Weather Warming Up? Time to Talk About Ticks

The rise in outdoor temperatures is a sure sign that spring is here, and with the change come ticks.

When the weather warms it’s safe to assume that ticks are out looking for their next meal. Although the arachnids are found throughout the United States, deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are common carriers of Lyme disease. They often are found in wooded areas and along forest trails, primarily where their preferred host, the white-tailed deer, is located.

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How to Recognize Animal Abuse

vpn-animal-abuseAnimal cruelty is an unfortunate, horrific reality involving innocent beings that are unable to speak up for themselves. Veterinary professionals have a moral, ethical and, in some states, legal obligation to be the voice for these victims.

Animal cruelty is a catchall statement for offenses that include neglect, abuse, abandonment, animal fighting and even practicing veterinary medicine without a license. State laws vary in whether animal cruelty is deemed a misdemeanor or a felony, and they even go so far as to detail which animals are included. For example, New York laws cover “every living creature except a human being,” while in Alaska, protected animals include vertebrates but not fish.

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How to Have ‘The Talk’ on End-of-Life Care

dog-vpnOne of the most difficult conversations to have in the veterinary industry is “the talk”—the end-of-life and euthanasia discussion.

How does one approach clients to tell them their beloved companion must cross the rainbow bridge after 15 or more years together? How does a veterinary practitioner discuss options or bring up memorial keepsakes? What do you do if euthanizing is the only ethical and humane option but the client doesn’t want to let go?

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Brands, Handle Negative Criticism on Social Media Like a Champ

negativecriticismSocial media is a wonderful tool to connect with loyal fans and potential customers directly and organically. It’s also a perfect opportunity for consumers to air their grievances, in both positive and negative ways. When the latter happens, it’s important for brands to have a plan in place to separate the trolls from the real-life consumer issues, and standard operating procedure to act upon in each situation.

When brands receive negative criticism, they have a few options to deal with it:

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Bringing Social Media to Your Veterinary Practice

small-social-mediaDuring Global Pet Expo 2015, research firm GfK announced that 35.2% of the US’ 75 million Millennials (people age 18-34) own a pet, compared to 32.8% of Baby Boomers (age 51-70). Millennials like to try the latest technology, will spend more on their pets (including veterinary care and pet services), and are likely to use social media to connect with brands, services, and read online reviews before making their purchase decision (source).

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Setting Yourself Up for Success: 5 Professional Resolutions for 2016

smbresolutionsIf you’re like me, this time of year is very nostalgic, brought on by remembering all the things 2015 has brought forward. For some, 2015 was a smashing success, while others suffered humorous gaffes and complete embarrassment on national television (here’s looking at you, Steve Harvey).

Whether 2015 was a boom or a bust, now is the perfect time to review how 2015 performed and set your personal and professional resolutions for 2016.

I PLEDGE: to Have a Crisis Communication Plan in Place

Working with hundreds of small, independently-owned veterinary clinics as part of Veterinary Hospitals Association, it’s become clear that many small businesses entrepreneurs don’t think of having a crisis communication plan in place until it’s too late.

To avoid a potentially business-ruining situation, it’s critical that businesses both large and small have a crisis communication plan in place. As marketing and sales professionals, you too should have a plan in place. Take time before 2016 comes to review any potentially disastrous situations which might befall your business, and sketch out what communication would need to take place should those situations arise. Have standard messages for social media, sample press releases, email communications, and letters prepared, and brief your team on who handles what if the time comes. It could be as simple as your website crashing or a sale going wrong on social media, to something catastrophic as your building catching fire or a bad article being written about you. In any case, having a crisis communication plan in place for 2016 is a must-have for all businesses.

This article was originally posted on Salesforce.com. To read the full article, please click here.

5 Must-Haves for Every Veterinary Website

This post originally appeared on Veterinary Hospitals Association blog on December 8. To read the full post, please visit Veterinary Hospitals Association.

In today’s digital world, a website is a must-have for business success. Claiming your space in the internet and having a digital footprint is vital to competing in the industry and being found by local clients. But it isn’t enough to just have a few web pages and photos haphazardly thrown up – there needs to be a reason why visitor come to your site, stay on your site, and ultimately make the decision to visit your clinic.

To have a successful website, there are a few things that every veterinary clinic must have present:

#1 – Basic Information is Easy to Find

If your basic information – location, phone, and hours – aren’t easy to find, you will lose potential patients quickly. In addition to having a Contact Us page with this information easily accessible, also include your location, phone number, and hours on the homepage above the fold. Above the fold simply means before the user scrolls down. Additionally, put this information in the footer of your website so it is visible across every page they visit.

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Don’t Be the Boogeyman: Are You Scaring Away Top Talent?

This article first appeared on Salesforce on October 28. To read the full article, please visit Salesforce.

In the movies, horror greats Michael, Jason, Freddie are all great at what they do – mainly scaring the wits out of movie viewers. But even they have their Achilles heels that lead to their eventual downfalls. Every company has their own Achilles heels as well, whether it’s a great story but lack of PR, or great product but lack of marketing.

For some, it’s keeping quality, talented team members on staff. It is an ever-delicate balancing act for management – delicate, but not impossible. So why is it so many companies have such a hard time with it? What are they doing that is spooking talented employees to run for the hills – or worse, the competition? Is it that their managers are the embodiment of the Wicked Witch of the West or Hades himself? Continue reading

Two Must-Have Social Media Accounts for Your Small Business

Small business owners have a lot on their plate. From hiring and scheduling to inventory and bookkeeping, the list is never ending. What shouldn’t be skipped from that list is social media.

Social media isn’t a new fad or craze that’ll go by the wayside like slap bands and bell bottom jeans. No, social media is here to stay, and if you haven’t discovered how powerful social can be for your small business, you’re in for a treat. It is easily one of the best things you can do for your small business, can cost as little or as much as you’d like, and can provide huge ROI for a little dedication.

So for a small business and a busy entrepreneur, where does one begin? I believe there are two critical social media accounts every entrepreneur and small business should have:

Facebook

Although the organic reach of a Facebook page is declining, the power of Facebook has still stayed constant. I’d bet my bottom dollar your fans and customers are on Facebook, and if they’re not, their friends and family are. Create a Facebook page for your business, and dedicate an hour or two per week to craft highly tuned messages, graphics, and call-to-actions that will drive engagement, followers, and footsteps into your store. Continue reading

Grow Your Twitter Followers … Organically

Twitter has made it pretty clear that you’re only allowed to follow so many people (2,000) before they cap you out. In order to increase the amount of people you can follow, you have to have relatively the same amount of people following you back. Pretty ingenious!

There are hundreds of strategies you can use to grow your Twitter followers, and even that many more tools. One strategy that should always be front and center is to produce great quality content that keeps people coming back for more. The second? Returning the love you get from folks with follow backs, favorites, replies, and retweets.

But it can be troublesome and time consuming to keep track of who you should follow back, who’s a spam account, who’s a troll, and who will never follow you. Continue reading