National Pet ID Week is April 20-26, 2014, and offers a great opportunity to educate clients about the importance of pet identification. In addition, your clinic can benefit by encouraging identification to decrease lost pets, promoting microchip services and connecting with your clients who are already doing a great job of keeping their pet safe. This blog will share some ideas, tips and graphics you can use to launch your message on social media. You can save the images directly from here, or check them out on my Pinterest page for direct download and sharing as well. Happy educating!
--Caitlin DeWilde, DVM
The Social DVM
10. Post pictures of pets with great identification
This can be a quick and easy pic to post on your Facebook page, or even incorporate images into your Facebook cover photo for National Pet ID Week!
ID Tags: An easy task you can accomplish right now with your smartphone is to take a picture of the clinic cat or your own pooch wearing their ID tag. Showing your clients that the pets you personally care for are properly identified can go a long way toward demonstrating how important pet IDs are.
ID Collars/Harnesses: For pets who are already microchipped and/or owners who hate jangling tags, remind them that a visual form of identification is still recommended! Show off a pet wearing an embroidered harness, collar or leash! We asked a client to share a picture of their pet's collar, which has the pet name and owner phone number embroidered.
Share Where to Find: If possible, highlight a local business or pet store in town that offers this service. Not only will you be sharing information with clients on how to get these products, but you'll demonstrate your involvement in the community and build on a relationship with a business likely to refer clients your way.
9. Demonstrate scanning a microchip
This is an easy one! Use your clinic pet or a staff member's pooch. If you're tech-friendly, a quick 10-second or less video shared on your social media pages can demonstrate how quickly and easily a pet can be identified. A photo collage showing off the procedure, scan result and pet's tag is also a great way to visually share this information.
8. Post a picture of a microchip on X-ray
We've all heard clients quickly jump to the glowing white alien-bot I mean microchip on radiographs while we're just trying to show them heart size or evidence of foreign body. Seeing the microchip on radiographs is an interesting/cool factoid, plus educates clients on placement.
Post the picture on your Facebook page with the microchip circled, and ask clients to identify it. Offer a prize (I usually go with a free nail trim) or a virtual high five for the first person to correctly identify. Schedule a post for later that day with the same picture labeled to identify the microchip. Getting your clients to post and interact with your page will boost your visibility and increase your overall engagement! Feel free to use this radiograph if you'd like!
7. Share a resource
While sharing an information piece can be a link to a microchip article, success story, or manufacturer website, we like to share the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool at www.petmicrochiplookup.org.
This site should be of value to your clients whether or not they received their pet's microchip at your office. While adopted and rehomed pets may come to their current owners already microchipped, they may have forgotten to pack their paperwork. Owner not sure what brand of microchip their pet has? No problem. Type in the code and the website will identify the manufacturer and provide their contact information/next steps. It's also a nice tool for veterinarians and shelters!
6. Offer a microchip or ID tag promotion
Run a promotion on microchipping services (e.g. $10 off, free registration, etc.) This is a win-win for everyone! Depending on your microchip manufacturer, they might be willing to partner for a "Chip Clinic" event to quickly and easily microchip a large number of pets. If you partner with a company for ID tags or create them in house, consider offering a free tag to new pets during Pet ID week, or a similar discount.
5. Demonstrate the microchipping procedure
Use photos and/or video to illustrate the process. You may be concerned about making people squeamish, but you're more likely to educate about how simple the procedure is. Besides, a You Tube search of "microchip dog" turned up 15,200 videos. Make sure what your clients are viewing a reputable video (your own)! If you're not up for the videography challenge, check out these links for two popular microchip manufacturer demonstrations.
4. Reward Properly Identified Pets
A perfect example of positive reinforcement. Offer a free nail trim or ear cleaning to appointments during the week that come in wearing a name tag with the proper info! Bonus points if they also have a microchip. Then, share their picture, their story and what you did on your social media. Example: post a picture like the one to the left. You could say "Maple came in today for her yearly exam and showed off her cool ID tag! Since this pooch is wearing her tag AND let us scan her microchip, we gave her a free nail trim and some extra treats in honor of National Pet ID Week!"
This is a nice gesture to your existing clients, plus compliments them on a job well done. Furthermore, it spreads your message on social media and is yet another excuse to post cute dog and cat photos. Win-Win-Win.
3. Share a Success Story
Sharing a success story belonging to one of your clients or staff members- or finding one online to share is a heartwarming way to educate with a personal touch.
If your clinic doesn't have any personal reunion stories as a result of a microchip or other identification, ask your clients in person or on your social media -- they love to tell stories about their pets, especially to their veterinarian! If that doesn't work, visit the website of your favorite microchip manufacturer. A recent search of the top microchip providers revealed plenty of great reunion stories.
Check out the examples below. On the left is a Facebook post detailing the reunion of an escaped cat- found six months later and six miles away! On the right, a local lost dog whose info had previously been shared on the clinic Facebook page was found. He was identified by an embroidered collar and promptly returned to a grateful family. The clinic posted news of their reunion and a photo of the pooch with his owner in the clinic after his exam deemed him healthy. That post alone earned more than 3,200 views! For a clinic in a town of 10,000, that's great exposure!
2. Remind clients to verify contact info.
We're all guilty of neglecting this. A move down the road or across the country can be a nightmare in terms of paperwork. Changing addresses and phone numbers is easy to remember when it means you might not have electricity, but there's no prompt to remind owners to update their microchip registration info.
Sharing this graphic or other visual reminders may trigger that to-do list item for a client who has recently moved. Remind your front desk staff to ask anyone who changes their address with the clinic to remind them, or better yet, help them update it with the microchip company too. Depending on the company and associated plans, a small charge may be involved, but the process can often be done online. Having your staff familiar with your microchip partner and their process can save time and provide a valuable service to your clients.
1. Educate owners about the benefits!
Microchipping is a no-brainer, and a great service to promote because everyone-- pet, owner, and veterinarian-- benefits. The costs and risks are low, while benefits are permanent and have the potential to save lives. Educating clients about lost pet statistics and microchip successes can help increase awareness and keep pets safe.
Some tips for educating in your clinic:
Tips for educating on your social media: