“CommsorOS gives me a really in-depth understanding of all our members.”
Pet Care Collective is a community for professionals working in veterinary medicine. The community’s members include everyone from vet med students to receptionists to Chief Veterinary Officers.
A lot of the conversation around veterinary practices centers on the pet patients. But the team at hound thinks the veterinary medicine professionals need help and care, too.
That’s why they started Pet Care Collective in March 2021, a Slack community where the humans of veterinary medicine — or vet med, as those in the know call it — have the space to connect about everything from hiring to student loan debt to mentorship.
“Veterinary medicine has a very high self-harm rate compared to the general population because of a lot of different factors like feeling alone and getting stressed about student loan debt,” says Sara Ott, Head of Community Experience at hound. “We want to build camaraderie and show them that they’re not alone.”
Their mission is to create a better, brighter future for the people of vet med. With a Slack community of 600 members and counting, Pet Care Collective is helping foster relationships and start conversations among vet med pros across the US.
When Pet Care Collective launched, the whole team was working part-time to get the community and hound’s product up and running. The team was and still is small — Sara makes up the entire Community team. She also works on their marketing and has to balance the demands of managing a community with launching products and marketing campaigns.
In her Community role, she has to single-handedly build and manage the community in an industry where members are used to their work being on the ground vs. online.
Their community base is also diverse, with members ranging from vet med students to seasoned veterans. With this generational divide comes differences in how Pet Care Collective’s members approach work and networking, and the tools they use for both.
“We’re trying to build a community with a bunch of different facets, which is a lot of work for a very small team to do,” says Sara.
Sara has used CommsorOS to help her manage and understand Pet Care Collective since day one. “It made a lot of sense for us to start the community with CommsorOS, especially with the automations when we are such a small team,” she says.
The Slack automations are a huge part of Sara’s workflow. Pet Care Collective uses the CommsorOS Signup Form to onboard new members, saving her countless hours of manually adding new members to the community. She also welcomes new members with the Auto Welcome Message feature in CommsorOS.
“Being able to send welcome messages directly from CommsorOS, without having to go into Slack, is great,” she says. “It allows me to change what we want to say, and make it personalized and relevant, with a few clicks.”
Another benefit to using CommsorOS since day one is having access to all the data since the community’s inception. It’s helped Sara understand the pulse of the community, spot trends in engagement, and analyze the seasonality in vet med to capitalize on periods of high activity.
The reports also help her understand how to balance her time on marketing activities for the larger business with her time spent in the community. “If I'm not as active and the activity drops, then I realize I need to shift focus a little bit more. It shows the cost of me not being involved in the community and having to push my focus fully away from it,” says Sara.
Sara and the community love the power of Meetsy, another of Commsor’s products, to make one-to-one connections between people. While they have a general match program at the moment, she is working on creating a dedicated space for vet med students to connect with one another on Meetsy.
“They’ve had online school because of COVID-19 to the point where they’re hungry to get to know each other and build camaraderie in a way they’ve not been able to,” she says. “We want to give them the opportunity to have that more unique peer-to-peer interaction.”
The team hosts both online and offline events for members and uses CommsorOS’s Events tool to plan events and track attendees. “It’s easy for me to create an event and share a link where people can sign up, get all the information they need, and add it to their calendars all in one place,” says Sara.
While most of Pet Care Collective’s members are vet med staff and professionals, there are also consultants and vendors who join to be part of the broader community. Sara uses CommsorOS’s Companies tool to see who has joined and how the community might be able to partner with them from a business standpoint. “CommsorOS gives me a really in-depth understanding of all our members,” she says.
Sara also uses CommsorOS’s Segments feature to see geographic distribution among members for potential launches of hound beyond the 20 cities it currently operates in. “A lot of our launch strategy in those different cities is finding where those pools of jobseekers or community members are, and being able to launch employers on hound in those areas,” she says. “Being able to have that core group of people in each one of these cities has made it so much easier.”
Sara has worked in community-facing roles before in marketing and customer success, and this is her first role dedicated to building and growing a community. Neither she nor the hound team have a formal community background.
So as an active member of The Community Club and a Commsor customer, she often turns to the community and to the Commsor team when she needs a partner in Pet Care Collective’s journey. “This is a group of people and a community that practice what they preach. It’s been fun to see for someone like me who’s trying to build a community for the first time, and in an industry that might not be so used to it,” she says. “Having that partner and community to lean on as I'm trying to build has been invaluable in a way that I can't quantify.”