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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

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

  • 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. (
  • 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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