Your 5 a day - digital media marketing in a nutshell, guest post by Lawrence Brown

Guest blogger veterinary entrepreneur, Lawrence Brown, shares his recommendations for growing your personal brand and promoting your practice using digital media.

Last year I wrote about marketing trends Vets couldn't ignore in 2017. Finishing the book 'Crushing It!' by Gary Vaynerchuk was a prompt reminder that this was due an update. I see a real opportunity for practitioners to use digital media to either build their personal brand or promote their hospital – it’s easy, inexpensive and worth it.

Here I've set out 5 recommendations to get you started today!

1. Facebook advertising is still grossly under-priced. This won't be the case in 2-5 years when corporates start to pay over the odds for consumer attention. Don't let the recent scandal fool you, Facebook is going nowhere. These ads can be a great way to waste money too, do your research. Google is a good place to start, the alternative is you hire an agency but be prepared for the ongoing expense. If you are the captain of your ship, this opportunity is too precious to delegate. Take ownership and put in the work.

2. Live streaming on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope are valuable methods of distributing content. Perhaps practice recording yourself first to avoid coming across awkward. If you're hosting CPD or informative client events, why not live stream to extend your reach. The added benefit, you now have a recording to share as you wish.

3. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat stories allows you to communicate directly with your customers. Dovetail 'behind the scenes' footage with veterinary insights and advice for your customers. I would focus predominantly on your team to avoid complicated legal issues. The thing with stories is not to come across as "Salesy". Your job is to share your journey and provide more value than you receive. When the time is right to offer promotions and services, you will see the results.

4. I can't believe I didn't write about YouTube last year, a real oversight. There is a stigma attached to 'vlogging' and white collared professionals are missing out. YouTube is the new reality TV and has the potential to change lives. I am yet to come across a 'Veterinary YouTube Series', certainly not in the UK. You only have to look at the TV guide to see the public demand for animal and veterinary-related entertainment. If my future was in clinical practice, I would start this tomorrow! I would collaborate with a film school or hungry production editor looking to gain experience and make a name for themselves. You would need to put all the legalities in place but this idea is an absolute game changer. An added benefit, you have some great video footage to show your grandkids who may or may not even be born yet!

5. Voice First. I'm not going to pretend I know a heap about this, but most of you will be aware of Amazon's Alexa or Google's Echo. Voice First devices are convenient and save time, they will only gain popularity as the technology is refined and becomes more accessible. As I understand it, you could spend weeks recording your advice for every common veterinary-related questions that ever existed. So when these devices become part of our day to day, an owner at home asks "should I feed my dog a raw food diet", it will be your voice that answers! For vets looking to build their personal brand, you need to go all in on 'voice'. Expect to wait a while for your ROI but within the next 5 years, you will literally be a household name.

Follow Lawrence's 5 digital media marketing recommendations to help you see the wood from the trees

I am so excited for the individual that takes advantage of these recommendations. There is so much opportunity being left on the table. Sometimes it is hard to see the woods from the trees, but I promise it is just a matter of who wants it and gets there first... Ready... Go!

Lawrence John Brown BVM&S ACIM MRCVS

Lawrence graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 2010 before working in mixed practice for 4 and a half years in the UK and Australia. He then spent 2 years working in technical marketing for a global pharmaceutical company where he completed his Diploma in Professional Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. During this time he developed a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, which inspired a timely return home to Edinburgh, which has the largest cluster of animal science companies in Europe. He currently divides his time between being a veterinary locum and a business development consultant for an innovative reproductive technologies company from South Asia. He will begin studying for a MBA this year at the University of Edinburgh.