Understanding social media in veterinary practice - Veterinary Practice
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Understanding social media in veterinary practice

Sandeep Said details the risks and benefits of using social media to connect with clients and suggests a number of policy recommendations for practices.

communication, is
changing the face
of the veterinary
sector rapidly and
is impacting the
way this sector

It is a collective
of online communications channels,
dedicated to community-based input,
interaction, content-sharing and
collaboration. The different types
of social media channels used in
the veterinary sector attract specific audiences for different purposes.

Veterinary professionals need to
understand that social media presents
itself with great opportunities and
benefits to embrace, such as reaching
and communicating with the public,
engaging in health-related discussions
and networks, and increasing awareness
of the various veterinary services

However, social media also has
potential risks involved and can be
detrimental to the overall practice’s
reputation as well as the public’s trust
and confidence.

It is important to remember that
anything that a practice posts on social
media is immediately in the public
domain and can be easily copied and
redistributed without the practice’s
knowledge or consent. You should
presume that everything you share
online will be there permanently and
widely available.

With regards to posting content,
you will need to ensure that all content
has a connection with or is referenced
to your practice, and is reviewed and finalised prior to being posted on the
relevant social media platforms.

A professional approach

When communicating and advertising
your veterinary services publicly, all
professionals must:

  1. maintain and protect client
  2. treat colleagues fairly and with
  3. maintain a professional boundary
    between your practice and your client
  4. ensure the practice’s conduct
    justifies the public’s trust in the overall
    profession and what you stand for
  5. ensure the information published is
    factual and accurate
  6. be aware of conflict of interest which may arise
    from published
  7. not exploit
    vulnerability or lack of

are some recommendations for you to consider:

  • Set up a clear and structured social media policy and guidelines, which are
    updated frequently and enforced.
  • Differentiate between personal
    v. professional, as posts made in
    employees’ own time can still impact
    the practice and its reputation.
  • Adequate training around social
    media for staff and managers is
    required, so they are aware of the
    standards and processes in place.
  • Promptly respond to any issues of
    harassment, discrimination, etc., which
    arise from social media platforms.
  • Staff must make it clear in personal
    posts that they are speaking on their
    own and not the practice’s behalf.

It may not be necessary for smaller
practices to have a written social
media policy in place. However,
please do note the points outlined
above. It is also good practice to
consider electing one individual to
be responsible for overseeing and
managing the overall social media
activity within your practice, so
everything is streamlined.

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