Word of Mouse? Pass It On!
How social media websites can help kennel owners spread the word
“I’m a kennel owner - get me out of here!” you might think, when faced with the sometimes bewildering world of the internet.
OK, you have got a website or maybe a web page on a larger site. But now that’s not enough. You hear that there is more you should be doing. There is the arcane world of social media with its blogs and wikis and social networking.
What is a kennel owner to do? You want people to board their dogs with you for goodness sake, not create a virtual empire for Fido the cyberhound!
Well the good news is that, just like your dog, the internet really can be your best friend. Let’s look at some facts.
Over 40% of UK and USA households own dogs
and a large proportion of those
also use the internet.
Over 50% of UK pet owners share photos of their pets online and as many as 1 in 10 pets have their own social media page, such as Facebook!
Many people use the internet at work — especially in an office environment.
This may be bad for their bosses, but should be music to your ears, because this translates into a huge targeted potential audience who will at some point need your kennels.
Today’s web users are highly likely to choose a good boarding kennels using testimonials and recommendations from online ‘friends’ - people they have probably never met in real life.
It may sound odd if you are not a regular web user, but these written recommendations from strangers are taken very seriously. There are hundreds of thousands of people who choose everything from DVDs to dog food based on the opinions of fellow users online.
People exchange information and tips, moans and groans on myriad forums (places where like-minded people ‘meet’ online to discuss topics of interest like their pets, dog breeds, veterinary problems etc). There really is something for everyone.
A forum is something you can really use to your advantage. Sign up at somewhere like groups.yahoo.com then ‘lurk’ awhile (read messages without posting) to get a feel for the group. Make sure you create a ‘signature’ with your website address in (check this is allowed first) then start posting.
Don’t go rushing in promoting your business. Start by being helpful, friendly and offering advice and you will gradually get known, and your kennels will too.
Scarcely a day goes by without a social networking site like www.facebook.com or www.youtube.com being mentioned in the press. Although you may think these sites are just for kids, they are actually a perfect opportunity to let people know about your business.
A recent statistic showed that 49% of web users make a purchase based on a recommendation through a social networking site.
You need to be on there!
After a simple registration procedure, you fill in information and upload photos or videos for your page and then invite friends to view it. It sounds very simple and it is. You also get invited by people to be their ‘friend’ and you can view their page and photos too.
And how can this help your business? Well you can start a club about your kennels, have your own page totally dedicated to the kennels and let other users know about them via regular updates.
Blogs are not as scary as they sound. They are online diaries really, ranging from banal ramblings to press releases.
You can create your own blog easily using a site like www.wordpress.org and then use it to promote your kennel business. Write about your daily routine, the dogs you care for, the ups and downs of the business, anything dog related.
Try to set yourself up as an expert in a niche category. If you know about homeopathic remedies for Yorkshire terriers then blog about that!
Again comes the question -why? Well if you blog regularly several things happen. As long as your blog links to your website then search engines like Google will start to pay attention - they just love fresh content! You will find your site moves up the rankings for certain keywords and phrases. (These are words or phrases people type into Google to search for something.)
Another thing that happens is that people will start to comment on your blog content (there is a space for this at the bottom) and maybe even link to it from their own site, or recommend it to other users. A word of warning though. Keep your blog updated. There is nothing worse than a blog that is months out of date.
Try to write something at least once a week. Ideally every day.
It really pays to get to understand social media. Remember how many potential clients you can reach this way.
Today, it’s not ‘word of mouth’
but ‘word of mouse’!
Next article: The Kennel Revolutionaries