Thursday, November 21, 2013

1201. Social media veterinary - books for vets

Book Review: Social Media for Veterinary Professionals Rating 5 Star Rating

The Bottom Line

This quick-to-read unassuming book is a must have road map for veterinary practices looking to start or enhance their web presence. Brenda Tassava provides excellent insight on the art and skill of engaging with clients and other veterinary professionals using social media.
This book also provides concrete step-by-step tips for setting up and managing social media within a practice; setting up guidelines for employee duties and responsibilities as they pertain to representing the practice in various online venues.


  • Excellent coverage of social media topics relevant to veterinary practices.
  • Helpful legal information and examples of how to handle client confidentiality.
  • Useful glossary and resources at the end of the book.
  • A quick read that is a good "handout" manual to share with staff.
  • Good social media marketing and time management tips for busy practices.


  • Some of the early pages are jargon-heavy for people new to social media, but info is covered later.


  • A concise guide for veterinary practices looking to start getting involved or improve their online presence.
  • Learn the lingo of Facebook and Twitter - RTs, likes, hastags, and so on throughout the book and in the glossary.
  • Learn how to guide and educate your staff to be the "voice" of your practice online and time management tips for these tasks.

Guide Review - Book Review: Social Media for Veterinary Professionals

At first glance, this is an unassuming little book. The cover didn't grab me and the title, while descriptive and a topic I am interested in, didn't have me tearing open the cover.
But don't let these things stop you. This book is a gem.
This book, authored by veterinary practice manager Brenda Tassava CVPM CVJ, guides you in the process of getting your practice online, engaging with current clients and learning how to attract new clients to your practice via the Internet.
I am on the Internet all of the time and regularly use Facebook and Twitter. I found this book to be an excellent guide, covering many aspects of practice web sites and social media sites, but it was a bit jargon-heavy in a few spots if you are not already on or familiar with social media. However, a few pages later, the basics of Facebook and Twitter were covered in good detail. Readers will also find the glossary and appendices at the back of the book to be a useful learning guide and reference if basic definitions are needed.
This book is not a how-to guide for setting up social media IDs on sites such as Facebook - they change too rapidly for info to remain current. The author does give good guidance about setting up a Facebook profile page (personal page) first and then a 'fan' page as the business page. This is confusing to many people.
Educating the entire staff - doctors, practice managers, receptionists and techs - about the goals and vision of the practice online presence is a theme throughout the book, with many good insights and tips. I was glad to see that "transparency," being who you are and being genuine in your interactions, was discussed throughout the book, with tips to ensure good honest communication while also appreciating client confidentiality. Client (and staff) confidentiality are important issues, and this topic is addressed near the end of the book. Learn ways to handle and manage legal permissions to use photos and present case information online using a best practices approach.
Whether you are online or not, your clients are. And they are talking about your practice. This book is a great way to get started "monitoring your brand" online and interacting with clients and colleagues.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM
Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM Veterinary Medicine

Social media is an essential tool for many of today’s businesses, including veterinary practices, because it can be an efficient, cost-effective way to reach current and prospective clients at their homes or work. However, like any outreach initiative, social media must be well thought out with a plan of execution and schedule of activity.
In her book, The Social Media Business Equation,1 Eve Mayer Orsburn presents a formula (see Social Media Formula for Success) that any business, your practice included, can follow to get a good return on investment in social media.

Veterinary Team Brief spoke with Robin Brogdan, MA, of BluePrints Veterinary Marketing Group about the ways veterinary practices can use this formula to begin building a strong social media foundation.


Brogdan says: As Orsburn writes in her book,1 social media is the new way to communicate. The challenge is not mastering the technology―it is mastering the art of education. Through social media like Facebook and Twitter, or review sites such as Yelp, veterinary clients can say directly what they think about a practice and give the practice’s team members an opportunity to establish credibility and build confidence. Interaction also means engagement; examples include a Facebook contest, asking clients to post, responding quickly to a question or statement, or requesting help on Twitter to find a lost pet.


A chuckle, a relatable moment, a touching story—these small interruptions are typically welcomed and appreciated. The key is not to overwhelm with too many posts, but instead to communicate in a measured manner, interspersed with other types of content for balance. In a practice newsletter, devoting a small amount of space to a funny quote, photo, or comic strip adds an element of fun to an otherwise serious or educational publication. On a website, use humor or clever language (where appropriate) to familiarize the audience with the practice and reflect the experience team members provide clients and their pets. The use of visuals, especially photos or videos, offers an ideal opportunity to entertain.


The speed of the Internet via email or social media can get important and time-sensitive information (eg, product recall, danger alert) out to an audience within minutes—think Amber Alert. But Facebook, YouTube, and other websites can also provide education in the form of instructional videos and email campaigns. The key is to provide information that is relevant and desirable to clients, with a specific focus on how it will benefit them and their pets.


To build a relationship with clients, 80% of a social media program should be used to interact with, entertain, and educate them.1 Also, do not be timid about converting social media relationships into business partnerships, including such tasks as scheduling appointments, buying products, or refilling prescriptions. Sometimes these “calls to action” can make suggestions that the client should call, visit the practice, submit a comment, or pass the information on to a friend, thus answering the “so what?” factor. Such suggestions are an opportunity to direct clients to take action so that they benefit from the information.

Overall, the various social media outlets provide a wealth of options to engage with clients, educate them, and connect with those most likely to use the practice’s services. Social media can be a truly effective marketing tool if used consistently and thoughtfully.


Suggested Reading
The Social Media Business Equation: Using Online Connections to Build Your Bottom Line.  Orsburn EM—Boston: Cengage Learning, 2012.

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