I love social media (obviously).
I launched a business that is dedicated to helping dog trainers grow their businesses through social media.
Ever since Instagram launched in 2010, it has held a special place in my heart. It started as a place to connect with my friends and family. When I got my first dog in 2020, it became a place for me to learn about positive reinforcement training and find a community I wanted to belong in.
But the world of social media is a complicated one. For one, there are ALWAYS new features to learn about and trends to keep up with. In fact, I groan a little every time I see a new Instagram update.
Also, what’s up with this “algorithm” that everyone keeps talking about?
Any business owner knows marketing is important for growing their business. But there are different types of marketing.
And social media is just a small part of that marketing umbrella.
Whether you are a new dog trainer or someone who is new to social media marketing, you may wonder, “is this worth investing my time and energy in?”
So I wanted to share why you should (and shouldn’t) invest your time in social media marketing for your dog training business. Your time is precious after all!
Let’s start with a quick definition: what exactly is social media marketing?
Social media marketing means utilizing social media platforms to market your business, build a relationship with your followers, and ultimately influence their behavior as a consumer.
Did that make sense? Probably not.
So here’s the simplified, easy-to-understand definition: social media marketing is figuring out what your ideal client needs and using social media to communicate how your services can meet those needs.
It's just like how you have to learn about the client (and their dog) and spend time to figure out what their needs are in order to create a training plan that best fits their needs.
4 reasons why you shouldn’t use social media to grow your dog training business:
Other marketing strategies can be more effective for your business
4 reasons why you should use social media for your business:
What are the disadvantages of using social media for marketing?
#1 Always keeping up with the algorithm
Social media platforms are designed specifically for the user. This means that the platform learns about each person’s likes and dislikes based on their activity and it tries to push for more content that person wants to see.
When people talk about “the algorithm” they are referring to how the social media platform ranks their posts on your home feed. The algorithm studies each person’s habits.
What posts do they like? What are they sharing to Instagram stories? Whose post are they commenting on? Who are they messaging? It factors all of that in.
There are multiple algorithms to determine what posts they will see first on the home feed.
The algorithm is also constantly changing to stay on top of industry trends.
*Sigh* I remember when the world of Instagram completely changed. When Instagram was no longer just sharing graphics and photos with long captions.
The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced new updates about the platform. He mentioned how Instagram users favor short-form videos and this is the direction Instagram will be taking. This was also around the same time when the world of TikTok was booming (Geez, Thanks TikTok, *eye roll*)
Fast forward to January 2023, Adam Mosseri made another announcement on his stories admitting the app focused too much on videos and now it will focus more on photo content again.
As I said it's always changing. And if we want to be successful on the platform, we have to create content that pleases the algorithm (or the users). No matter what changes and updates it throws at us.
#2 It's time-consuming
I love social media because it’s free of cost. You technically don’t need to spend any money to market your business on social media.
But it costs time.
And it’s not as simple as just posting a photo or video with a caption.
You’ll need to spend time learning how to:
-use the platform and utilize all of its features
-figure out what your followers want to see more of
-create content that generates engagement from your followers, and ultimately converts them to sales.
#3 Other marketing strategies can be more effective for you
As I said, there are other ways to market your business besides social media marketing.
What works for one dog trainer’s business doesn’t always work for yours.
Suppose you already have a way to get new clients, such as referrals or in-person events. In that case, you should probably focus on perfecting that strategy before turning to social media marketing.
#4 Success isn’t always guaranteed
There’s no overnight success to it.
There’s no guarantee that your content will convert to clients.
Even that person who went “viral” and got a bunch of brand deals…probably spent a lot of time on social media perfecting their content.
It is a long-term game that requires your time and energy.
So, is social media even worth it for your business?
Honestly? It’s not for every business. But if you are willing to put in the time and energy, it’s a great way to connect with your ideal clients, educate the world about positive reinforcement training, and ultimately make more money!
Here are 4 ways how social media marketing can generate new dog training clients:
#1 It is a place where people hang out
Does anyone else remember meeting up with friends at the mall as a teenager?
Social media is basically a virtual “shopping mall.” It’s a place where people go to hang out and spend their time.
We go on social media for many reasons:
-to meet other people
-to talk to friends and family
-to get entertained
-to stay updated on current events
-and sometimes to do a little bit of shopping!
Statista predicts there will be 300+ million social media users in 2023 and that number continues to grow every year.
Wow! That's a LOT of people (and their dogs) we can connect with.
#2 It’s great for reaching new people
Ever heard someone say “I saw this thing on TikTok and had to buy it!”
Well, that phrase alone proves the power of social media.
It’s a place where we all discover something new.
There’s actually a trend called “TikTok made me buy it” where people show and review products they’ve bought just because they saw these products on the app.
And according to Instagram, 90% of its users follow at least 1 business.
Fun fact: this inspired me to start my own business! I learned a lot about training my puppy because I followed lots of R+ trainers on Instagram. I had a revelation one day that we need to use social media as a tool to spread more messages about positive reinforcement training.
#3 It's effective for attracting your ideal client
Do you have a client that you really enjoyed working with? Well, guess what? There are more like them for you to find on social media!
When you use an effective Instagram strategy that speaks to your ideal client, you start attracting them.
How is this possible? Because you’re *literally* making content specifically for them.
For example, my ideal client is a positive reinforcement dog trainer. So when I started my Instagram business account, I focused on making content that would speak to them personally.
-I provided Instagram tips specific to dog training businesses.
-I filmed funny content that only people who use positive reinforcement training would understand.
-I created content that spoke to their struggles and aspirations as dog trainers.
I really liked how Forbes described social media marketing in this article. They said “[social media] serve important purposes for reaching audiences, sharing important information and nurturing one-to-one relationships between content creators and audiences”
#4 Your content has an impact
Have you ever wondered why big companies like Starbucks still invest in ads? I mean obviously, they’re a big company and many people know about them. What’s the point of marketing then?
The point of marketing is to stay on top of people’s minds. Yes, we all know Starbucks exists but sometimes we don’t crave a delicious Frappuccino until we scroll past a secret recipe video of it online. And suddenly we’re craving it!
Here’s another example: I was shopping a few weeks ago and I wanted to get someone a dog mom gift because they recently added a new puppy to their family! I did a quick search on Google but nothing good came up for me.
I started thinking about all the pet businesses I know.
Then I randomly remembered a business that I was following on Instagram for a while. I remembered seeing funny Reels with their products that would be perfect for a dog mom. I visited their website and made a purchase.
And that’s how big of an impact their content has made on me!
Your content affects people even when you don’t realize it.
Your followers may not work with you right now, but they know you’ll be there when they need your services!
So what do you think? Is social media right for your business?
Just like anything else, there are pros and cons.
On one hand, it’s a powerful and free tool we can utilize to our advantage.
On the other hand, it can be time-consuming, and success is not always guaranteed.
If you’re wondering if you should invest in social media marketing, then I think it's important that you make an informative decision before you spend your time and effort learning it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to make it sustainable for you with the right techniques and strategy.
And that’s where I come in! I’m here to simplify that process and make it doable so you don’t have to use up all of your precious time.
Stay updated with me for more tips by subscribing to my email list. Follow me on Instagram for tips on content planning and content ideas. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org about creating an Instagram strategy for your business!