Why Should I Facebook Friend My Vet?
Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I got on it personally with reluctance to keep up with my new grandson three years ago. It was with even greater reluctance that I decided to get on the mainstream bandwagon and put our veterinary hospital on Facebook. Those who own a business know that all business pages must be set up through an administratorâ€™s personal page. That means my personal page is chocked full of pet stuff, often leaving my friends and familyâ€™s posts hidden amongst the volume.
But, I am now very informed on what is going on in the veterinary and animal community. I can become a great filter for our clients at Case Veterinary Hospital. A new drug or technique that will help save a petâ€™s life or improve their quality of life--posted on our facebook site. A heartfelt story about a pet who found his way home through a microchip--on our facebook site to remind our clients the need for microchipping their pet. A pet event in town that our clients might enjoy--posted. A pet cartoon to help get you through the mid- week hump--every Wednesday you can count on it.
The opportunities that â€śfriendingâ€ť your veterinarian brings was very much in the forefront of my mind this week because of two incidents. The first played out as follows:
A dear friend, one who lives on facebook, was telling me that she was appalled to hear that the treats she just bought from a local grocery store may be bad for her dog. She had not heard any of the â€ścommotionâ€ť on facebook about the risks of giving your pet rawhide treats made in China. Although she was a daily regular on facebook, the pages she had friended were not geared toward the pet industry. She was totally unaware of the recalls and warnings that had been posted for almost a year.
The second scenario that I observed the last few weeks centered on Hurricane Sandy. Before and after the storm, I monitored how veterinary hospitals and shelters were handling the circumstances of the storm and the problems it was presenting. Many veterinarians used their facebook platform to get the word out to their clients about closings, damages, and pet advice to their clients. It became a great tool to keep clients informed and assured that they would be there for them even when the phones may be out or their location could not be gotten to due to flooded streets, gas shortages, etc. Furthermore, I have been able to find first hand stories of ways in which I could help with recovery. I was able to monitor how our veterinary community responded. I was proud to see companies like Hillâ€™s Science Diet and others come to the rescue by trucking in added resources and supplies to much needed areas.
We have a little over 650 friends on Case Veterinary Hospitalâ€™s page. While that is a small percentage of our client base, I am encouraged to see the interaction daily on the page and I feel good about having a venue to get information out to our clients rapidly. I hope I donâ€™t have to use it as a communication tool in a disaster but I have already seen its value when we had telephone or electrical outages or when we wanted to get the word out about a pet food recall. As always, Facebook should be a two way form of communication. If your veterinarian has a Facebook page, let them know what you would like to see in the way of posts. The veterinary team leads very busy days at the hospital and wants to post things that are relevant to their clients. If your veterinarian doesnâ€™t have a Facebook page, we welcome you to ours. The more the merrier! lol