This story originally appeared in the SuperZoo Show Daily, which is created by Pet Product News
The social media industry moves fast. If you’re not on top of it—leveraging the tactics and strategies that are working today—you’ll get left behind. Let’s focus on the five most impactful social media marketing strategies to grow your pet business in 2021 and beyond.
1. Leverage Live Streaming on Facebook to Increase Free Reach.
For several years now, we’ve seen organic (free) reach decline for business pages on Facebook. On average, a page’s post will be seen by about 5 percent of the people who “like” the page. However, when retailers go Live on Facebook, we’ve seen free reach jump—some as high as 20 percent or more. Facebook puts a heavier weight on business page video posts, so livestreaming—where you can ask your viewers to leave comments and have a conversation in the moment—helps with the Facebook algorithm.
All social media platforms have algorithms, which determine who sees which posts, when. It’s important to understand the algorithms for each of the social platforms you use so you can get the most out of your efforts. For Facebook, getting engagement on a post (“likes,” comments, shares, clicks) and keeping people on your content longer than other posts (for example, with a livestream video) helps increase organic reach. The more people that see your posts, the more opportunities you have to drive traffic and sales. In my opinion, if you’re using Facebook to market your business, you need to leverage livestreaming to maximize your efforts.
2. Use Facebook Ads Manager to Target Current Customers and Find New Ones.
When it comes to advertising on Facebook, I strongly recommend using ads manager, not boosting your posts. Through ads manager, you have access to several campaign objectives that will help optimize your budget for your goals, and give you more creative opportunities (the design of the ad). Crystal Media’s advertising agency has seen as high as 48 times return on ad spend with ads manager—meaning for every $1 you put in, you get $48 out. Now, we can’t guarantee results like this for everyone, but my point is that we see Facebook ads driving traffic (offline and online) and sales to our retailers weekly, often for a $300-$800 per month ad spend. Many of our clients have stopped other forms of advertising because they receive much more powerful results from Facebook advertising. It’s one of the best places to spend your ad dollars if you have a brick-and-mortar pet business and/or e-commerce presence.
3. Go All In on Short-Form Video Content.
Instagram Reels and TikTok are the top two places businesses are seeing the best organic—free—reach. For TikTok specifically, some businesses go viral fast and become influencers with 500,000 followers or more in a year or less. It’s really hard to get that kind of growth on Instagram or Facebook without the help of ads or a celebrity/influencer. I can’t stress this enough—TikTok is a powerful marketing tool. I group Instagram Reels and TikTok together because they’re both the same type of content—short-form, typically one minute or less, that’s educational, entertaining and/or inspiring.
A few short-form video content ideas for pet businesses are: answering customer FAQs, showing what makes your store unique, letting your personality shine in a BTS (behind-the-scenes) video, participating in some of the current video trends that fit your brand, providing pet training and feeding tips, telling stories about your pets and customers’ pets, and sharing helpful videos that relate to or solve customer problems. Like any social media content that you create, always think of your customers: What do they want to see? What will intercept their attention online versus interrupt it? Then be your authentic self and hit record.
4. Give Your Customers Many Ways to Buy From You.
The frequently used word here is “omnichannel.” With the pandemic making it difficult for customers to visit their favorite stores in person, businesses jumped into action by offering curbside pickup, offering delivery and launching e-commerce websites. Your customers and potential customers want to shop with you in many ways. Whether it’s in-store, online, via email or through social media (i.e., Facebook or Instagram Shops, Facebook Live Streaming videos), they want options. And if you don’t offer the way a customer wants to buy from you, they’ll find somewhere else that does. Not everyone wants to shop online, but many do, and we’re going to continue to see that rise since consumers have been forced to get comfortable and gain more confidence with online shopping due to the shutdowns.
5. Explore Audio Tools to Stay Connected to Customers and Grow Your Business.
Audio is on the rise and expected to be a big part of our future. From the newest social media platform, Clubhouse, creating virtual rooms to exchange ideas, advice and network with likeminded people to tools like Voxer and Telegram keeping teams and customers in touch to the increase in streaming music on platforms such as Spotify and Platform, there’s no shortage of audio apps and tools to easily stay connected and grow your brand awareness. And let’s not leave out my personal favorite, podcasts, which 77.9 million people are listening to at least once a week in the U.S., according to a recent Business Insider report, which noted that the number has more than doubled since 2016. I predict we’ll see more audio tools as a channel for learning and delivering content that will keep consumers in contact with their favorite brands. This is a good strategy for pet businesses to consider to start building authority and a following.
Each of these strategies can have a huge impact on your business, but if it seems like a lot to tackle, I always suggest starting slowly. Pick just one of these areas to focus on and watch your results grow.
Crystal Vilkaitis, a retail expert and social media pioneer since 2007, has seen it all. And taught it all. With its namesake start in 2012, Crystal Media has taken the fastest-growing, ever-changing social media industry by storm—developing a team of social media experts that has worked with thousands of store owners to significantly increase their foot traffic, sales, and profits through training programs, an educational membership website, and a done-for-you agency. By helping retailers evolve through new social selling channels, and easily adapt to the quick-paced digital marketing world, Crystal Media has helped its clients to grow and thrive. Even during a world pandemic. To learn more, visit crystalmediaco.com.