Flour vs Kitten – Your Veterinary Practice Wins!

by Guest Blogger on November 4, 2013

image007Judy Gillespie is the Director of Vetanswers – an online business community for the veterinary industry. She spends her days online researching and tracking down the best bits of information to share with the Vetanswers community to help their veterinary businesses grow. See more information about contacting Judy below.

This blog post was originally published on the Vetanswers website on 21/8/2012.  It has since been updated to reflect the growth in the King Arthur online community.  In most instances their community had doubled in just over 12 months!

I came across this fascinating article on a flour company in the USA that is over 200 years old and is doing an awesome job on social media (A social media lesson from a 200-year-old flour company (SmartCompany)).

Yes… a flour company… the white powdery stuff you use in baking.  Can you think of a more generic product?

And it got me thinking. If they can do such an amazing job developing an active, passionate, thriving community, then there’s absolutely no reason why your veterinary businesses can’t do the same!

King Arthur sells generic, white powdery stuff that, out of its packaging, is totally indistinguishable from its competitors.

You offer so much more!  You help your clients with an incredibly important relationship in their life – their pet.

So I thought it would be interesting to compare what King Arthur does with their online presence with what you could do in your veterinary business.

It’s important to note that King Arthur didn’t achieve this amazing thriving community overnight – it’s taken them a few years to determine what works best and for them to build their community.

What does King Arthur do? image001 What could you do?image003
They sell flour You deal with an emotional and very important part of many client’s lives
They produce interesting and engaging content on ….flour! You can create interesting and engaging content on…. pets! Dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, horses, fish, lizards, snakes, turtles, cows, sheep……
Their strategy is not to sell ‘flour’ but to educate the public on cooking with flour Your strategy shouldn’t be about selling your veterinary services but educating the public on how to look after their pets
They market their brand by telling interesting and informative stories across multiple mediums:

  • Website
  • Social media
  • Video
You can provide interesting, informative information on a range of animals across multiple mediums:

  • Your website
  • Social media
  • Video
King Arthur On Facebook:www.facebook.com/kingarthurflourOver 177,800 Likes Your Facebook Page:
Uses Milestones to tell the story of the business

  • Founded in 1790
  • Includes some photos through the 1800’s
  • Includes photos of moves, upgrades

The regular posts on their timeline now include interesting information about cooking and LOTS of amazing images of gorgeous food (aka food porn).

Use milestones to tell your story:

  • When did the practice start?
  • What was there before your practice?
  • Photos of equipment purchases
  • Photos of when new services were introduced
  • Awards received by the business
  • Milestones of the staff/owners – qualifications received, etc.

Your regular posts can include a range of interesting information and LOTS of gorgeous images of animals: your animals. your staff’s animals, your patients…. just generally gorgeous animals.

King Arthur You Tube Channel:www.youtube.com/user/kingarthurflourNearly 4,000 Subscribers & over 1,000,000 video views Your YouTube Channel:
‘How to’ videos on baking ‘How to’ videos: e.g.

  • How to give a cat/dog a pill
  • How to clip nails
  • How to massage an elderly pet
  • How to clean cat/dog’s ears
  • How to clean cat/dog’s teeth
  • All the other fascinating ‘how to’s’ other types of pets require
Educational videos on farming You could also have educational videos on areas that impact your practice:

  • Farming,
  • The life of a vet, vet nurse, practice owners,
  • Puppy farming,
  • Environmental issues,
  • Your favourite charity,

(I don’t think you should be afraid of educating people in things you believe in – as long as you don’t ‘preach’ people often appreciate the opinions of an expert)

King Arthur Flour on Twitter:https://twitter.com/KingArthurFlourOver 7,500 tweets & over 19,000 followers Your Twitter account
  • Mostly they just ‘connect’!
  • Check out how many of their tweets start with @xyz which means they’re replying to people & sharing their content
  • Twitter really isn’t for selling – it’s for connecting & conversing (in 140 characters!)
  • You may be very surprised at who you  meet in Twitterland (I admit – most of my interesting connections & resources have originated from Twitter)
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/Shop Page:

  • Sells a range of products and baking accessories
  • Why not sell OTC products from your website?
  • What about pet accessories? (you don’t need shelf space if you sell online!)
Recipes Page
  • Pet information – links to articles & information
Flour Matters Page

  • Information on their products
  • List your veterinary products & services
Learn Page

  • Information on baking workshops
There are lots of educational opportunities:

  • Puppy pre-school
  • Educational seminars:
    • Senior pets
    • Overweight pets
Community Page

  • discussions from members
Your Facebook Page, Twitter & Blog comments is a great way to set up a community
Videos Page

  • Videos on baking techniques, tutorials, recipes, stories about farmers, the company & employees
There are so many videos you could make:

  • Tutorials e.g. ‘how to give a cat a pill’ ‘how to trim a dog’s nails’, etc
  • Videos of cute or interesting animals that have visited
Blog Page

  • every blog has amazing images of food!
There are lots of topics you could blog about:

  • Interesting cases
  • Local issues eg ticks
  • General topics
  • Funny things
  • Team achievements

Don’t forget to add in an awesome image each time!

And don’t forget to add that ‘Photo Release Form’ to your files.

One last thing……

Remember King Arthur sells flour…. but to them, it’s more than just flour.  Check out this image I found on the internet:


So if these words can describe flour, what words would you use to describe your veterinary business?  Tell us in the comments section below.

You can connect with Judy Gillespie on:

Website: www.vetanswers.com.au

Facebook –  www.facebook.com/vetanswers

Twitter – www.twitter.com/judygi

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/judygillespie1 and www.linkedin.com/company/vetanswers

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/106272708963770524691/posts

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