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Posted on 07-24-2017
Social media is one the most important marketing channels for businesses and your practice’s social media presence is just as important as your website in the eyes of your patients. According to a study by Accenture, millennials make up nearly 80 million people in the U.S. and spend close to 600 billion per year. It’s no wonder brands have begun to change their online marketing strategies to target millennials — the potential business is too great to miss out on.
Millennials are more active on social media than any other generation, so if veterinary professionals want to reach this demographic, they need to be active on major social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Being active means much more than simply setting up profiles; your practice will need to embody core millennial values.
Who Are Millennials?
Millennials are classified as those born between 1980 and 2000. They’re more tech-savvy than their parents and as a result have earned the reputation of being “constantly connected” online and to each other. The generation has largely been shaped by social issues and financial crises in America, including the Great Recession, 9/11, and ongoing political conflict. As a result, millennials are generally more interested in social causes, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting deals.
Unfairly, millennials are widely described as being entitled, self-involved, and more interested in their smartphones than the world around them. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. More than previous generations, millennials live their lives on-the-go. Smartphones are both a form of communication and a tool to conduct research on everything from deals on products to local business reviews. It’s important for veterinary professionals to understand the importance of being mobile in the eyes of millennials in order to effectively connect with this unique audience.
Appeal to Millennial Core Values
The key to reaching millennials on social media is understanding what they value online. Social media posts are quickly evolving from selfies to socially conscious declarations. These types of posts receive a high amount of likes, comments, and shares. Millennials care about social issues and want to align with businesses that take social actions. Businesses such as TOMS, the comfy footware and apparel company, are widely embraced by millennials to the point that wearing its brand is proof to the world of the owner’s social impact. TOMS not only captured millennial customers by forming a cause, the company developed a strategy that allows its customers to participate as well. Its One for One® philosophy promises to donate a pair of brand new shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. TOMS also supports children staying physically active by donating sports shoes to its partners’ health and fitness programs.
If your veterinary practice supports a cause, you will get much further with millennials promoting that cause than you would promoting solely your services. Instead post content on social media that millennials can relate to; this will encourage your followers to learn about your services. Millennials appreciate experiences much more than tangible things. They need a good reason to give your veterinary practice their business and advocacy is very relevant at the moment.
Embrace Social Media Transparency
Transparency is very important to this generation that matured during a point in history where the world was anything but transparent. Experiences both good and bad, filter or no-filter are shared openly with friends. In the same vein of transparency, your practice should also strive to share more of your experience on social media. Your practice’s culture and authenticity matter more to millennials than you can imagine; in fact your social media presence can be a deciding factor in whether millennials choose your practice or your competitor’s.
Of course, your practice will want to continue posting educational health information or services you feature. However, mix up your content by sharing posts that humanize your practice. Photos from events or reactions to events in the news can change your relationship with millennial followers on social media. Instead of passing your practice off as another company vying for their business, millennial followers will relate to you on a more personal level. They will also be more likely to share your posts with their friends, generating the kind of positive buzz you definitely want for your practice.
Content That Millennials Engage With
Technological advancements have had a major impact on millennials’ expectations. While older millennials may be forgiving, younger millennials have the expectation that technology should always work seamlessly. This expectancy often carries over into other parts of life, particularly where businesses are concerned. If your practice promotes a special coupon on social media, millennials expect to redeem the coupon in your practice without printing it out. If you’ve already gotten a potential patient through your door, the last thing you want to do is lose their business over a coupon.
Social media is a great way to increase your reach and bring more millennials into your veterinary practice. Remember, millennials respond to brands that share their core values of social advocacy, transparency and participation. Give them a good reason to choose your practice and above all else, be authentic. By following this advice, your practice will capture this new audience and may even become a trending topic in the process.
For ideas and inspiration on how to create social media pages that stand out and connect with millenials, download a FREE copy of VetMatrix’s 2017 trends Social Media Lookbook.
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