Did you know that 69% of U.S. adults are on social media for an average of 2.5 hours per day, and they’re increasingly using social media to find, evaluate, and interact with brands? In fact, 54% of social media users say they use social channels to find new products, and 25% follow brands they may buy from.
But I won’t bore you with the numbers. Instead, I will just say that animal health manufacturers who don’t have social media strategies are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with the animal health ecosystem and grow their business.
You have to show up for your audiences — but you can’t stop there. You need to actively participate on the platforms your audiences use most. Have a voice in their conversations and become a part of their world. Social media is the perfect place to demonstrate that you understand them, are interested in their needs, and want to learn from them.
Getting started may seem simple enough. But there are a few important social media strategies for animal health manufacturers. You don’t want to just put up a Facebook page and post a couple of cat memes. “These products are purrrty effective when used as directed” … is an example of something you probably wouldn’t do. But I’m not saying it HASN’T been done.
To get the most bang for your bark on social media (sorry, not sorry), you need to understand what your customers really want.
Your First Goal Is Engagement
It’s not just about visibility and brand awareness, it’s about active engagement. Show up, show your brand voice and who you are. Think Wendy’s on Twitter, where they troll other brands and respond to customers (who knew I could develop an emotional connection to hamburgers?), or Netflix on Instagram, where they comment on actors’ photos and post clips from their shows.
What’s your equivalent of this? Figure out how to engage your audience with clean, well-designed profiles that let your brand voice shine. Post regularly to keep your brand fresh in consumers’ minds and take the time to interact with followers by liking or replying to their comments.
Your Second Goal Is Insight
Social media has made it so the whole world can see how you respond to customers, so fielding complaints gracefully is more important than ever for maintaining your reputation. Today’s customers have grown accustomed to receiving a response from brands on social channels, usually within a few hours. Set up a system so that your team is notified of new posts and reviews, and can respond in a thoughtful, timely manner.
Are people complaining about a tape sticking to their pet’s fur? Respond and say thanks for the feedback, we’ll look into it. Is it about someone else’s product? Say try ours! Are people asking for other sizes or specialties? Let them know you’ll consider it.
It’s not just about their insight into your brand; it goes both ways. Learn who your audiences are, what they’re looking for, and what they’re talking about. This space offers a huge opportunity to take what you learn and apply those insights to your product development.
How to Reach Your Audiences
Let’s take your new social media strategy one step at a time.
Veterinarians: These short-staffed, multi-hat-wearing experts are using Facebook to reach pet owners with cute pet photos and humorous content (here’s an example, don’t worry, it’s only 52 minutes long). Engage with vets by liking, sharing, and leaving meaningful comments on their posts. Share educational videos that provide training on your products. As you post, make it your goal to show that you are their partner, not just because you do business together, but because you are both committed to improving the animal health industry. You can also use your LinkedIn page to connect with veterinarians, post thought-leadership articles, and introduce new campaigns and product lines.
Distributors: Most major distributors maintain a LinkedIn presence as well. Connect with as many as possible to grow your network. Sharing original, insightful articles will help to build your reputation as a thought leader in animal health. Distributors are also on Twitter participating in industry conversations and staying on top of trends. By providing quick, bite-size content that links back to your page and products, you add value to their Twitter experience and encourage them to give you a follow. Bonus points for sharing educational videos with training on your products.
Pet owners: They love Instagram for its seemingly unlimited cute and/or funny pet content. You would be amazed how many pet owners make pets their own profiles. To build a profile this audience will love, get creative. Take pictures of pets in your office interacting with team members or create a humorous video series featuring pet actors. Tell them all about your amazing animal health products and how they could improve their pets’ lives.
Think Casper’s mattress ads. This is just good content. I don’t even care how much it is pandering to me as an animal lover, because it is just so good and I want to be a baby goat and sleep on that mattress forever.
That’s what you’re going for. Instagram provides a great opportunity to showcase your products and educate pet owners on the technical side of animal care while appealing to the emotional. Remember well-educated consumers are more likely to ask vets for your products!
Another tip: When content doesn’t merit a full post, try out the Instagram Stories feature. Stories have become popular recently, with more than 400 million accounts using the feature every day.
It’s never too soon to start building up your profiles and creating content, and if you’re not sure how to begin, contact EPiQ Animal Health. We’ll create a custom social media marketing plan for you.