We all spend a lot of time worrying about that one negative review- how to respond to it, how it will look to clients, the stress it will inflict on us and our teams. While that concern is valid and we do need a strategy for handling negative reviews, we need to put a similar emphasis on building that library of POSITIVE reviews. Think how much stronger our reputation could be if we spent the same amount of energy eliciting positive feedback from those who do support us and will likely continue to visit and advocate for our practice!
Positive reviews are just that- positive all the way around. Not only do they help bolster our reputation and earn client trust, but they can help us attract new clients, reinforce our ideals and give us feedback on what’s working well. They can brighten our spirits and help our teams remember why we do what we do. So why are we not trying to get that information? Here are my four tips to getting more reviews.
#1 Make It EASY!
We can’t assume that our clients know that we’re on Facebook. Or Google. Or Yelp. Or that we even want reviews. We need to make it as easy as possible for our clients to GET to our review sites and as easy as possible to leave a review. Here are a few tips to make it easy for both your clients AND for you to access your reviews.
Be careful not to offer incentives for reviews, or overtly tell clients that you need more reviews. This can violate the terms of service of some platforms, especially Yelp. Leave the trail of breadcrumbs so they are prompted to and can easily share their experience.
#3 Don’t Forget About the Visual Reminders
Don’t forget about the power of a visual image. Here are some ways that simply providing signage in your hospital can increase client awareness about your review sites.
Sadly, we spend a great deal of our time and energy dealing with negative client experiences--now more than ever. Online reviews, impatient clients, COVID-precaution naysayers all leave us drained and occasionally, questioning why we do what we do. Ever the optimist, I think there are a lot of solutions. Of course, we can ignore the jerks. We can respond to positive reviews and share them with the team members. We can highlight the positive case outcome stories and the "wins" in our team meetings and in our social media channels. We can eat ALL the donuts that those unicorn clients bring in. And now, we can celebrate our Facebook "Top Fans!"
What is a Top Fan?
Top Fan badges are an optional setting on a practice's Facebook Page. Once enabled, Page followers can be eligible for a top fan badge on your Page by being one of the most active followers. This means they frequently like, react, comment, or share your Facebook posts.. Page followers who qualify for (and accept) top fan badges will have a badge next to their name on future interactions with the page, Their names will also be publicly visible on a "Top Fans" list, accessed on your Page's Community tab.
Why Should We Care About Top Fans?
These are the people who are voluntarily supporting our business online, with no incentive. They're active followers of the Page, and it's almost guaranteed that they're doing so in a positive way. They're liking our posts, they're sharing our content within their own networks, and they're supportive in the comments. Our content clearly resonates with these followers. THESE ARE OUR PEOPLE!
Best of all, these are people who are using their own networks to serve as virtual ambassadors for our practices. When I've earned "Top Fan" badges on pages I follow, it's never something I've purposely worked for-- and is more of a nice surprise. I'm happy to support them. There's no perk or monetary reward-- it's simply an online, automatic thank you from the Page.
Enabling & Identifying Top Fans
First, enable Top Fan badges in your Facebook Page Settings. Navigate to Settings > Top Fan Badges > Click On.
Next, to find who earned your Page's Top Fan designation, visit the toolbar under your practice's cover photo on a desktop, click "More," and then "Community." These users are updated automatically each week. You can review the user, the length of time they've been a Top Fan, and you can remove them if necessary.
How This Helps Us
If you simply review the names and nothing else, it's a nice way to remind yourself that there ARE good clients- clients who value the work we do both in the clinic and online. There ARE members of our communities rooting for us to succeed and thrive. We've found reviewing this alone to be a positive experience for our whole team.
In practice, we've chosen to take it a step further, and send the clients who have been Top Fans for more than a month a small thank you note a sticker, and putting a small credit on their account. We share the list of Top Fans with our team in our Slack channel each month, so all our team members know the clients that are giving their support. We're focusing on the positive, and rewarding GOOD behavior--not negative.
Check out your Top Fans, and if time allows, consider thanking them for their support in-clinic and online with a quick message, email or note in the mail, and focus on the good. Hang in there, teams!
-C. DeWilde, DVM
Social media goes way beyond the cute puppy pictures and sharing helpful articles. It has the capacity to drive business to our practices- but only if we’re leading our followers in that direction.
Here are FOUR ways you can increase your bookings:
1. Change your main page CTA button to “Book Now”
Your Page’s Call To Action (CTA) button is just below your Page’s cover photo. You can click “Add a Button” or “Edit Button.” Doing so brings up a pop-up window with options for you to choose Book Now, Contact You, Learn More, etc. Selecting “Book Now” and clicking “next” will allow you to set up appointments on Facebook and Instagram, connect another third-party scheduling tool (no veterinary ones yet) or simply add your own website address. I recommend the latter, specifically to the “book appointment” or “request appointment” link. Click “Finish” to save your changes, and consider testing the button afterward by clicking on the CTA button then “Test Button.”
2. Create a “Get Bookings” Post
Your Facebook Page gives you a free post type called “Get Bookings,” but ONLY if you’ve got the above “Book Now” Call to Action button set up for your page.
Accessing this feature is best done through Creator Studio. Click Create Post, then “Get Bookings” on the post type.
You’ll be able to add a caption as normal, but also select a new photo(s). The “Book Now” button will appear underneath. This post type is free and easy! Consider uploading a photo of your doctor or technicians with a patient, and a caption that corresponds and discusses your unique service offerings, educational reasons behind a veterinary visit, highlights a success story or simply features your practice and team. These post types take up more space in the news feed and easily direct your viewers to the appointment booking link!
3. Add Call-To-Action statements and/or direct booking links to your social posts.
Far too often, we share phenomenal photos, graphics, educational posts and best of all-- posts that tell a story-- but don’t tell the owner how THEY could have this same experience, or give them the tools to make it happen conveniently. The majority of original posts made by the clinic could end with a directive statement and/or link that facilitates booking.
While none of us yearn to be sleazy or salesy with constant barking at owners to book an appointment (see what I did there?), we have to remember that we’re using social media to help pet owners understand the value of the care we provide and to support our practice as a business. Help meet both of these goals by regularly directing your clients toward your goal, and making it easy for them to book an appointment to your practice with a clickable link! Don’t assume that your post will inspire an owner enough to a) stop scrolling b) leave Facebook c) open an internet browser d) navigate to your clinic website and e) find the information to call or book an appointment online. Save them FIVE steps and include the direct booking link.
For instance, if you’re sharing a photo of a senior pet who came in for a semi-annual wellness exam and describing the whats and whys of a senior pet exam, end the post with a statement like: “Does your senior pup need a checkup? Our doctors recommend exams for pets eight and older twice a year! Book your pet’s semi-annual wellness exam here: yourveterinaryclinic.com/book.”
Yadi came in for his first puppy checkup today! Dr. DeWilde loved cuddling this adorable face, and we also helped get Yadi off on his best paw forward by checking him from nose to tail, working with his owners and previous records to determine a preventative health plan including vaccines, heartworm, flea and tick prevention, and even checked his stool sample to make sure no creepy crawlies could come between him and his new family.
If you’ve got a new pup that needs the same love and attention, we’re here to help!
Book your appointment here: yourveterinaryclinic.com/book.
4. Ads & Boosts
Ads and boosts (a type of ads) are easy ways to drive more online bookings for as little as $1/day. Running an ad and/or a boosted post through your Facebook page will give you the ability to add the “Book Now” button into your post (and take up some more real estate in the newsfeed), target the content you choose directly toward your audience, and have your content appear in locations outside of the newsfeed (on Facebook, Instagram, and even some of Facebook’s other owned properties--other apps and sites known as the Audience Network). Ads in particular don’t require a great social media post with lots of text and can be more direct: a simple photo with the statement of “Book Your Pet’s Appointment Today” targeted to pet owners in your area will suffice. If you haven’t tried an ad, start small and experiment with a $5-10 budget for a week. You just need a great photo and your online booking URL to get started.
Similarly, if you’ve got a great post that directs owners to book (like one of the ones described above), consider giving it a little oomph by boosting that post. Don’t forget to edit your audience to target pet owners in your geographic area for best results.
Each of these booking methods can help direct more traffic into your practice and give you the opportunity to help more pets. Whether your budget is $0 or $1000, you simply need a good photo, a good story, and a link to your booking page.
Get to booking!
Caitlin DeWilde, DVM
If your practice's Facebook Page has less than 100,000 likes, you can invite people who react to your Page's posts to like your Page.
This is a great way to organically grow your Page's followers, since it's possible that clients may have liked your post but not your Page...and we want them to see your future content too!
The caveat here is to remember- focus on quality > quantity. It's almost always better to focus on reaching clients- existing and potential. Occasionally, a post will go viral or get reach outside your geographic area. While it's great for an engagement bump, these aren't great long-term Page followers. They're unlikely to engage with future posts-- particularly those that promote your practice and it's services, so in effect can downgrade your page engagement. It would be much better to build the page of followers in your local area that will be clients.
However, inviting Facebook followers is a quick, easy and FREE way to grow your Page followers. The process will show the person's name, so you may recognize some existing clients. Further, you can often click or hover on the person's profile so you can confirm if they're local to your practice. Here's how:
To invite people who react to your Page's posts:
A key step in claiming and personalizing your Facebook Business Page, as well as creating a unified brand identity, is claiming your Facebook handle, also known as a vanity URL.
This handle will allow your Page’s web address to be customized. Instead of the default jumble of numbers and letters like facebook.com/alkjsdlfkjwelkrjlkjf13lkj234, you’ll be able to direct your viewers to facebook.com/yourveterinaryclinic.
To customize, you’ll need to be an admin on your practice’s Facebook Page. This process is easiest done on a desktop, where you’ll
Having trouble? Check out Facebook’s username guidelines here, or shoot us an email!
-The Social DVM Team
Can you believe nearly 85% of mobile users watch social media videos with the sound OFF? Truthfully, I can. I almost never have my sound on- I’m always worried about my phone going off in an exam room or waking up a kiddo at home. It’s just easier for to leave the phone’s sound off.
Consider this stat along with the facts that:
1) videos are the preferred social media content (from the perspective of users and algorithms alike) and
2) we have just a few short seconds to capture our viewer’s attention.
Combined, these reasons make captioning your videos a worthy investment of time and in some cases, money. Captions are a great way to improve the length of watch time as well as getting your viewer to understand your message.
Even on image-heavy Instagram, captions can increase view time by 12%.
Adding captions sounds hard, but really can be done in just a few steps. Here’s the roundup of the platforms and options:
A quick note about file type: I had never heard of an .SRT file (SubRip file type) before I started captioning videos, so don’t feel bad if you hadn’t either!
Unfortunately, the only way to include subtitles on your Instagram videos is to have them be a part of the original file. There are a few apps that can help with this, or traditional video editing software like Adobe Premier Pro.
The Social DVM Team