If you use social media to promote your veterinary hospital, you’ve probably heard about the new Facebook algorithm that has people panicking. It’s true; the changes will affect your Facebook page’s reach and its ability to help grow your business. Of course, like all changes in marketing, you can adapt and beat it. We’ve spent a month testing multiple tactics on our client’s Facebook pages, and we have some insights on how to thrive in the new Facebook algorithm world in which we live.

In January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted to his Facebook account with big changes coming to the social media platform’s algorithm. “But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” It’s true, and you probably agree that there is too much fluff on your personal Facebook feed. Of course, as it upsets you personally, this change can also hurt you professionally. We have some tips for you to take your Facebook game to the next level despite these changes.

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1. Post more videos.

We tested it for over a month, and the videos we’ve posted have outperformed all other posts and led to more engagements on the page. Whether you’re shooting a video at your hospital (which is a great idea) or sharing viral videos from the internet, video is really working right now. Even better – a Facebook Live video from your hospital would lead to quite a bit of engagement, and give you some of the “behind-the-scenes” street cred that social media users love! Whatever you do, it’s time to start shooting more videos around the hospital. Around the WhiskerCloud office, we talk about how easy it is to get likes, comments, and shares on photos of adorable animals. You’re surrounded by adorable animals all day! It’s a match made in heaven. We even edit videos for our clients to give them a professional look and feel! What can you do? Use apps like Instagram and Snapchat to create fun and animated videos that can be shared across all social media platforms. Give a behind-the-scenes look at your hospital. People will love it!

2. Engagement is the name of the game.

Likes, comments, and shares have always been the name of the game, but they’re even more critical today. The new algorithm factors in how many engagements you get within the first hour of your post. Even more importantly, they want them to be quality comments (four or more words). This means that the days of “comment with _______” for a chance to win a prize! You need content that will lead to meaningful, long comments and conversations. More importantly, Facebook now wants local engagement on your posts. Encourage your staff to engage, comment, and share your hospital’s posts with their networks. They’re local, and their networks are too. This is a great way to get that meaningful, local engagement that will help your posts grow. Be sure to use analytics to find out the best times and days to post content. If you’re posting at 5:00 am on Sunday morning, you probably won’t get significant engagement when you post, and the post will eventually be lost in the new algorithm black hole. What can you do? Encourage clients to follow the page your page and make sure they set it up to see it on the news feed first (see photo below). Make sure your employees engage and share content often. Be sure to tell clients to follow you on Facebook when they’re in your clinic.

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3. It takes money to make money.

If you’re doing any advertising, it may be time to earmark additional money for Facebook advertising. There are three types of posts that we believe you should promote to grow your page, create conversions, and increase engagement. 1. Specials or big announcements to your hospital are the perfect posts to boost or promote. Offering 15% off dental work to your clients? Upload your email list and target them with your new special! Offering a free wellness exam for new patients? Target pet owners within 15 miles of your clinic. Prominent bold imagery and showcasing your fantastic hospital will help you land new clients. 2. Behind-the-scenes looks at your hospital will engage clients. Video tours, patient slideshows, and live Q&A sessions with members of your staff are sure to bring engagement, and of course, can remind your clients how much they love the care you provide your pet. Shoot a fun how-to video, promote to your clients and local pet owners, and watch the engagements come in! 3. If you have a post that is doing much better than usual, throw some money at it. Even $5 over one day can reach over 2,000 people and increase engagement as much as 10x! Sometimes, an extra $5-10 for excellent posts throughout the month can make a difference, as long as you target your ads correctly. What can you do? Get your Facebook advertising audiences in order. If you are promoting something that pertains to current clients, target your email list, page fans, and a lookalike audience for excellent results. If you are looking for new patients, target pet owners within 15 miles of your clinic. Start with $50 throughout the month and increase your budget as you continue to show a positive ROI.

Advertising components and algorithms change often, and while it can be scary, it also allows the people that know what they’re doing to thrive when others do not. The trick is to stay consistent, create great content, and make the extra effort to make your content stand out. If you have questions, leave a comment below and we’ll be here with answers.

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