Your practice’s social media presence can make or break your brand’s online—and some would argue your entire—reputation. Despite the power of these platforms, writing and publishing social content often gets little attention—or worse, is forgotten altogether, or delegated to younger non-marketing team members who are “better at technology.”
Without conscious effort and attention to detail, your posts may send the wrong message and you offend your audience, or they leave, and you have no audience. So, check out these seven common social media posting mistakes and learn how to avoid them.
#1: The all-or-nothing approach to social media posts
This is a matter of posting too much, or not enough, and often occurs when social media responsibility changes hands. Share-happy new publishers initially will post several times a day on every channel. Unfortunately, this can look like spam and may cost you some followers. Excessive posting also dilutes your content’s power and the brand message becomes lost.
These users have admirable ambition but quickly realize they cannot continue to post so frequently, with the result that your online presence goes MIA for weeks or months. Other users realize they are too busy to create content and simply forget about their social platforms. Both ends of the posting spectrum can mean that your content does not achieve the desired effect.
Take the following steps to prevent this outcome:
- Set an achievable goal, such as one to three new posts per week.
- Create a content calendar.
- Limit your number of social media platforms.
- Focus on quality—not quantity—in all your content.
#2: Writing with an unnatural voice
Social media writing for businesses should be professional yet conversational. However, many of us have personal social media profiles where we post, share, and like, and we can blur the line if we don’t pay close attention to our brand’s “voice.”
Veterinary practice posts should be friendly but knowledgeable. Remember, you are writing for clients—not friends—who are trusting you to provide expert information about their pet’s care. Avoid overly casual or familiar tones, slang, or excessive acronyms, emojis, and hashtags, but don’t be too formal, because stiff or robotic posts will quickly decrease engagement.
Unsure if your post is striking the right note? Try reading it out loud or—better yet—have someone else read it to you to determine whether your words sound authentic.
#3: Posts that are too long or too short
The acronym TL; DR (too long; didn’t read) was created for a reason, right? Sometimes we cannot overcome the need to share, and we write on, and on, and on. Unfortunately, we are oversharing at the same time our attention span is shrinking, and your followers will quickly scroll through—not read—all that text. But, short posts can feel vague, and hurt audience engagement, so keep these general numbers in mind, knowing that ideal word counts vary by platform:
- Facebook — 40 to 80 characters, or one to two sentences.
- Instagram — 150 characters
- Twitter — 100 characters
You may be saying, “Wait! What if my important content cannot be abbreviated?” Use these word counts as a guideline—not a rule—and carefully craft your first few sentences to include the most important takeaway, a strong call-to-action (CTA), or an irresistible teaser that entices readers to click on “See more.” Now, that’s engaging.
#4: Too much medical jargon
Although medical terms can help establish your expertise, they can make your posts seem too clinical and inaccessible to the average reader. After your first draft, re-read all your content, looking to simplify your message. But, use good judgment and don’t go too far the other way, because there’s a fine—and embarrassing—line between replacing “defecation” with “doo-doo.”
#5: Grammatical errors and misspellings
Don’t miss simple errors and risk losing your brand’s credibility. Check and double-check your content before clicking on “Post” to ensure no participles are dangling or names misspelled. If you don’t have a team member who is a member of the card-carrying grammar police, use a grammar and style-checker app, such as Grammarly, Ginger, or Hemingway Editor.
#6: Omitting relevant content
Repetitive or generic content can feel impersonal and bore your followers. And, while thematic months (e.g., National Pet Dental Health Month) are a great way to anchor your social media content calendar, consider tapping into your audience for fresh, relevant topics. Ask these questions:
- What questions are clients asking the veterinarian?
- Are you receiving more phone calls for a specific service?
- Do you have specific regional health risks (e.g., increasing tick population, toxic algae blooms, canine influenza outbreak)?
- Do you see purchasing trends in your clinic?
Keeping your finger on the pulse of client concerns can ensure your social media content stays timely and informative.
#7: Forgetting a call to action
The CTA prompts followers to take action after reading your post. Without a CTA, your post may not generate interaction or engagement—and its message may be lost or quickly forgotten.
Before you begin writing content, determine a goal for each piece—do you want clients to schedule a dental consultation? Check their heartworm preventive inventory? Plan ahead for upcoming fireworks? Then, keep your goal in mind and shape a strong CTA that ideally includes a relevant link (e.g., to a vetted resource, your blog or website) or your direct contact info, and watch your followers take action!
Are you feeling less like a social butterfly and more like a digital dinosaur? Let Rumpus Writing and Editing help you convey your company’s message with clarity and confidence. Contact our team to discuss your professional content-writing needs and schedule a consultation.