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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 14 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: Travel Deals for the Pet Pro on the Latest “Behind the Pages”

Get the inside scoop from the man the media calls “the original travel influencer.”

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BEHIND THE PAGES (EPISODE 5): TRAVEL DEALS FOR THE PET PRO (21:16 MINUTES)


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THE HOLIDAYS are right around the corner and with them, wintry weather that makes us want to escape to somewhere warm. In Keith Miller’s latest Behind the Pages podcast, he talks with Johnny Jet, the man Forbes Magazine has called “the original travel influencer.”

Johnny Jet began dispensing travel advice online back in 1995 and now travels 150,000 miles a year. He’s made it his life’s calling to help others get travel deals.

Keith admits having a travel expert on a podcast for pet pros may seem a little out there, but says that “as a business owner, I believe that getting away from your business makes you a better business owner.” Additionally, doesn’t every small business owner want to find the best deal on business travel? (What immediately comes to our minds is tickets to Chicago for the PETS+ Wellness Summit Oct. 1-2!)

In this latest Behind the Pages installment, Keith and Johnny dive into ways to find the best deal on flights and hotels — even touching upon which credit cards benefit a small business owner the most.

You’ll be glad you spent 21 minutes listening!

Keith Miller owns Bubbly Paws, four dog-washing salons in the Minneapolis area, and Johnny Jet runs johnnyjet.com.

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

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Behind the Pages

Podcast: Meet the Pet Product Entrepreneur Who Turned Down Shark Tank’s Investors

He sometimes wonders what might have happened if he had said yes.

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BEHIND THE PAGES (EPISODE 4): MEET THE PET PRODUCT ENTREPRENEUR WHO TURNED DOWN SHARK TANK (18:59 MINUTES)


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This month on Behind the Pages, host Keith Miller speaks with Daniel Lentz, one of the founders of Aquapaw, a pet bathing product that achieved notoriety when it was featured on Shark Tank earlier this year.

Aquapaw is a palm-sized dog scrubber and sprayer that attaches to the hand, allowing users to handle their dogs (or other animals) with both hands. The product was featured on Shark Tank in January 2019, and received received investment offers from three of the Sharks (Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Bethenny Frankel). After several rounds of offers and counter-offers, however, the Aquapaw team walked away without a deal.

With Aquapaw now more firmly established, Daniel’s current goal is to build a line of pet bath products that make bathing time easier and less stressful, for both users and their pets (3:00).

Daniel discusses the initial concept of Aquapaw, which he came up with in college at Virginia Tech in the early 2000s. He and Keith discuss the process of taking a product from idea to prototype to salable product (4:00). While the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter played a large role in Aquapaw’s initial launch, Daniel warns how the platform has become a place where counterfeiters and copycats troll looking for innovative product ideas to steal (7:00).

Keith and Daniel also discuss consumer and pet brands worth emulating (8:30), taking a moment to rave about the awesome-smelling lavender-scented poop bags from Earth Rated (9:35).

The two then discuss Aquapaw’s appearance on Shark Tank (10:05), the excitement and benefits of being on the show, and why Daniel and his partner eventually turned down the offer from the show’s investors.

Finally, Daniel responds to a few questions from readers of PETS+:

  • Marilyn in Alaska asks what keeps the Aquapaw team pushing to create new products (13:20)
  • Josie in Maine asks what Daniel’s best advice for someone creating a new pet product (14:40)
  • Ken in Michigan asks whether the Aquapaw partners got to hang out with the Sharks after the show (15:40)

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

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Behind the Pages

Podcast: How to Keep Your Millennial Employees Happy at Work

Keith discusses handling millennial staff with self-described “happiness junkie” Maggie Baker.

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BEHIND THE PAGES (EPISODE 3): HOW TO KEEP MILLENNIAL EMPLOYEES HAPPY (22:33 MINUTES)


Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts | Spotify

HOW CAN a pet business owner locate, attract and keep millennial employees long-term?

That’s the subject of the third episode of “Behind the Pages”, the PETS+ podcast hosted by Keith Miller, who owns four Bubbly Paws dog washes in the Minneapolis, MN area.

For the podcast, Keith reaches out to consultant Maggie Baker, who specializes in building employee engagement and developing company culture at businesses around the country, including the San Francisco SPCA. Maggie, 34, calls herself “the Happy Millennial” and can be found on Instagram @happymillennialamags.

In the discussion, Maggie describes herself as a “happiness junkie” (1:20), and claims to have read every book about happiness ever published. She and Keith discuss employee happiness surveys, which Keith has recently implemented with Bubbly Paws, admitting that the first time he did one, he was scared “crapless” (4:15).

Maggie discusses the characteristics of millennials (5:50), nothing that the current millennial age range is 23 to 39. She’s tired of hearing how terrible employee millennials can be (6:30), claiming that within the next two years they will make up 50% of the workforce. “You’ve had enough time to make fun of us,” says Maggie. “Now let’s come together in the workplace. We’ll do some things our way, some things your way, and we’ll reach a really happy compromise in the middle.”

Maggie and Keith discuss engagement strategies, including preferred modes of communication. In his business, Keith has learned that sending emails is a no-no (7:50). His younger employees just don’t use emails as much as he does. “Half the staff is … ‘Can you just text me?’”says Keith. (Not to mention the one staff member who asked Keith to send him his work schedule on Snapchat.

In the reader question section of the podcast, one PETS+ reader asks how a small store without a big budget can make millennials happy (13:40). Besides pizza and/or donuts, Maggie says one key is flexibility in scheduling PTO (personal time off).

Then see how Keith and Maggie respond when another pet business owner asks if he should block Instagram and Snapchat on his company wifi in an effort to force employees to focus on their work (16:00).

Finally, in response to another reader question on where to find millennial employees, you’ll hear the creative solution Keith used when he needed to fill a bunch of groomer positions in his businesses and couldn’t find candidates on Craigslist, Monster or LinkedIn (20:00).

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

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