Social Media and Your Breeding Business
A guide to obtaining and maintaining a large following
Gabrielle Plascak CPDT-KA
The rising number of people searching for information and shopping online leaves social media engagement as one of the best ways to get your business an online presence. It is important, as a professional breeder, to jump on the social media wagon and start growing a following. The virtual world is how society these days gather information, learn about options, and make final decisions. It is vital to keep up with the number of puppy shoppers browsing the web for their next family pet. Read on if you are searching for ways to gain trust, build a following, and keep that following.
Let’s begin with a little overview of the more popular platforms:
Short or long stories, pictures, videos, polls, live stream videos.
Go further with Facebook – Facebook groups allow you to search for specific topics and join groups with members who share the same interest as your business. For instance, if you breed hunting dogs you can look for groups who are joining together with the common interest in pointers, setters or just hunting in general. You can even try a topic that is not directly related. Join many groups and become active in those groups by answering questions, asking questions and engaging.
Pictures or short videos (under 60 seconds) with an optional short story attached. Hashtags are attached for followers to find you according to searched terms.
Text only, very short micro-stories, quotes, or facts
Long or short videos, tutorials, and tips. A good way to show the daily life in the shoes of a breeder.
Pictures and short videos sent to your contacts. The pictures you send will disappear after 24 hours and cannot be saved by viewers.
Only a Few Will Do
You don’t need to be on every single social media platform that exists, this will get exhausting and you will end up lacking quality in each post. Instead, focus on only a couple platforms so that you can grow a following and people will know exactly where to find you.
Monkey See Monkey Do
Once you narrow it down to a couple platforms, check out the social media sights of similar businesses. Try searching for breeders or pages of similar breeds and see how the experts are posting to get their following. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but you don’t want to outright copy them either. There is a healthy balance between researching what is working for others and recreating content in your own personal and unique way.
Know Your Audience and Talk to Them
Find your target audience and know who you are speaking to. If you are trying to talk to everyone then you end up talking to no one. You may think that any given person could be in the market for a puppy, but think about the type of person who would be drawn to the breed you are offering. Do you breed hunting dogs? Family dogs? Working dogs? Think about the lifestyle that the breed you represent requires. Think about what a person would search for when looking for your breed and place yourself in the path of your ideal audience.
Hashtags are a big part of social media mostly on Instagram. You can have up to 30 hashtags and it is recommended to use them all. Do some google searches on what the best hashtags are according to your niche and come up with a few different lists of 30 to test. You want to change it up every couple of months. Hashtag your location, your specific breed, breed group, and activity the breed participates in.
#bordercollies #workingdogs #herding
Above is an example of these types of hashtags.
Be aware of how many times a hashtag is used by others. Anything over 120,000 tags is too many and your photo may be drowned out. You can check this by typing out the hashtag on your Instagram in the search bar and it will provide you with the number of uses. Search each selected hashtag on Instagram yourself. Are the posts already posted under this hashtag relevant to what you will be posting? If not, take another look at your selection.
The Best Customers are Friends First
Reach out through your social media sites. Search your selected hashtags and pick posts that stick out to you. Get on their account and pick 3 recent posts (without scrolling) to like and comment on. Be genuine with your comments, add compliments and ask a question! Hey, great looking dog! I love the harness on him, where did you get that one from? Asking questions requires engagement and gets the other person to talk back! If someone likes or comments on your posts be sure to return the favor. Build relationships!
How Much Are Your Words Worth?
Before you post, ask yourself what lesson you are wanting your followers to take away from the post. If you cannot answer this question you should not post. Posts are meant to be engaging and add value to the life of your followers which is the reason they begin following you, and is what keeps them interested in your content. Fun breed facts, tips on first few puppy months, training tips, breeding tips and litter information are some topics to use that will add value to your posts.
Videos, Videos, and Live Videos
The only thing better than a good photo to grab attention is a video because videos get more views and they build more trust. This is especially true if you are in the video and are talking or teaching your audience something of value. Live streaming videos is extremely valuable and attracts a lot of followers. As a breeder with readily available puppies, live videos should be easy to provide. After all, who doesn’t love videos of puppies? The shorter and the more clear the message is the more successful the video will be.
To Post or Not To Post
Posting every day is not as important as posting consistently. Make a schedule and stick to it. Perhaps you choose to post on Facebook daily at 9:00 am then on Instagram 2-3 times per week at 2:00 pm. You can research the most impactful time to post according to your audience, but the most important thing is to consistently post the same days at the same times. This is so your followers begin to pick up on your pattern and look forward to when you post. Try to add some fun to it like doing theme days of the week such as Wacky Wednesday or Tattle Tail Tuesday. Post regularly but don’t overdo it and become obnoxious. Stay systematic and predictable.
Calling The Action
End every post with a call to action. A call to action is when you ask your readers to perform a specific task. “If you liked today’s content please like and tag 3 friends in this post” is an example of a call to action. An even better way to get action from followers is to offer something in return for their participation. The incentive could be a discount, a free handout of breed information, or maybe bonus videos. The incentive gives them a reason to tag friends. The more views the better chance people will participate and follow you.
Leave Social Media
Try engaging on the web in other areas and directing your engagement back to your social media accounts. Do a google search for topics you relate to and reach out to ask if you can write an article or blog on their site to get more awareness of your profession and business. Redirect readers to your social media for more content and information.
Pay to Grow?
Facebook offers the option to sponsor ads which means you can pay to have Facebook promote and share your posts with more viewers. This can get more views and engagement on posts and is a viable option once you start producing good content.
These tips will give you a head start at building a large and loyal following. The most important thing is to show the world what it really is like to be a breeder building a business. Show the fun times and the good times but don’t forget the hard times which can be the most real times. When people see what your day to day life is without the filter on it leaves you more trustworthy and relatable.