In our previous post we talked about 'grass roots marketing' and how it can help your business during tough economic times.
A big part of 'grass roots marketing' is social networking. What is social networking?
Social networking is connecting with people within a network; a network of people with like interests. And this networking can be done in person, but is frequently referred to and done online through a growing number of online social networking sites - like Twitter, Dogster, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, forums, and more.
What can social networking do for your businesses?
I have a perfect example: My dog, Johann, is on Twitter. As a matter of fact he's one of the most followed dogs on Twitter. (Yes, I know, you may be surprised that there are dogs on Twitter). If you don't know about Twitter, we highly recommend it.
One of the very first dog treat recalls was announced because of the potential of salmonella in peanut butter last month. And Johann Twittered about it to get the word out to other dogs and dog lovers. Later that afternoon, he received a Tweet from an individual in California that the recalled dog treats were still on the shelves at a PetSmart store in California.
PetSmart is one of Johann's followers, so we sent them a private message that we heard the treats were still on the shelves in that particular store. Within 20 minutes, PetSmart had called the store and had the treats removed from the shelves to protect their dog customers. Good work PetSmart!
This type of communication would never have happened without online social networking, at least not that fast. Yes, the individual that sent Johann the message could have called the store and told them, but by sending a tweet to Johann, and Johann fowarding the info directly to PetSmart corporate office via Twitter, the treats were removed much more quickly, potentially saving a dog from getting sick, or even saving a pup's life.
Another example: During the month of December, I held a photo contest giveaway - Johann's Howling Howliday Giveaway - as an experiment to increase traffic on JohannTheDog.com. I frequently experiment with marketing, advertising and social networking to learn and help my pet business clients.
I utilized Twitter and other online social networks to get the word out about the contest. During that month, traffic to JohannTheDog.com increased over 500% over the previous period in 2007 and over the previous month in November. An amazing increase. And yes, I also had an increase in sales, a very good increase.
And the best part is the increase in sales and awareness is now spilling over into January and February of this year, increasing my traffic and sales over the previous time in 2007.
Awww, the power of social networking.
It can help you increase awareness of your company, provide an amazing avenue for great customer service, help you increase and build your sales and revenue during tough times.
But there are specific and ethical rules to utilize social network to build (and not hamper) your pet business. We've been experimenting with social networking for several years now and know the ins and outs, the latest and greatest social networking sites to build your specific business, and the ways to social network to communicate effectively with your current and prospective customers.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to grow, create awareness, enhance and build your business through social networking and social media, contact us today. We look forward to teaching you what we have successfully learned, and help you with your marketing during these tough times.