"How social media can help pet owners
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"How social media can help pet owners

Life As A Pet Parent

There is no getting away from the fact that we live in an age of technology, like it or loathe it, gadgets are here to stay. Although many people might feel they are drowning in all the hype over social media, tweeting this and liking that, this media can be extremely helpful for the average pet owner. They don’t have to be a technical whizz or have the most up-to-date phone, tablet or laptop, to access a vast array of information and make new friends. The golden rule about using it for pet related use is knowing what you are doing!

What social media platform to use?

There are so many platforms for social media to choose from that it can be hard for pet owners to know where to begin. The two that work the best and can bring both advice and entertainment are Facebook and Twitter. There is a big reason for this, these are the main platform's that veterinary professionals use to convey messages to pet owners and because they have usually written the content themselves, it can be normally trusted by those reading it.

Of course there are blogs written by veterinary professionals, specialist pet behaviourists and a multitude of other allied people that are specialists in their field, but these are an added bonus to those seeking advice. The social aspect of social media means that pet owners cannot only read what the professionals are saying, but join in and make new (if not virtual) friends along the way. Facebook and Twitter make it straightforward for this to happen and will fit in with many peoples everyday life. For Facebook alone at the time of writing, 35 million people log onto the service in the UK alone every day, so you can see why it’s the ideal stage for veterinary professionals to use.

What pages to join?

If you are reading this article, you are already probably familiar with social media and might have accounts for Facebook and Twitter, possibly other platforms as well. The next problem for a pet owner using social media, is which pages should they keep a check on and how it could help them.

Starting with Facebook, these pages are the ones recommended to LIKE:

  • Your own veterinary practice
  • Your local cattery
  • Your local kennels
  • Local rescue centres, such as RSPCA, Cat’s Protection etc.
  • Your local grooming businesses
  • Local dog walking businesses
  • Local cat sitting services
  • Local pet shops

It’s possible that some of the above might not have a Facebook page, but many will.

It also might seem a strange lot of pages to Like, but there is a good reason behind it - they are all local, which means any advice and tips will be relevant to you. Facebook is full of pages with cute kittens and puppies and pages that show funny captioned pictures pets, but it can get boring after a while.

The same list should be used for Twitter, look for the pages under the search function and follow them - don't naturally expect a follow back, it takes time to build relationships on Twitter.

How can it help?

By following and liking local pages on social media, the pet owner has a wealth of new knowledge at their fingertips. Using an example of the first page on the list, the local veterinary practice and the type of posts and information they can put out:

  • Clinical information
  • New products available
  • Any local disease outbreaks - parvovirus, kennel cough etc.
  • First Aid advice
  • Events such as client talks or guest speakers
  • How to videos - such as cleaning your dog’s ears

These are just some of the posts that one business can put out, information that could help a pet owner and save them money or even potentially save their pet’s life.

The reason for adding the other pages to your news-feeds, are that these are people and businesses that are termed ‘key opinion leaders’. Put simply they know what is going on for pet owners locally - even before the local veterinary practice does!

One of the biggest ways it can help is if a pet is lost or one is found. Posts or Tweets can go viral very easily when it comes to pets that need reuniting with their owners, especially if there is a photograph of the pet attached.

What can I do and say?

Social media means just that - being social! Facebook and Twitter are the places pet owners can really make new local friends, perhaps in time meeting up to walk your dogs etc.

It all starts with joining in. Even if you don’t think you have anything to say, but agree with a comment or tweet, then let the person posting know. Click like or favourite the tweet - when you write your posts or Tweets, you’ll find people remember this.

Sometimes you might see a comment which you have a strong opinion on, for example pet owner that feed their dogs only raw - are you for or against it? Don’t ever think your opinion won’t count, but make sure your comment is fair, polite and relevant. You will find others may respond to it or like it - if it’s a reply to a Tweet you might find it re-tweeted.

Don’t forget if you have some pet news Tweet or post about it, and add a picture too. Your pet having a litter, them doing something silly or even wishing the owners of a page a Happy Christmas!

If your veterinary practice page asks for photos of their clients’ pets, upload yours! Be a part of the community and it will be amazing what you will learn and the friends you can make.

Conclusion

Social media can be a wonderful place for you to learn new things, pet related in their local area. You don’t have to be a cat or dog owner, sometimes owners of exotics species, (lizards, snakes etc) can give invaluable advice to others - is that you? So get involved and get online!

You can start off by following Pets4Homes on facebook using this link. We often post links to useful pet articles on our social media pages.

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