Is using social media and the internet the new wave of vet care? And, is this the way pet owners should diagnose and treat their pets? Probably not. Dr. Jeffrey Feinman who has a large social media investment in his homeopathic Practice does maintain a physical facility and sees patients at his Weston, Connecticut location. But, he believes that social media is a way for pet owners to access the newest information on homeopathic pet care. “Social media and the internet are invaluable tools used to communicate information to the largest audience,” states Dr. Feinman. “The internet has increased the public awareness of homeopathic vet care. In fact, I first learned about homeopathic pet care on the internet, many years after I started practicing.”
Dr. Jeff Feinman @drjeff_feinman 14 Apr The body heals. Naturally. Animals in the “wild” listen to their bodies and treat holistically. Why can’t we? #petcare… http://fb.me/1F5k8WJJB Summary Reply Retweet Favorite More pic Reply to @drjeff_feinman
Is that some sort of computer geek talk? Nope. It’s just a “tweet” from Dr. Feinman’s Twitter account. He uses social media to share his knowledge and passion for homeopathic veterinary care. And, Twitter is an online, social networking service that enables its users to send and read text-based instant messages known as “tweets”.
Dr. Jeff as he’s known in the social media world, uses his “tweets” to reach not only Connecticut pet owners and vets, but with the enormous power of social networking, he can reach his followers around the world. There’s an amazing amount of information for pet owners contained in his one 140 word tweet. And, once you get the hang of it, deciphering a tweet is relatively easy.
Let’s look at Dr. Jeff’s tweet. To access and read the original article referred to on “how animals heal their bodies naturally,” you would click on the story link, the http: line, in the tweet. A user can also click on the “#” (hash tag) to access similar information posted by others on Twitter. Or, click on the “reply” link and comment directly to Dr. Jeff, and all his followers–in this case more than 560. And, yes, you can also see photos posted on Twitter. Just click on the “pic” link.
Interested in the newest, and in many cases, “live” information on homeopathic pet care? Just “follow” Dr. Jeff’s daily tweets. Dr. Jeff will often post “live tweets” while attending a conference on the newest homeopathic remedies. Accessing Dr. Jeff’s daily tweets is as easy as clicking on the “follow” link in the tweet and Dr. Jeff’s tweets will now appear in your “tweet” stream. Click on “retweet” to let other readers know that this tweet contains important info that you want to share. Need access to Dr. Jeff’s website and his Facebook page? Just click on his Twitter profile link for that info.
Don’t have a twitter account? Find out how to do it at www.twitter.com.
Want to “chat” with other pet owners about homeopathic veterinary care? Check out Dr. Feinman’s web site at http://www.homevet.com. Along with the usual address, phone number and hours, a reader can access the site’s “Pet Forum” to speak to each other, online, about their pet’s vet care. And his “Ask Dr. Jeff” link on the website enables readers to ask questions directly.
The online communication between pet owners and pet professionals doesn’t end with twitter and websites.
Facebook, another, and extremely popular online social networking service, allows users to create their own Facebook page with a personal profile. Facebook users can then add other users as friends, and exchange messages with friends and with the entire social networking world.
For Chris Gatti, owner of Gracelane Kennels, a boarding facility for cats and dogs, his web site and Facebook accounts are very important to his business. According to Gatti, “You can really reach your customers with the most immediate information about your business. These services also allow your customers to review and comment about your business for other potential customers to read.” With social media that can be good or bad but there’s another advantage: when Gatti’s phone lines were down, Facebook was the only way he could communicate with his customers.
Clicking on the Facebook page for Gracelane Kennels, a user can not only get the usual, Gracelane’s address, telephone number, and hours of operation, but Gatti can post photos and info that can be seen instantly by users. His May 3, 2013 Facebook posting had a photo of Gracelane’s newly installed system that allows pet owners to see “live” images of their pets while they’re boarded at the facility!
Does the use of social media “work” for all pet-centric services or facilities? Not according to Joanne Steiner, owner of “Oliver’s Place,” a pet store specializing in quality pet food and treats in Wilton, CT. Although Steiner maintains a web site for the store–www.oliversplacellc.com, “Social media services like Facebook and Twitter just don’t work for us.” With a customer base of just the surrounding communities, i.e., Westport, Weston, Norwalk, Ridgefield and Danbury, “Word of mouth is the best advertising for us. In fact, we have stopped all of our advertising except for a local on line newspaper.”
For the South Wilton Veterinary Group an integrated (read interactive) web site works well. Clicking on southwiltonvet.com allows patients of the group to access a “Pet Portal” and then choose from the following links on the site; “Connect with your veterinarian 24/7,” “Search our extensive pet health library,” “Review your pet’s vaccination due dates,” “Check your pet’s health records.” The site also allows patients to make and break appointments and access the newest info on pet food recalls. Need a dog trainer? There’s a link there to a local trainer, as well as a link to the Home Again Micro Chip web site and a link to resources on pet nutrition. South Wilton also maintains a Facebook page for access to immediate info.
Want the latest news about pet food recalls, legislation affecting animal welfare, lost pet announcements and pets available for adoption? There’s a Facebook page that posts all of that on oe site. Go explore www.facebook.com/pages/Animals-Matter-News. And for an open chat group just for bird lovers, go to facebook.com/groups to chat with other bird owners.
Social media networking does not only promote products and services and assist communication for pet owners. It has substantially increased “cause marketing” for many pet businesses: when a business or service aligns with a community project or event. Posting content about the events on Facebook pages and twitter accounts allows these pet businesses to openly connect with the community.
For pet owners, social media is a place for instant information and gratification. For a more relaxed, local and informative approach there’s The Pet Gazette!
Want to chat with another dog owner about your puppy’s housebreaking issues, or look up the best remedy to stop cats from scratching your furniture? This information is only a click away on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
And the information is free, instant and endless, just like The Pet Gazette!