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10 Ways to Optimize Your Practice Facebook Page

There are a few quick updates you can make to your practice page that will have big impact!

1: Vanity URL– Is your practice facebook page easy to find? If you aren’t using a custom url that say your practice name it might be. These are often called vanity url(s).

My vanity url is: https://www.facebook.com/dogdaysconsulting/ . It works like this, if you tag my business in a post and you use my Facebook username @dogdaysconsulting I will get a notification that you tagged me and if others click on that link it will go to my page! Win-win. You definitely want your clients using your @username in their posts about how great you were with their pet so their friends can click on the link and find out more!

Take a look at what your profile page is saying about your business and edit when needed.

If you aren’t sure what your username is, open your Facebook business page and look on the left hand side below the profile picture. You will see it listed there as your page name. You can edit this from the ‘About’ page.

2: Update Basic Info: Keeping your hours, phone number, address, website and other pertinent info updated is critical to making sure that your existing and potential new clients can find you easily!

3: Use Your Keywords: Not gonna lie, keyword research can be time consuming. It is one of the things that you can do over time and just make a list that you look at when you are creating content. More like a marathon not a race. The quick explanation for ‘keywords’ is to ask yourself what are people typing into a Google search bar to find veterinary hospitals like yours? ‘Veterinary Hospital Near Me’, ‘Vet for cats’, ‘vet for bulldogs’, etc. You get the idea.

Google ‘crawls’ our pages and websites and measures the use of keywords and that will help with SEO and searchability but don’t go overboard or use the same ones over and over. It’s too obvious that you are stuffing your page. It’s like in school having to write a paper and being required to use ALL the vocabulary words.

There are a few free tools you can use to find relevant keywords. I like the chrome extension Keywords Everywhere, and I also use Ubersuggest by Neil Patel. Both of these tools will list keywords found on a page and show you how they rank. Add the ones that relate to you to your keyword list.

4: Short Description: This is the short description area on the About page. This is where you can enter your practice/business mission statement. Use some of your keywords in this box as well.

5: The Practice Story: This is a longer description area that tells the story of the practice and your ‘why’ for doing what you do. Remember to use keywords that naturally fit into the flow of the story. Be compelling. Remember why you started your practice in the beginning. What brought you to the doorstep the day you decided to buy/open/start your practice.

6: Customizing Tabs: There are tabs on the right hand side of your page that help the viewers navigate your page. These tabs are there by default and can be moved around or turned off. For instance if you don’t have ‘Groups’ that you want linked to your page you can hide that tab from view. You can also rearrange the tabs to be in an order that you want listed.

7: Profile Picture: This will be what people see when you post or comment on posts. This image is small but needs to be good quality and represent your practice/business/brand well. Some practices use their logo, that isn’t a bad thing but can be a little cold. If you have images that are of you with a pet or something that shows your practice brand in action that would be a great profile picture. You can change your profile picture but remember you should be faithful to your branding and once people recognize your ‘brand’ you don’t really want to mess with it too much.

8: Cover Image: This is your business imaging real estate, much like a billboard on the side of the road. This image can and should change based on current seasons, monthly themes and so on. It could mirror the ongoing marketing agenda you are following INSIDE the practice. If you are promoting a certain product or service this would be a great space to highlight that. Always add your logo to the bottom right corner of the image to continue with your own branding.

9: Quality Content: Video, Shared Posts, Trending Topics, Images are all types of content. The kind of content you post will appeal to some and bore others. That is okay. The main idea here is to TRY to reach the broadest sampling of your intended audience and strike a balance. Check your resources. Don’t post things that are inflammatory, controversial, gross, ultra emotional or devastating. Your audience is not prepared to handle what you handle every day in practice.

10: Have Fun With It: Engage with your audience, respond to comments. Post fun things that happened at the practice or great community outreach you just participated in. This is a social site. It is in our nature to be be introverted professionally but in this instance there is a fine line you can walk that allows you to be extroverted professionally. Celebrate practice events and holidays, use random social media holidays for post ideas.

If you need more ideas on how to optimize your Facebook page or your other platforms please reach out to me! I’m happy to answer quick questions. I am accepting new clients and would love to work with you.

100’s of Obscure, Random, and Funny Holidays to use in Social Media!

Here you will find an exhaustive list of dates and links to random holidays you can use in your social media messaging.  I included animal related and non-animal related holidays so that you have a large creative pot to dip from.  Plus some holidays can become animal related if you need it too: Whipped Cream Day could easily be illustrated with an image of a pup getting a puppacino at your favorite coffee joint!

I have cited my sources below and will be updating my source list as my content list grows.

I have posted January for you! Get started NOW creating your content graphics and posts for January and save them in your favorite content calendar.  If you don’t have a favorite then take a look at mine here:  Holiday Content Calendar

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I use Trello and I love it. If you would like to try it you can use my recommendation link: Rhonda’s Trello Recommendation I do get Trello upgrades and such when you use my recommendation but I do not get paid nor has Trello sponsored this recommendation in any way.  I just like it!

I will be adding to this list as I get it ready.  I have found that a few calendar sources are slightly off in some of their days.  I have tried to fact check these dates as best as I can.  Please keep in mind that human error could still happen and the wrong date could be listed. I am truly sorry if this occurs, I tried my best to prevent goofs from happening.

Happy Planning!

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Monthly:

Walk Your Pet Month

National Train Your Dog Month

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month

Unchain a Dog Month

National Menudo Month *

National Bath Safety Month

National Black Diamond Month

National Blood Donor Month

National Braille Literacy Month

National Hobby Month

National Hot Tea Month

National Mentoring Month

National Oatmeal Month

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

National Slow Cooking Month

National Soup Month

National Sunday Supper Month

Daily

January 1st

January 2nd

January 3rd

January 4th

January 5th

January 6th

January 7th

January 8th

January 9th

January 10th

January 11th

January 12th

January 13th

January 14th

January 15th

January 16th

January 17th

January 18th

January 19th

January 20th

January 21st

January 22nd

January 23rd

January 24th

January 25th

January 26th

January 27th

January 28th

January 29th

January 30th

January 31st

Sources: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/january-overview/  https://www.lifelearn.com/2017/12/05/the-huge-list-of-pet-holidays-for-veterinary-practices/ 

Quick Tips For Improving Planning & Communication For The Team

The end of the year really can be inspiring for our business planning and organization.  It can also very quickly become daunting for most managers and owners to know WHERE TO START.  I loved and dreaded it all at the same time.  It was a great time for looking forward for the practice (or business), what should we change, improve, fresh starts, etc.

The actual end of year tasks was stressful and remembering them all was the worst part of the stress.  At the most recent practice, I managed I inherited a few organizational tools that were pretty neat and I have kept them going in my own business. I also brought along a few of my own that I developed over the years and with the advent of more technology.

Plain Jane Large Desk Calendar-

This is kind of a duh moment but they really are useful. Bear with me why I explain. These are the quick jot down a note on the date it matters type of calendars. Super quick, helpful, at a glance type of stuff. Here is the Amazon link to the one I have in mind:

Amazon Link Attached

The point of this calendar is to add all the important dates as soon as you get it and on the back of the cardboard write all the repetitive dates so you are ready to fill in 2020 when you get that calendar. Along the top row of the calendar, I wrote in upcoming dates and important things to remember so I could continue to project manage some fo the long-range tasks without losing sight of the timing.

Medium or Large Monthly Calendars or any Purse/Briefcase Size Calendar- 

This is my FAVORITE planning tool.  It is so basic and easy that it’s actually been more useful to me than all the other more detailed, filled out, pre-printed planners and organizers.

Amazon Link Attached

 

Amazon Link Attached

 

Mon Planner
Inside View

 

The planner I buy (regularly) is linked to Amazon and if you buy the 2 pack it’s cheaper than one alone. I actually buy the LARGE version and keep them on my desk.  However, if you want to be able to throw it in your briefcase or purse you will most likely want the MEDIUM ones. I use these to keep up with short-term appointments and events.  The great thing about these planners is that they are not dated so you can start on any month or day you want.

I also use these to plan and track my social media efforts. I still enjoy the old pen and paper planning where I can.  Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, but sometimes having it handy without having to turn on a computer is nice. If you would like to know more about how I organize any of this please email me and I will give you my run down on it.  I’m also considering a short Facebook video on the topic so commenting that you’d be interested in that would help!

Practice Management SoftwareVeterinary Specific

Preload your important dates that need to be reminded. So you add them, set up a reminder to yourself and voila your job reminds you of stuff you need to do your job. So here is how I used this tip: Scheduling regular fire extinguisher inspections can be made in the software management system to send me an email reminder that tells me it’s time for my pet: “Practice Maintenance” is due for “Fire Extinguisher Inspection”.  Please call us to schedule “Practice Maintenance’s” appointment. So yes, I created a fake pet and then set up a reminder template that no one will really ever use because it doesn’t make sense to anyone but me. Now, if you use this method, teach your team to watch out for these weird reminders so that they don’t include them when rushing through a new client or pet registration.

Google Calendar-

Google CalendarI liked managing team time off/vacation schedules this way.  One potential downside is getting everyone on the same page when it comes to regularly updating their schedules.  Some of the doctors and staff loved it and did it and others would drag along and not do it until it was almost too late or they were planning their next trip and wanted to know when EVERYONE else was off.  It can drive you a little batty if you don’t have complete buy-in.  If you can get team buy-in then it’s pretty nice.  I don’t mean to poo-poo this option because it’s great for looking at other people’s schedules prior to requesting a meeting when they are most likely available. Saves A LOT OF TIME from the back and forth schedule negotiations.

Slack or What’s App-

These are two great apps that allow teams to organize themselves into various groups and then to communicate in real time.  If I am a part of the tech team, management, and Christmas party organizing team, I can keep up with the various teams and the current conversations going on in those groups.  Check out these options and see if your team could use either of these programs. They are awesome.  I don’t get anything from recommending them, I just like them.

slack https://slack.com/

Whats Apphttps://www.whatsapp.com/

Trello-

My standby favorite is still Trello! If you haven’t looked at Trello give it a gander.  Here is a link from a previous post about it. Scroll down just below the article posted and take a look at the calendar.

Trello

Trello is an online calendar platform that uses boards, lists, and cards to organize your projects and much more.  You can have boards for ANYTHING.  I use it now to organize client info and projects, my own projects, even my recipes organized by type: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, holiday, etc.  I share the client boards with the clients themselves so they can use the board as well and then I get notifications if they have added something or scheduled something I need to know about. It’s really neat.

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You can find my own content board I set up in Trello.  This board lists cool dates and holiday organized by month.  Take a look at it in action to get a better idea of how it works.  This link is to my resources page (check it out, cool stuff): https://dogdaysconsulting.com/tools-resources/ 

Here is my recommendation link for Trello so you can get your own free account.  I get little upgrades and add-ons everytime someone signs up using my recommendation, I don’t get paid.  https://trello.com/rhondabellcvpm/recommend

These are the tips and tools I used most often to keep myself organized and productive.  I would love to hear from you what your favorite tips and techniques are.  Comment below if you have a great idea that works for you!

Happy Planning!

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100+ December 2018 Funny, Random & Weird Holidays for Social Media!

We want to wish you and yours a very happy holiday season!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Dog Days Consulting!

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December

Monthly:

Cat Lover’s Month (Animal Theme) 2965641_M

December dates to remember and use in your social media are listed below.  You will find the animal related ones in RED.  I will be posting the entire calendar for 2019 soon check back or subscribe to the blog and you will be notified by email when it posts.  Thank you for your interest and overwhelming support of this project.  I will keep it up for you!

Daily

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 9

December 10

December 11

December 12

December 13

December 14

December 15

December 16

December 17

December 18

December 19

December 20

December 21

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 26

December 27

December 28

December 29

December 30

December 31

*Day * – Proclamation

Sources:

November National Days

https://www.lifelearn.com/2017/12/05/the-huge-list-of-pet-holidays-for-veterinary-practices/

 

10 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress While Staying Mindful During The Holiday Season.

It’s “The Holidays” again…  I was totally doing great until right before Halloween.   That’s when I started making my “gotta do this for the holidays” “gotta do that for the holidays” lists.  Then it really kicked in.  I was already feeling stress and the beginnings of overwhelm. Time to dust off the stress reduction and coping techniques that have served me well in the past.  I thought I would share them.

I completely understand holiday stress.  I really understand regular stress but holiday stress is a different animal.  It is even more so when you manage a busy veterinary practice or any business for that matter.  I personally would DREAD the holidays in my work life.  In fact, as soon as the first holiday time off request hit the desk the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach began and didn’t end until we made it through “the holidays.”  I have always LOVED the holidays personally but my work stress was bleeding into that passion and love and I didn’t even notice it until I did something to change it.  Then I was awakened to how bad it was. Ugh.

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I was already tense as a busy full time manager, and then you throw in my staff all wanting to be off during the holidays, cranky overwhelmed owners, irritable cash strapped clients and it really amped up.  Sleep was not great, jaw was tense and tight, resting B face was in full effect from October to mid-January.  The point is this, we ALL feel an extra dose of stress during the holidays because of the additional financial, physical, emotional, and mental strain taking on the “extra” activities the holidays bring.

The invitations to parties, get-togethers with churches, with friends, work parties, family gatherings, etc. all add up this time of year.  That gets to be a lot of physical and emotional strain for some.  If you weren’t overwhelmed before reading this, you probably are now, right? Don’t be.  I’m here to share with you my tips I’ve learned throughout my career managing hospitals and now being a business owner, mom, wife, friend, and much more.

1. “Your job is to fill your own cup, so it overflows. Then, you can serve others, joyfully from your saucer.” Lisa Nichols

This is HUGE!  If you don’t take care of yourself and make time to take care of yourself how will you be able to cope with taking care of the needs of others?  It is NOT selfishness.  It is the biggest gift you can give to your family and friends.  Being emotionally and physically able to be present during the holiday gatherings and making so many positive memories is the best gift of the season.

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2. Be Mindful

When you are in the clinic fray and clients are upset, and you got yet another time off request that you don’t have the staff to cover, take a moment to be mindful.  Being mindful is simply stop and be in that moment.  What is going on around you and within you in that exact moment? Being positively mindful in that moment is wonderful but not highly likely.  So, be mindful and really present in the fact that this moment sucks! I know it’s not what all the gurus say, but I’m a realist.  It DOES suck.  It won’t suck long term but right now in this moment it does, and that’s totally ok.  Things will from time to time.  We know how to manage through this, and we can get through it.  Time to breathe a few deep breaths and stop mentally drafting your resignation.  Go for a quick walk, hug a puppy, pet the clinic cat, or just chat with a happy client up front.  These quick environment changes clear out the negative clutter.

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3. De-Clutter Your Work, Home, and Mental Space

Start decluttering now.  De-cluttering your work and living space will go a long way towards clearing out and de-cluttering your mental space.  When I get overwhelmed with “THE LIST” I pick 1 item and start.  Generally, it’s the smallest easiest item, so it’s a quick win.  Then go to the next easiest item.  The trick to this is yes, you are narrowing your list down to the hardest tasks, but you are prioritizing them by how easy they are to do next.  So in your mind when you approach the next item, you are seeking out the “easiest” one. Make sense? By the time you get to the last chore on your list, you are already remarkably accomplished!

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4. Maintain Your De-cluttered Space.

Don’t allow your de-cluttered space to become cluttered.  Train yourself to take a moment to straighten it every day.  You WILL love that when you come back the next day, it is ready for you, and when you get home, your home space is also ready for you as well.  This is a considerable win in the mental space maintenance department.

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5. Plan for Success At Home.

Do your best preparations at home first.  A de-cluttered home space will help invigorate you to tackle decluttering your work space.  Both of these spaces being free from frustrating items and reminders of tasks undone will lead to a de-cluttered mental space.

I own my own consulting business, as well as a few part-time endeavors I enjoy as well.  I don’t have a set schedule beyond what I do for myself.  I still set my alarm, get up, shower, get dressed for my work day, feed the pets, make my latte and check Facebook, and then log in 10 minutes early so I can start my day.  It’s important to my own mental attitude that I be ready to work.  If I don’t prepare for success, then I’m just off, and it’s hard to reset.  My clothes are washed and ready.  My dishes are clean and prepped (most of the time).

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6. Plan Ahead for Success at Work.

Don’t go into the season without a plan. You know what you know, so it isn’t a surprise.  Boarding will pick up.  Staff will want to take off.  Hospital hours will change for hospital closures. EVERYONE will be working with a shorter fuse.  So prepare for that…early.  Set up the boarding schedule with the kennel team.  Get them on board for the influx.  Get their feedback from the previous season to see what worked what didn’t.  This gets them on the boat with you and rowing in the same successful direction.  Same for the staff requests.  Acknowledge that everyone wants more time with family during the holidays and with cooperation and organization granting what is feasible is your biggest goal.  They can help with coordinating their needs before they come to you. Ask for that cooperation; the staff can work out who can cover what shift and so on. Present solutions, not problems.  For client interactions, train your staff on how handle the stress that comes from cranky clients.  Start off with comfortable, congenial conversations with clients when they check-in.  This starts the entire visit on the right foot.  It is hard to be blazingly mad at someone you have made a positive connection with only a few moments ago.  Disagreements and misunderstandings can be dealt with from a place of common ground if it is established early in the visit.

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Encourage your staff to be mindful and take short mental breaks when it gets tough.  Being able to have them identify that the cranky client is not personal and will not have a long-term effect on them is key.  My favorite saying is “No one gets to take up space in your head rent free.” This means that I don’t get to stay upset, mad, stressed, worried, unsure, or whatever just merely based on someone else’s feelings.  Irritated owner?? He/She can get over it.  It has nothing to do with you. If it did have something to do with you, then correct and learn what you can, so you don’t repeat it, then get past it.  Don’t take it into the future with you. Not helpful.

7. Delegate or Outsource What You Can

This is a tough one for managers.  We feel guilt for asking someone else to do a job that we perceive as our job.  I struggled with it as a manager.  I would’ve rather done it myself then feel the guilt or emotional turmoil that comes with asking some one else to do it. Problem with this philosophy is that I was most likely not accomplishing the task to my best most creative ability because I tremendously stressed under the work load I  had.  If you can delegate tasks to another team member then do it.  They will approach it from a fresh set of eyes and with a newer sense of passion.

Secondly along the lines of delegation is outsourcing.  Hire a consultant like myself or many others that are there solely to accomplish the bigger projects you just don’t have time for.  The sense of freedom that comes with handing off a big project to someone to do and knowing they have the skill set and project management know how to get it done will lessen your stress and work load tremendously.  There are lots of consultants that focus on many areas of the practice.  It isn’t hard to find one in your area usually.  Do a quick search for management groups in your area and see ask the leader who they recommend.  I know several so I can definitely point you in the right direction based on the types of work you need done.  Big picture is, hire someone to get that project started instead of knowing you should start it but never do.

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8. Prepare For The Parties But Be Ready To Say NO When You Need To.

If you are blessed as I am, I get invited and included in lots of holiday festivities.  Each one by themselves isn’t a major thing but adding it all up can take an emotional toll.  I personally love meeting with friends and family, but it does drain me.  That is just my personality.  I used to think that if I ever told anyone NO that they would be really hurt and not ever invite me again.  So I would go and not really enjoy myself because I was too tired and drained to enjoy the moment really.  I am sure they sensed it and was offended I wasn’t having a good time.  In reality, I bet they would have been fine with me saying no.  We all feel this same sort of stress, and it isn’t a slight to the host it is just time to be real with ourselves that we need a break.  It’s a timing issue not a judgment of their gathering.  When it is time to say NO, be gracious and kind but resolute that you need to recharge your batteries for a bit.

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9. Cooking and Party Planning

This tip is work and home related.  Take a quiet moment to plan out your meals during this busy season.  Failing to plan out healthy meals for you and your family will most definitely lead to poor convenience eating decisions that will make you FEEL WORSE in the end.  This time of year is great for breaking out the instant pot or slow cooker.  Plan for yummy comfort foods that can be prepped, frozen, and slow cooked for convenient weeknight meals.

If you have to bring food for hospital potluck, don’t get elaborate. Make something easy with only a few ingredients and throw it in a slow cooker, so it’s ready when you are.  Keep it simple.

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10. Just Stop

The biggest thing I want to share with you is to STOPJUST STOP.  It’s a wonderful thing to stop and just be aware.  Smell the yummy chili in the slow cooker, the fire in the fireplace, open windows that let in a crisp cool breeze, warm furry cat curled up next to you on the desk or couch, steamy hot latte, a blanket freshly washed warm from the dryer, etc.

It’s the little things that add up to big things.  When you have managed your stress and have a newfound sense of peace, you will enjoy each of the moments you now notice with your friends, family, coworkers, and clients.

That is where the memories are made…

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I wish you the best holiday season!

Blessings,

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The opinions expressed in this post are mine alone.  They do not offer or suggest medical advice. If you struggle from mental health issues or strain, stress, anxiety, depression, compassion fatigue, or burnout please talk to someone.  It’s important that you address these feelings and know that you are not alone.

If you do not know where to turn please reach out to me.  I would be happy to help point you in the direction of someone that could help.

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