An effective veterinary social media strategy includes creating your own, unique content. Content can be in the form of photos, videos, blogs or any other type of medium. This media allows you to connect with your community, while telling your story. But what kind of content should your veterinary business be creating? The Ontario Veterinary College has found the answer.
The Externship Project
Starting in May, the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) began having a group of their veterinary students blog about their externship experiences. The Externship Project, as its called, highlights the mandatory externship requirement through creative, original content.
Jane Dawkins, the Marketing Communications Officer at OVC explains, “The primary goal of the project is to show future students, staff, faculty, alumni, government funding agencies and the community what goes into educating a student veterinarian and give the greater public insight into the broad range of areas veterinarians affect.”
The YouTube videos created by the students range from content about their externship practices to the interesting cases that they are experiencing. OVC student, Jodi Boyd, even documented her work with a baby raccoon through YouTube Videos. (Watch below.)
Video platforms, like YouTube or Vine, allow veterinary professionals to highlight the “behind the scenes” aspects of their day. Jodi’s post is a perfect example of this smart use of content.
Michael Brown, another OVC extern, shared a blog post about his experience with a young kitten named Smudge. (Read Michael’s blog here.) In addition to telling a story, his blog post is a fantastic example of the type of blog content that veterinary hospitals should be sharing.
[TIP] When writing a blog for your veterinary business:
- Try to include a relevant patient story
- Offer practical tips
- Include photos
Creating Social-Savvy Veterinarians
The Externship Project allows students to become comfortable with creating content for social media and internet marketing, as well as teaching them important lessons in confidentiality. As many veterinary professionals realize, it is important to get consent before sharing patients’ information on social media and other public platforms. When I spoke with Jane, she clarified that students were given guidelines about obtaining consent prior to sharing any stories. This is a very practical marketing skill that will benefit them in the future.
Making content – like blog posts and videos – is great, but it needs to be shared! OVC leads by example on this front. They utilize their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts to share their content. “We have also recently started a Google+ page (for OVC),” Jane notes, citing that it helps them to promote their YouTube videos.
The ROI of Veterinary Social Media
So is all of this work paying off for the Ontario Veterinary College? Jane explains: “The Externship Project blog currently attracts almost 10% of our individual (unique) page views of the overall OVC website. So traffic has been great. Even better, most of those visits are coming from our social networks.” While the Externship Project is just part of the many efforts OVC is making to become “social”, it is certainly a success on its own.
The Externship Project highlights how any part of the veterinary industry can leverage great content to stand out from the noise on social media. The importance of content creation has really resonated with Jane. “It has got me thinking about the concept of community and what it means to be a positive member of community, rather than just using social networks for information sharing, brand building, sales or promotions,” she says.
[RELATED: Why Your Veterinary Hospital Needs a Blog]
Become a Content King
Creating great content for your veterinary business’ social media is easier when you have great examples and helpful guidance! Check out all of the Externship Project’s fantastic content by following them in the following locations:
Want practical guidance on content creation? OVC’s Jane Dawkins took the Snout School social media crash course, which focuses on content creation and sharing. Though she had social media and marketing experience, Jane utilized the course to better understand the needs and challenges of the veterinary industry. Take this 3-part online course here.