Social distancing is continuing for longer than most of us expected. Between the masks covering our faces and the fact that many veterinary practices are continuing curbside service, veterinarians may feel it’s more difficult than ever to connect with clients the way they did before the pandemic. The solution to this trust and relationship-building challenge may require some creativity and adopting of new technologies.
In this 5-part series, we’ll cover a few ways to bond and communicate with clients even if you can’t see them in person. For today’s topic, we’ll explore telemedicine and how it may fit into (and benefit) a busy veterinary practice.
Part 4: YouTube
YouTube is a HUGE search engine, second only to Google. With 2.3 billion users worldwide, YouTube is also the second most popular social network after Facebook.
That means YouTube can help clients find your practice online and learn more about your hospital and team. This is valuable for starting a new client relationship—and especially valuable during social distancing. Since clients may need to wait in their cars rather than coming inside the practice and meeting everyone face-to-face, YouTube videos give clients a “behind the scenes” look into what a veterinary practice is like and how caring the team is. Try the simple tips listed below to get started and reap the benefits of YouTube marketing.
Keep Things Simple In the Beginning: Start With Realistic Goals and Equipment You Already Own
Even if a veterinarian or practice manager understands the value of YouTube, they often don’t know where to start or whether they need to buy a high-end camera, take a videography course, or hire a professional. These things could be done, but fortunately, this sort of time and financial investment is often not necessary, especially in the beginning. The most important thing is just to get started!
Here are a few steps for starting a new YouTube channel for a veterinary practice:
- Gain familiarity with YouTube. Set up a channel for the practice, then spend a little time becoming comfortable with basic functions such as posting a video, adding tags (keywords that help people find the video by searching), and selecting a fun image for the thumbnail (the picture people see and click on in order to watch the video).
- Create a schedule that works for your practice, such as a new video once per week or once per month.
- Use a smartphone or a camera you already own. Many smartphones have excellent cameras that are more than enough for a YouTube video, so don’t feel the need to run out and invest in expensive equipment right away.
- Share the videos you create. In addition to uploading videos on YouTube, get more mileage by posting videos to social media and adding a few favorites to the practice website.
- Keep it short. There’s usually no need to create 20-minute videos. 1-5 minutes is fine for most topics and is just enough to hold a viewer’s attention span.
- Make the information of a general nature, not direct medical advice. It’s good to include a disclaimer in the video description to this effect, too.
- Brainstorm a list of topics and video ideas (see below).
Ideas for Videos
Sometimes, the most challenging part of starting a YouTube channel is deciding what the videos should be about. By having a “Master Idea List” on hand, it will be easier to create videos, and less likely that the veterinary team would run out of ideas. Here are a few ideas to get you started…
- Behind the scenes videos. It may be helpful to potential clients (and fun for your team to create) to have a greeting video that introduces everyone or gives a short video tour of the hospital. You could also include a video that walks a client through the process of their first visit and what to expect.
- Instructional videos. A few examples include: how to clean a pet’s ears, how to give a pill to a cat, how to administer a dog’s eye medications, etc. In addition to gaining publicity for the practice (since clients who find the videos helpful may share them with pet-owning friends), instructional videos can also help improve client compliance by providing clarity and guidance.
- Informational videos. Any content that could potentially go into a blog post or newsletter—for example, information on local parasites, seasonal or holiday safety for pets, human foods to avoid, how to recognize a seizure in pets, reviews of pet products/toys, interviews with local veterinary specialists, etc.—could also make an engaging video.
- Fun videos. Consider topics such as interesting facts about dogs or cats, the team sharing reasons why they love working with animals, a featured “pet of the week,” or amazing stories of pets overcoming illness or finding their forever home (with the client’s permission, of course). Think anything interesting, heartwarming, cute, or funny for this category.
- Updates to the veterinary practice. Share a video introducing a new team member, featuring a new product or service and how it will help pets, and any changes to the practice such as implementing Fear Free or Cat Friendly standards.
You can also search for other veterinary practices to see which types of videos they’re posting and which have the most views. Never copy the content or script, but it’s okay to use these videos as inspiration for your own topics.
The popularity of videos only seems to be growing and growing. YouTube is a huge platform that can benefit any business by boosting their appearance in online search results and helping to build a bond with new and current clients. As such, YouTube can be a worthwhile investment for veterinary practices, and videos may help nurture client connections during social distancing. To get started, try the simple tips listed above.
Editor’s Note: YouTube is a way to use technology to improve patient care, by providing clients with valuable information and instructions. Another technology that can be HUGELY BENEFICIAL to patient care is teleradiology, which provides a virtual consult with an x-ray specialist to help confirm radiographic diagnoses, including rapid consultations available for emergency cases.