Let's face it. Of all the many reasons social media is a part of our society, the best one is PETS IN COSTUMES! RIGHT?! Ok, not really, but it's certainly a big plus.
October is chock full of opportunities for veterinary clinics to use, develop and grow their social media presence. In addition to Halloween and all sorts of pet costume related articles, October is also Adopt a Shelter Dog month, Pet Obesity Awareness Day, National Veterinary Technician Week and National Cat Day! What a month! For the full list of animal-related holidays, visit the AVMA's Animal Health Awareness Events list here.
So, how can you take advantage of all these great Halloween-related opportunities?
1. Host a Facebook pet costume contest.
Pets looking adorable/hilarious in costumes are the stuff of social media gold. And let's face it- your clients WANT to show off their pets in costume, so they can justify the costume cost to their significant other (speaking from experience here....). Anyway, you want to see those pics, and they want to show them off, so why not work together? Ask your clients to email in or post their pet's Halloween photos and consider sharing them throughout the month. If you're up for it, you can even host a contest and award prizes. To be honest, prize or no, people are going to like and comment these photos!
Fun ideas for contests/sharing photos:
2. Share articles about safe and fun costume ideas.
I'm sure the internet will soon be full of them, as the National Retail Federation reported an estimated 23 million people dressed up their pets in 2014. Pet costume ideas even made it on the Today show last year, so keep your eyes peeled for the most current and interesting articles. Be sure to proof read them and make sure they're not recommending any costumes that would restrict or harm pets! If you're feeling creative, you can design your own graphics-- creating your own content is often rewarded with a higher engagement online!
3. Educate your clients on Halloween season dangers for pets.
Despite being a holiday full of fun, costumes and candy, it can be legitimately scary for some pets! Be sure to remind clients of non-restrictive costumes, toxic candy and decorations, and providing pets a safe place to hide during trick-or-treating! There are lots of great articles available so you can schedule them throughout the month to spread the message. Check out fun pet Halloween safety articles and videos from Dr. Ruth MacPete, Dr. Justine Lee and Dr. Ernie Ward on PetHealthNetwork.com. ASPCA Pet Poison Control also has a great "Top 10" Halloween Pet Dangers article here, and the AVMA has a great collection of resources including articles, a podcast, and even a cool Halloween safety flyers members can download and print here. Again, creating your own content like the examples below is another fun way to add personality to valuable information from your clinic. I'll be sharing graphics like these throughout the month which you're welcome to share or use as inspiration!
4. Show off your team!
As always, I can't emphasize this enough. Your clients already like your clinic, but they want to know more about the people that care for their pets. Showing off your team's personalities and giving a "behind-the-scenes" glimpse is exactly what your followers want to see. So if your team members are dressed up for Halloween (it's on a Saturday this year, just to warn ya!), your team decorates a clinic pumpkin or the clinic cat is rocking a hilarious costume, be sure to post those pictures with pride! My clinic had several staff members dress up, and we even had one of our staff member's dog dress up like one of the vets! And of course, we decided to x-ray a pumpkin to celebrate...in case you ever wondered, here's what it looks like!
5. Jazz up your profile picture and cover photo!
Feature some of those costumed pets on your Facebook cover, and consider adding a fall/pumpkin theme to your profile pic. Carve a pumpkin with your clinic logo, or if you want to make a digital one, you can check out my pumpkin logo tutorial video here!
Have a great month, and if I can help in any way, let me know!