Guest post by Carol Bryant
My heart beats dog indeed. The ventricles and arteries that emerge from my pulsating lifeline are Facebook and Twitter; indeed it is these two vehicles by which the superhighway of other dog lovers knows of my pursuits, passions, and all things pooch.
In attempting to expand your social media contacts, let the world know you exist, and grow who you are as well as increase a fan base (aka LIKES or Followers). With that, here are nine real things I’ve posted that were successful – i.e., were re-tweeted, Liked, Shared. I get the whole “pet parents rock,” I know what a #pawpawty hashtag is, and that anipals are amazing.
Hit: Sometimes a picture does indeed say 1,000 words (or in Twitter’s case, 140 characters). I am a complete sucker for dog photos, especially ones accompanied by tongue-in-cheek sarcasm or witty quips. The text that accompanied this photo on Twitter: “Um, did someone say bath?”
Hit: “What is your dog doing right now?” I posted this on one of my client’s Facebook business pages and it elicited over 100 responses in three days. Accompany the question with a great wall-stopping photo and bada bing, a hit it is. (think of the things that stop you in your Facebook tracks. Replicate them, learn from them, flattery and imitation and all that jazz.)
Hit: Be real. This past weekend, I turned to my Facebook friends for a sense of comfort and community when I witnessed car after car drive past me as I stood trying to tend to a dying cat in the street. An inconvenience I was, the cat a mere road block in the lives of one after another, busy person after “get out of my way” busy person. With tear-filled eyes, I “Facebooked” and by day’s end, I no longer had the same sense of anger at people in general I did pre-posting. Others shared their similar experiences, told me I was not alone. Solace in social media. Be real and people respond; I realized this in that moment.
Hit: Share news. I’ve begun collecting some of the most interesting, newsworthy dog-related information I can find online and sharing the news throughout the week. As someone who tries to stay current, I like having news bites consolidated for me. Be the bearer of news, good or bad, warning or food recall. Re-tweet, share and give credit. Social media is a lifeline sustained by reciprocity.
Hit: Post by the numbers. I love love love “the best 8 sites for dog lovers,” or “top 10 things your vet wishes you knew” type posts. If you write these, share these, start with a good hook and reel me in.
Hit: Timed tweets. If done right and followed up on and responded to accordingly, schedule some of your tweets. I’ve recently taken to doing this on Hootsuite. Something I write on Monday at 9 am may not be discovered by someone scrolling Tweetdeck or Hootsuite feeds on a Friday. So I schedule the occasional timed tweet.
Hit: Shout outs on Twitter. Did someone retweet you? Do you have a column of pet peeps you follow and monitor? Keep a Word doc when someone retweets you. Then on Follow Friday (#FF) or for no occasion at all, shout them out. For example: Wagtastic Peeps: (and then @ name them here). Warm fuzzies and reciprocity rock and are remembered.
Hit: Videos. Are you a blogger who ran a photo contest? Splice and dice those photos and put them into a YouTube show set to music. It doesn’t take long, the software is relatively easy to use (i.e. Windows Movie Maker), and it makes for a fun blog post, great Facebook and Twitter fun, and visuals of pets to music, if done right, well, rock.
Hit: Know your followers and friends. I get so aggravated on Facebook walls where it’s all “I did this, I wrote that, I saw this, then I went and did this, now go post on my blog, buy my book, or follow me.” I will if I had a clue that you knew anything about me. Do we engage? Have you reached out to me? I know we are all busy; life is swamped these days. So make Word docs of fans, friends, and things about them. I keep Word docs, just like I do for business cards – I write things down on them. I get to know you, you get to know me, and that whole reciprocity thing comes into play.
Social media is a lot like a boomerang – put it out into the universe and toss it just right and watch how totally full circle it comes back to you.
About the author: Carol Bryant has traveled with dogs for over 18 years and is touted as a dog product and travel expert. A frequent media contributor, Carol has appeared on Animal Radio and Oprah Radio’s Gayle King Show, WBAL-TV, News12CT, and as a guest speaker at conferences and seminars about social media, writing, dogs and dog travel. She is also a two-time nominee from the Dog Writers Association of America. Visit her blog at www.fidoseofreality.com and the FIDO Friendly magazine blog at www.fidofriendly.com/blog, winner of the Best Dog Blog from Dogtime Media.