Get the most from social media at BSAVA Congress

Social Media at BSAVA Congress

It’s time for BSAVA Congress 2017, and already twitter knows and it is impossible to miss. However is social media making an impact in your marketing or just being ignored?

Here are my 5 tips to getting the most from Social Media at #BSAVA17

1. Say hello…

A lot of people tend to treat social media the same way that they would a newspaper or radio advert. However social media is a 2 way interactive medium. You do not need to demand people do an action to start the relationship, instead you can start your relationship right there right then by saying hi online.

2. Remember your name…


Depending on if you are a company or individual this may not be so relevant, however if you are using a company account ending the message you are posting with your name gives people a way to find you in real life on your stand if you are at the exhibition. Even adding it into the account description can be useful…

Even better if people are active having separate accounts for each staff member can be a bigger boost to getting that relationship going.

3. Answer questions…

Are you an expert in anaesthesia? Or maybe you know about blood transfusion? Watch out on the twitter hashtag for people asking questions and if you know the answer then reply to them. It can lead to great conversations and gives you the opportunity to build your “expert” status.

4. Deliver value…

They say give and you will receive. Does what you are sharing give value to people seeing it? Does it help them solve them a problem? Does it help people see something amazing? Does it make them laugh? People are so good at ignoring adverts that they barely register now, so make sure that everything you post has value for the person you want to read it.

5. Use the #BSAVA17 hashtag…

The BSAVA have a great tweet wall in the entrance hall for the lectures, get up here and you are directly in front of your audience that shows people at the conference using #bsava17 in their tweets. Remember however it is filtered and those that are not adding value are quickly deleted and blocked from showing here so following the tips above will help.

Hopefully with this 5 social media tips you will see a return in the number of relationships you build this BSAVA Congress. Personally for me since the growth of webinars I believe that offline conferences like this are all about socialising, talking to colleagues and getting to see the really cool new toys in person.

Please do feel free to come and join us in Hall 6 on Saturday afternoon (2pm) to learn more about how you can get social media to work for you. If you cannot and want to talk about social media then drop me a message and we can grab a coffee.

A permanent solution to a temporary problem, suicide, perfectionists, and failure (Day -284)

Vet Suicide Chart

Suicide. Death. The End. Is it an escape? Or being let down?

There was a meme that went round recently of a Dr leaving a consultation room after telling a family their son had died. It was captioned: only one of these people is going back to work today.

Now consider this:

Vets are 4x more likely than the general population, and 2x more likely than those in health care professions to die by suicide (UK study Bartram et al, 2010).

Nearly 1/10 US veterinarians suffer severe psychological distress, and 1/6 have had suicidal thoughts since graduation (CDC Notes, 2014).

Last week 2 vets committed suicide (that I know about).

We want the best vets possible so select the highest achieving perfectionist straight A students there are, push them through the toughest school there is, and put them into a profession where they will fail.

Why fail? Animals will die. No matter how good you are there will be animals you cannot save. Animals that owners decide are too much work or too big for their flat so have you euthanise. Animals that you do everything you know how to save that just die. Animals where owners cannot afford the treatment you want.

And then there are the questions you ask yourself. The questions that keep you from sleep at night. What else could I do better? What could I do different? Could I save that animal?

The next day it repeats. The next week it repeats. These people that have succeeded at everything they have ever done are failing. Nature is beating them in the battle of life.

Then there are owners. Who demand the world for nothing. And then blame the vet when they lose.

Could it actually get worse?

Now there is an even bigger potential problem with social media causing the suicide of vets through cyberbullying. Not by their patients, or owners that they have worked with. Complete strangers that have a single side of the story that judge them.

I saw it on Facebook  last night – a owner posting about making complaints to a vet after their pet died and getting cheered on by people that knew nothing about the backstory – a quick search of the group showed that the owner posted a few days earlier about their pet not eating for several days before they went to the vet…

Yet it is the vets fault the animal died. This perfectionist that tried to fix a problem compounded by the owners delay in seeking treatment who failed. Now judged publically as a failure by people they do not even know.

Is it a problem? Is the suicide rate going go up as cyberbullying increases?

There have been changes, there are people getting involved to reach out and help people who ask for their help. In the UK we have the excellent vetlife helpline which is there for vets in need.

Something that has always confused me is that we are really good at expecting people to come to us. We tend to be reactive rather than proactive. This is what I think the next step in reducing the number of suicides will be. Some kind of proactive system for monitoring the mental health of vets.

Actually around midnight last night I came up with an idea that I am going work on over the next month or so that I hope may be able to do this. I will keep you updated.

The VET Festival for One Medicine – Day 2 Roundup….

Festival busker at vet festival

In his last lecture yesterday Noel said that he had txt God asking for the Sun to be turned on, and this morning it really was. For the first time all week my sunglasses came out of their bag and onto my head. However that is not what I want to write about so back to the VET Festival…

Today is day 2 (and the last day) of VET Festival 2015….

vet festival with Noels ordered sun

One of the first vets I met when I arrived at the Fitzpatrick Referrals center on Tuesday was Clare Rusbridge, one of the senior neurosurgeons at the center. On Tuesday I learnt a ton (I will write about this later!) and Wednesday even more, however today blew me away with an update on Canine Epilepsy. Pushing the limits of technology Clare used interactive txt polling to engage the audience. It was such a big topic that I will write a post just about this later, however the take home messages were that diazepam is not effective (I tested Clare’s reaction here to confirm it!) and that diagnostic tests do not exist for idiopathic epilepsy. Something else I was shocked by is that pharmaceutical companies consider a seizure drug “effective” if it reduces seizures by just 50% – personally this seems a low threshold for me…

Canine epilepsy with Clare Rusbridge

I then headed outside of the main lecture streams (they’re being recorded so I will watch every single one later!!!) however I wanted to learn some more about The Humanimal Trust. This new charity is all about vets and human doctors working together towards One Medicine – sharing expertise for the benefit of all. Even though we are both in the medicine field until today there has been little collaboration between vets and doctors. Actually when you look at the drug development cycle it takes around 13 years to get a new drug to market, and 10% of drugs do not make it on a mouse model… Yet if vets were engaged and dogs were used in the development the time and cost to develop new medicines would decrease greatly! The Humanimal Trust is all about animal and human healthcare moving forward together sharing advances.

The Humanimal Trust for one medicine

It then all became about the spine, such a small amount of time for such a big topic, and my first lecture with Noel. This was different to most with the opening words being about remembering that picking up a scalpel needs to be a carefully considered and thought out decision. It has become tradition for Noel to pick on a member of the audience to help with demonstrating different techniques, and today it was Ian Holsworth…

Noel Fitzpatrick demonstrating on Ians Holsworth

I then had the pleasure of hearing Laurent Findji talk about hepatobiliary surgery – this is surgery of the liver and gallbladder with the associated connecting duct to the intestines. Generally liver surgery is one of the more interesting parts of soft tissue surgery with some highly technical procedures. The liver is split into different lobes all connected to a central area – in terms of surgery the left liver lobe is a lot easier to remove than the right liver lobe. Also it is somewhere you need to be able to get good exposure as the liver sits right against the diaphragm at the end of the ribs.

Laurent Findji talks about hepatobiliary surgery

Something I was really interested in learning about were limb sparing surgery options where instead of amputation a bone (or part of one) may be removed and replaced with an artificial one or a part from elsewhere in the body. This was given by Will Eward from the Duke Cancer Center who is a vet and a human orthopaedic surgeon. During this I learnt loads that will be useful into my future – however the most important points were that when dealing with cancer it really is important that surgery should be planned properly, as correcting future mistakes can be devastating. Once a joint capsule is contaminated then it must be removed preventing artificial joints from being placed. The most dramatic surgery discussed here was a rotationalplasty which is where a knee joint is replaced with the ankle joint – success of this hinges on which way you rotate the foot.

Dr Jane Goodall speaking at VET Festival 2015

The last lecture of the weekend was delivered by someone that is a driver of change in the world for the better, Dr Jane Goodall. The room was packed, and this was the first speaker of the weekend to get a standing ovation from some of the smartest vets, vet nurses and vet students in the world. Dr. Goodall told her fascinating story of how she went from a little girl reading Dr. Doolittle to one of the foremost experts on chimpanzees. It is not my story to tell so I will leave it there; however it is a reminder of how one can achieve whatever they dream if they take the risk.

Dr Jane Goodall standing ovation

The VET Festival is now over; however the journey to One Medicine for One Health has only just begun and I hope that I, as well as you all will be part of it!