic is kind of neglecting a potentially very valuable means of communication between us and our clients. It's truthfully an added bonus that I'll actually see pictures of my friends kids now and get to connect with people I've not talked to in ages. I'll know when everyone else knows now that my child's daycare closes due to inclement weather and I'll even be more up to date on my Mom's group happenings and church goings on. It is a MAJOR means of communication anymore - it cannot be denied. To be completely candid, it was getting harder and harder to not be a member. So..for those of you who have said to me "whatever you gotta tell yourself, you're using this whole work/marketing thing as an excuse to finally join the rest of us": well, it surely was a catalyst, you're right about that.
I'm already totally overwhelmed but I'm sure it'll get easier the more familiar I get with it. So...if we aren't already: let's be friends!