Using Social Media To Promote Your Pet Product
There is a lot of information available online about how to use social media for marketing purposes and we don’t want to simply repeat that. However, we do have advice after our years of experience running pet business social media accounts that you may not find online.
These are the key points:
Social media is all about being social. To be social, you don’t just stand talking about yourself and how great you are. You also chat to people, talk about how they are doing, offer advice is needed and react to their news. The same applies to social media – react to, and engage with, other people.
Social media accounts that aren’t social won’t thrive.
If you are ever in any doubt about the suitability of a post, then DON’T post it! Always be nice to people. Avoid politics, religion, sex and anything else that could be controversial.
Be careful with humour. Always ensure that it isn’t at someone else’s expense.
Define why you want to use social media and what you want to get out of it More sales? Good reviews? Brand awareness? Do you want to be seen as experts in your field? Decide on a couple of objectives and keep these in mind whenever you use your selected social media platforms. Ideally make these “SMART” objectives to measure ROI.
Website as a central online “hub”
It’s important to remember that all social media accounts should refer back to your website where possible. One of the main aims of social media is always to get people to visit your website. Use links to your site, point people to relevant information, keep your website blog updated and link to it on social media.
Your website should always be the “heart” of your business online with everything else (social media, e-newsletters, blog posts, online forums, pay per click adverts) linking back to it.
Engagement or Followers?
As a general rule of thumb, it is better to aim for high levels of engagement than judge the success of the account by the number of followers. Engagement means that people aren’t skimming by your posts without reading them. It means that they are stopping and thinking about them, before moving on.
Which Social Media?
Don’t try and use every platform. We recommend selecting 2 or, at the very most, 3, to concentrate on. Research which demographic groups use which platform and select according to your target market.
If possible, select platforms that you enjoy using. This will help to ensure that you are motivated to keep them updated.
If you’re not familiar with the platform, create a personal account and follow brands similar to your own. Observe the type of posts they are sharing and how they interact with their audience. Pick out the ones with the highest engagement and see who they are following. Follow the same accounts.
Watch to see who are influencers in your target market. Influencers are people with very high numbers of followers and high levels of engagement. These are the people that you should particularly aim to engage with.
Keeping on Brand
You will need to give some thought to how you want your brand to appear on social media to ensure that you keep the same “tone of voice” throughout your posts. If you are a sole trader then it is easy enough to be yourself. If you have a number of different people running your social media accounts then you will need a brief guide and a social media policy to ensure that everyone knows what you are aiming to achieve and what the boundaries are.
Social Media Policy
Talking of social media policies, if you haven’t got one, then write one. There are plenty of suggested policy wordings online and it’s important to set guidelines and expectations for employees.
A social media policy should include what people post in their private personal social media profiles as well as company accounts. It should make clear how you expect staff to comment about the business, what, if any, internal images can be shared and what action will be taken if these guidelines are not followed.
Post Content: What To Include
The first golden rule to remember is to never post anything without an accompanying image. In the big sea of social media posts out there, unless you have an image that illustrates your point, your post will be practically invisible.
Use images that look as professional as possible. Learn how to edit photos and always crop off any unnecessary part of the image. Keep the main subject central. Use filters if they brighten the image or improve it in some way.
Images from customers, photos taken at events or snaps taken when out and about are fine to share just as they are. There is evidence that people also like to see “normal”, everyday images as well.
Video is great for demonstrating a product or service or showing how something works.
If you can manage to persuade a customer to do a video review of your product, then use it as much as possible.
Pet videos are wonderful for amusing or cute video clips. Browse around and find the best accounts that share these videos and follow. Share whenever you a find clip that appeals.
If you are not directly sharing, but “borrowing” the video, always credit the original source.
By far and away the best posts are always reviews and comments from happy customers. If you receive an email or any other form of communication from a customer thanking you for your product or service, ask their permission to post it on social media and ask if they can send a photo of their pet to accompany it.
Video reviews from customers, if you can persuade them to do it, are a wonderful way of promoting your brand.
Try and find out the name of the pet and the owner’s social media profile names so that you can tag them in the post. This will make them more likely to share the post with their contacts.
Other ideas for content
- Updates from shows and events; visitors to your stand, pets wearing/using/eating your products, views of the show, location of your stand on a show plan, updates on what is selling well. If you do feature pet visitors, make a note of their name and their owners social media profile name if possible.
- Top tips/advice/helpful information – these posts always go down well. Helpful information is often shared, extending your reach beyond your followers, which is great!
- Pets reacting to your products
- Your own pets and their day to day lives
- New products/services – and if they are selling well, make sure that people know.
- Remember – be social. Share good content from other accounts, especially those that you wish to engage with, such as influencers or potential customers.
- Competitions to win a prize that require sharing a post or other engagement that will meet your objectives
- Offers exclusively to social media followers, encouraging people to sign up to a newsletter for further offers.
Ideal Anatomy of a Post
- Main message
- Tag in anyone that might be involved or might want to know about something specific
- Call to action
- Link to website
- Add location/”check in” if appropriate
- Add relevant hashtag/s
Dealing with negative comments
Try and keep the conversation online. If people can see that you are going out of your way to help, they will see that when things go wrong, you will provide good customer service and ensure that the issue will be resolved.
If someone is clearly being unreasonable and just posting to be spiteful or provocative, (known as “spamming”) then it is often better to ignore the post. Your followers are human and will be able to see the comments for what they are. Replying can inflame the situation and prolong the effects.
There are a number of pet social media accounts where the pet is supposedly the one writing the posts. If you can pick out a specific pet account with a high number of followers and high engagement, with a pet that is very likely to use your product or service, then this is an ideal opportunity for promoting your product. Contact the “pet” and ask if you can send them a sample of your product to review.
A positive review from such an influencer, talking in the voice of the pet, can be a highly powerful promotional tactic.
Aim to post at least every couple of days, but if you have nothing to post, then don’t. There is no point posting boring content that people won’t find relevant or interesting.