As I’ve gotten more involved in social media within our veterinary community, I’ve noticed how some people do it very well, and some do it very poorly. And some point out which is which. One of the best accounts on Twitter for doing the latter is @DanielleSnout, which is the handle of Danielle K. Lambert, a veterinary social media coach who’s also a practice manager at Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital in Danielson, CT.
While I’ve been following her work for months now, one tweet in particular caught my attention recently, enough so that I asked Danielle to expand from Twitter’s 140 characters and be part of my “Three Questions for … ” feature.
On Twitter recently you said you think it’s best that veterinary practices do their own social media. Why do you think so?
Social media is inherently about being social and connecting with your clients. You wouldn’t pay someone to make your friends in real life, so you shouldn’t try to have someone do that for your online. Additionally, I see social media as a big portion of customer service and client education. As a practice manager, I really value those two things. They are not aspects of my veterinary hospital that I feel comfortable outsourcing. Imagine if you left educating a new puppy owner in the exam room to some stranger that said they knew about canine health issues? That would be so bizarre! It’s all about putting your personal spin on it so that your social media bonds people to your practice, just as your real-life interactions do. Social media doesn’t have to be hard, provided you just take a little time to educate yourself. I have 5 must-have social media tools that any practice starting to manage their social media needs at SnoutSchool.com/Tools.
What skills should practice owners or managers look for in choosing their in-house social media manager?
The best social media manager is someone who loves to learn and adapt. Social media changes so fast, so you need someone who will be willing to change and grow with it. I’ve had a lot of my veterinary industry clients choose to work with me because I like to “tinker” with social media, smartphone apps and other technology. I think that same excitedly curious personality is what you want for your veterinary hospital’s social media manager.
What is the biggest mistake veterinary practices make in setting up and using their Facebook and Twitter accounts?
The absolute biggest mistake I see is not sharing your own content. By content, I mean photos, videos, blogs, etc. We work in such an interesting field, and you’re missing the chance to communicate, educate and connect when you share a bunch of generic memes and articles from random sources. The first thing I teach in my flagship online course is creating content. We spend a full hour on it because I find it that critical. Additionally, it is important to respect the fact that Facebook and Twitter are different. Each social media platform is like a distinct species with qualities that make each unique. You can’t post the same exact stuff to Facebook and Twitter and expect it to succeed, just as you can’t expect your cat to swim like your dog. (Sidenote: If your cat does like to swim, you should probably put a video of that on every social media platform you use.)
Bonus question: Why “snout”?
I have a goofy personality, so I couldn’t pretend to be a buttoned-up, uber-professional type of consultant. For some people, that works because it is how they’re most comfortable. In my case, however, I knew I wanted a fun brand. My mom thinks the word “snout” is hilarious, and it just so happens that all kinds of veterinary professionals work with all kinds of snouts! With that fun spirit in mind, Snout School was created.
Of course, you can find Danielle all over social media. Here’s where:
- Twitter: @DanielleSnout
- Instagram: @DanielleSnout
- Periscope: @DanielleSnout
- Facebook: Facebook.com/SnoutSchool
- Pinterest: Pinterest.com/SnoutSchool
I found her use of Pinterest especially interesting, and as a new member of Periscope (@NationwideDVM), I’m interested in following what she’ll be doing there, too. And don’t forget that we have some “fully-vetted” content that’s designed for social media, free for the taking in our Pet HealthZone and also in our digital media kit. Because sometimes you really do need a little help with your content!