Social media monitoring for veterinary professionals

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Social media monitoring can encompass a broad range of actions and behaviors. If you’ve ever searched for a hashtag on Twitter, researched a recruiter on LinkedIn, or looked at the Instagram profile of someone who just followed you… you’ve done some sort of social media monitoring in your personal or professional life.

Social media monitoring and why you should do it

Put simply, social media monitoring means keeping an eye on conversations about topics related to your veterinary business that are happening on social media platforms. These conversations might be directly related to you and your business, or they might provide insight into which topics are trending in your area.

Keeping track of social media activity—especially if you if you have a social media page or profile—is an important part of protecting your personal and professional reputation. Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to online trolls, cyberbullying incidents, and more.

Getting started with social media monitoring

There are a variety of ways which you can monitor on social—whether it’s through manual processes or automated alerts.

Having a a team member (or a few team members) dedicate some of their time to managing the practice’s social media pages is step one to protecting your reputation and preventing any cyberbullying incident.

At the very least, social media monitoring consists of managing and answering any comments or messages that get posted on your page and responding to any reviews on your page (negative or positive). This is something that should be done at least once a day. Ideally you can have notification alerts set up on your computer or phone to let you know as soon as anyone posts anything to your pages.

Remember, it’s your page and you have full control of the conversation happening on it.

Advancing your social media monitoring

As you become more advanced in monitoring efforts, you may find that you can pick up certain insights by seeing what other people or pages are posting and leveraging it to your benefit. Simply by following other businesses in your area, you’ll start to see what they’re posting about and get insights about what topics are trending in your community.

Other advanced monitoring practices include:

  • Setting up listening alerts on Google that capture topics that might be important to your business. These alerts can then be emailed to you in any type of frequency you prefer (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.)
  • Cross-referencing keywords of importance with the name of your business to see what/if people are mentioning about your clinic or practice in relation to those keywords (i.e. spay/neuter and the name of your practice)
  • Following certain hashtags – Instagram and Twitter now allow you to follow hashtags so you can monitor the latest trending topics in areas such as #vetmed, #petcare or #veterinarian
  • Signing up for a free trial of a social media listening tool    
Social media monitoring tools

There are numerous tools you can leverage for social media monitoring purposes. While it can feel overwhelming deciding which is right for you, a great place to start is simply by using the tools offered by the social media platforms themselves. As we’ve discussed, getting notifications on your phone or computer any time someone leaves a comment or messages you will help take a lot of the pressure off as you’ll be instantly notified.

Additionally, you can now follow hashtags and topics on Twitter and Instagram by entering a hashtag in the search bar, selecting the right result from the search options, and clicking the follow button. That’s another easy (and free) way to monitor what’s being said about certain things that may be of interest to your business. 

Of course, if you’re looking for more sophisticated monitoring, there are additional tools which you can use to do that. If you’ve decided to invest more in your social media monitoring, start by shopping around to see what’s out there. The majority of these listening or monitoring tools offer a free trial period so sign up to get a feel for how they operate and then decide if they’re in the right fit for you. 

What to look for while monitoring social media

What am I looking for while monitoring? What key things might indicate an issue now or on the horizon? Should I be watching for positive things, too?

If you feel like your practice or clinic is at risk for a cyberbullying incident for whatever reason, you’ll want to keep a close eye on what’s being said on social media. That starts with your social media pages, of course. Often, people will come to your page to leave a comment, if they have a question or want to share a grievance that they expect you to answer.

They might also tag your account on their own page with a comment. If you want to see conversations about you happening off your page, a search of your business’s name in the search bar may show further posts. If you see an increase in negative posts about your practice or clinic, that could be an indication of some kind of issue on the horizon and you’ll want to be on alert for a cyberbullying incident.

If there are conversations happening on social media about your business and your page is not tagged, use your best judgement whether to reply with comments of your own. It could be that they are not interested in hearing from you or they may find it “creepy” that you’ve found their post. More often than not, it’s best to avoid making any comments on posts where you’re not tagged as the risks usually outweigh the benefits. 

Moderating your social media

“Moderating” your social media means actively controlling what does and doesn’t appear on your pages and posts, and this process can deescalate prickly conversations and help protect your reputation. This social media guidelines template can help you create a moderation policy, so you, your team, and everyone who interacts with your page can clearly understand what you’ll allow—and what crosses a line.

Moderating sometimes requires deleting content. Comments can be deleted on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. On Twitter, you can untag yourself from tweets you do not want to be listed in. Further, on all these platforms, you can also block people who continue to repeatedly comment (“spam”) or attack your pages.

Note: hiding and deleting comments or blocking users from your page should only be used as a final measure if your page is being swarmed with irrelevant comments or posts or if the same repeat offenders keep spamming your page even after you’ve addressed the situation. 

You can also leverage the page moderation tools available for free on Facebook and Instagram to help you automate your moderation process. If you are designated as an administrator for a Facebook or Instagram account, you can add a list of keywords where comments or posts will be automatically hidden if they use any of the keywords you’ve listed in your page moderation setting. By doing this, their comments will not appear to any of your other followers and help lessen the impact of detractors on your page.

Responding on social media

In addition to monitoring and moderating your social media, there might be occasions where you’ll also need to respond. Or do you? These tools can help you understand when to respond and when to stay silent, what kind of words and phrases resonate with clients, and how to turn even negative reviews to your advantage:


Responding on social media

Use this flowchart to determine when and if you should respond to any comments or posts related to your practice on social media.

See the flowchart

Social media for veterinary clinics

Social media isn’t something we learn about in college or veterinary school, and it can be challenging to figure out how to use social media tools to help build and nurture your business or your career. These AVMA tools walk you through best practices and helpful tips to get the most out of marketing in social media.

Learn more


Managing cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is damaging, disruptive, and stressful. And, it can have lasting impact on you, your colleagues, and the whole organization. The AVMA has a toolkit of resources to help you manage and maintain your reputation, including resources to help you protect your overall reputation, prevent cyberbullying, and manage a reputation crisis.

Explore the toolkit