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Podcast: How Pet Business Professionals Can Get More From Social Media Platforms

Host Keith Miller chats with Katherine Martin of Whirlaway Marketing.

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IN THE LATEST EPISODE of our new podcast Behind the Pages, host Keith Miller welcomes social media expert Katherine Martin from Whirlaway Marketing for a wide-ranging discussion of doggie influencers, Facebook, Instagram and even Kendall Jenner.

If you’re a pet business owner struggling to maximize your social media time investment, this conversation will provide you with key do’s and don’ts for major social platforms.

Connect with Katherine and Whirlaway Marketing on Instagram at @whirlawaymarketing, or on her company website whirlawaymarketing.com.

Behind the Pages host Keith Miller is the owner of Bubbly Paws, a self-service dog wash and grooming salon with four locations in the Minneapolis area. If you have questions or suggestions for future Behind the Pages podcasts, email Keith at keith@bubblypaws.com.

SHOW CHRONOLOGY
  • 2:15 Starting off with a discussion of animal influencers, Keith mentions the large number of “doggie stage parents” and “Doug the Pug” wannabes he has been meeting recently.
  • 2:55 Katherine discusses work she is doing (new website and launch strategy) for a dog-walking service that is expanding to become more of a dog social club.
  • 4:10 Quick aside: Is there a more perfect place for joint human-canine fun than dog breweries?
  • 5:00 Twitter. Is it a place for people to complain, or more than that? Katherine sees it as a great place to promote events or share videos.
  • 7:00 Instagram. What gets more attention — the feed or Stories? Katherine says Stories is the place for engagement. She says video is becoming increasingly important aspect of Instagram, as evidenced by the company recently putting “Instagram TV” in people’s feeds.
  • 9:00 Snapchat. Not for everyone, but some people — Katherine mentions universities — are seeing some success with that platform.
  • 10:30 What is the best way to do Instagram? Keith prefers a weekly approach, and uses the Hootsuite tool to schedule his posts. Katherine recommends creating themes and batching them for a month. She also recommends creating a separate content calendar for each platform.
  • 12:10 Should you use auto-follow and auto-comment tools? Katherine says no, as they’re now frowned upon by the platforms. “It’s definitely not something that you would want associated with your account,” she says.
  • 12:40 Even if you use scheduling tools to post, try not to “post and ghost”, says Katherine. “It’s not a set it and forget it type of tool. You should always be responding to comments, questions, direct messages because it’s going to create a community around your business and it will make a huge difference in what the platform will do for your business.”
  • 13:35 Make sure to vary your message. Katherine mentions a local restaurant who continually posted images of various dishes and a numbingly repetitive message — come to lunch, come to dinner, come to lunch, come to dinner. “There’s no reason to engage with that,” she says.
  • 14:20 Katherine discusses the importance of differentiating content — mixing categories (user-generated content, content featuring your team, videos, etc) on a daily and weekly basis.
  • 15:50 On selecting the right type of influencers to support your business. (Hint: you’re not targeting Kendall Jenner.)
  • 17:30 Keith talks about his current Instagram mission — reaching 10,000 followers so he will have access to the platform’s “swipe-up” function allowing the sharing of links directly from Instagram stories.
  • 19:50 Is Instagram become a platform for more candid, casual content? Both Keith and Katherine say yes. Katherine says there is increasing enthusiasm for inspirational quotes, GIFs and memes. She also suggest turning tweet into graphics using a Canva template. (canva.com)
  • 20:20 What’s the optimum posting frequency on Instagram Stories? Katherine suggests as much as every 12 hours “if possible”. But don’t suddenly post 20 times in an hour either.
  • 21:05 How do you judge success on Instagram — impressions or interactions? Quality interactions should always be your focus, says Katherine, who then explains why.
  • 21:45 Turning to Facebook, Keith asks if there is anything a small business can do to make their posts more visible. Katherine suggests video as a key tool. She also suggests looking to cross-post content into relevant groups — i.e. a local group of pet owners. (But remember, this only works if your content is oriented at helping people rather than promoting your business.)
  • 23:40 How much should you spend to promote a post? Katherine says her clients might spend between $2 and $20 to promote a post. But she notes that promoted posts should have a clear goal and a link that sends people to your website.
  • 25:30 The value of using geo-targeting with your Facebook ads, and what to look for in a social media manager.
  • 29:00 Keith asks a series of questions provided by members of the PETS+ Facebook group.
  • 29:15 Reader question: “Do I need to hire a professional photographer for pictures?” Since it’s such an important representation of your business, Katherine says yes … if you can afford it.
  • 30:15 Reader question: “Are hashtags still cool?” Katherine: “I think they still work, but you have to be very intentional about how you use them.” She suggests using hashtags that are “relevant and local”, without spending too much time researching them. She shares three key questions she asks herself before using a hashtag.
  • 32:10 Reader question: “I keep posting questions on Instagram but not getting much interaction. Are there any techniques to boost interaction right away?” Katherine says that one issue might be that you’re not interacting with others outside your page. She also suggests using the poll function of Instagram to see what your followers want you to ask about.
  • 33:20 Reader question: “I did a big no-no and bought followers on Instagram. How much trouble am I in?” Says Katherine: “You’re really running the risk of getting caught by your target audience who you’re trying to influence.”

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Behind the Pages

Podcast: Learn More About Fi, the Ultimate in GPS Dog Collars

In addition to its many functions, its battery goes up to three months without a charge.

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ON THE NEXT Behind the Pages podcast, host Keith Miller finds out the back story of Fi, a tech startup that developed “the Apple Watch” of GPS dog collars. Keith’s guest is Fi founder and CEO Jonathan Bensamoun, who developed the collar and app with his dog, Thor, in mind.

This collar is amazingly cool, with GPS tracking capability, activity tracking, light for night walking, a waterproof case, interchangeable nylon straps in two colors and an Apple or Android app that controls and monitors the whole thing wherever anywhere a cell signal is present. And — get this — its battery goes up to 3 months without a charge. (For now, the collar is sold only through the company’s website, tryfi.com, and the company is exploring distribution through other means.)

Keith and Jonathan discuss the collar but then go into the challenges of starting a company and bringing a product to market. Don’t miss this episode if you’re into tracking your dog’s fitness routine or whereabouts — or if you’ve got an idea for a product you dream of launching.

Behind the Pages is created by Keith Miller of Bubbly Paws, located in the Minneapolis, MN, area. New episodes will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Behind the Pages on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts. Or check our podcast page. for past episodes.

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Behind the Pages

Podcast: Wellness Junkie “Coach Caitie” Teaches You to Care for Yourself as Well as You Care for Your Pets

It’s time to start following some of the same advice you give to your customers about their pets.

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IN THE LATEST Behind the Pages podcast, host Keith Miller discusses ways to hone your own health and fitness to give you the energy and stress-free mood you need to run your business at a higher level. His guest is health coach and self-proclaimed “wellness junkie” Caitie Motta (coachcaitie.com).

Spoiler alert: The key to success involves diet and exercise … and a lot of the same advice you give your customers about their pets — but forget to follow yourself.

In their discussion, Miller and Motta tak about eating to improve mood, the importance of finding the right exercise regimen for you, sticking with it, and not beating yourself up too much when you inevitably back-slide.

Don’t have time to listen to the latest episode of Behind the Pages immediately when it launches on Friday? Here’s one tip you can get started with immediately: Reduce stress by setting some boundaries in your life. Put your phone on “do not disturb” and check it only at set times. Do the same for email. Belong to groups with negativity? Quit them. Let staff members know what matters to approach you with and when.

Behind the Pages is created by Keith Miller of Bubbly Paws, located in the Minneapolis, MN, area. New episodes will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Behind the Pages on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts. Or check our podcast page. for past episodes.

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Behind the Pages

Podcast: Talking Cybersecurity, and Keeping Your Pet Business Safe Online

Stay safe with password managers, two-factor authentication, and be wary of cloud-based software.

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ON THIS EPISODE of Behind the Pages, podcast host Keith Miller talks with cyber security expert Chris Moschovitis, author of the book, Cybersecurity Program Development for Business. He was part of the team that developed Vet Office Suite software for veterinary practices, but Moschovitis’ current — and career-long — focus is on keeping businesses’ computer systems and data secure. The two delve into ways to keep your business safe online with password managers, two-factor authentication, the perils of cloud-based software and backup practices.

Don’t have time to listen to the current episode of Behind the Pages yet? Here’s one tip from the conversation to get you started to keeping your business safe: Use a service like LastPass for companywide password management. Short of that, use a meaningful phrase all run together combined with something like a childhood phone number.

Behind the Pages with Keith Miller of Bubbly Paws, located in the Minneapolis, MN, area, posts a new episode the first Friday of every month. Check out petsplusmag.com/education/podcasts for past episodes and links to subscribe with your favorite podcast service.

New episodes of Behind the Pages will be released on the first Friday of every month. Subscribe to Behind the Pages on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts

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