March 6, 2024
Dog Trainer Marketing 101: Attract New Clients with Social Media

blog post on social media marketing strategy for dog trainers

Have you ever wondered “what’s the point?” when posting to social media? What’s it supposed to achieve?

You may have vague ideas that it ties into marketing, but it’s so much more than just putting stuff out there.  

Content on social media has two main functions: 

  • to keep your current audience engaged — and you top-of-mind should they have a problem you can solve for them.
  • to introduce new people to you and your business — feeding people into the top of your marketing funnel.

If you’re unfamiliar with that last term, this post gives a nice breakdown of what a marketing funnel is, and why you need one.

Simply put, your marketing funnel is the process you use to move people from being aware that you exist to becoming a paying customer. Not surprisingly, your funnel won’t work if you don’t put anybody in the top of it!

That’s where social media comes in.

But here’s the rub: consistency alone won’t necessarily get you the results you want. The sheer noise on social media could mean you’re fighting a losing battle to get your posts seen, and unfortunately, the only way to guarantee exposure is to pay for ads.

So, assuming you don’t want to go there, what else can you do? 

Have a strategy. 

Don’t have a strategy? Here’s how to create one:

Ask yourself…

  • What’s the job I want this post to do?
  • What’s the best way to display or present this information on this platform?

If you want to get new eyes on your content — so more people know about you and your business and enter your funnel — hang tight. We’re gonna talk about ways you can do that next. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite…

Using Instagram to put yourself out there 

There are the three main ways to get your stuff in front of more people by using Instagram.

Hashtags

If you’ve been using Instagram for any amount of time, you’ll know that it’s searchable using hashtags (#). But did you realize you can attract new LOCAL people to your business by including your location in your hashtag?

So, as a small business owner, you want to make sure you’re using specific hashtags that are going to encourage people who are local to your area to follow you on Instagram. 

For example, if you’re a dog trainer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and you include the hashtag #raleighnorthcarolina on your posts, anyone following that tag will see your posts.

Now that might not help you much — it has a very high volume of posts so yours is likely to get lost in the mix.

But using something like #dogsofraleigh or #dogsofraleighnc, with around 70,000 and 4000 posts respectively, is much more likely get you more new eyes on your content.

Spend some time doing a bit of hashtag research. Find hashtags where the types of posts that are using the hashtag are related to the type of content you’re going to be posting. 

Reels

According to the Instagram step-by-step reels guide, reels are: 

“Info-taining. They present useful information in an engaging way and inspire your audience to get to know your brand more.”

And

78% of consumers say that creators are influential in helping them to discover new brands.

Reels are short videos — Instagram recommends keeping them under 90 seconds — that don’t disappear after a set amount of time, unlike Instagram Stories. Not only do they hang around, but you can also set your reels to appear on Facebook to extend your potential audience even further.

Want to know more about how to use reels? Check out How To Make Instagram Reels and Use Them to Your Advantage from HubSpot.

Tagging

An often-overlooked strategy is to encourage your current audience to tag their friends to see a post. Let’s say you share a video of you teaching a cute puppy a baby recall. Share it and encourage viewers to tag anyone they know who has a new puppy, so they can “get that vital training step started early” too. 

You’ll be surprised how much extra exposure you can get by leveraging friends-of-friends networks on social media!

Using Facebook to fill your funnel

Next, let’s look at how to leverage your content on Facebook. 

Sharable content

Facebook reach is driven by shares (in addition to likes and comments). The more your posts are shared, the more Facebook will show your future posts in other user’s feeds.

You can use this to your advantage by focusing on producing entertaining, surprising, or unusual material. The more your posts engage your viewer’s emotions, the more likely they are to share them. 

As an example, I recently saw a great little video of a French bulldog running down the beach balancing a football on its head. You bet that was shared far and wide — it was scroll-stopping in its uniqueness and prompted major LOLs.

Another approach is to post videos of your clients’ dogs doing great things. Got a cute puppy in class doing impressive recalls? Share the video, tag the owner, and encourage them to share how well their little superstar is progressing. (Note: you may need to get permission from your clients to post video or photos of them.)

Facebook groups

This one takes a bit of lateral thinking. When I say “groups” I don’t mean “dog trainer” groups. Instead of hanging with your own crowd, you need to seek out places where you can network locally.

No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a local dog group on Facebook. A quick search for our Raleigh-based dog trainer brings up six such groups — all pretty active and all with a decent number of members. 

Although most groups will have strict rules around self-promotion there’s no reason you can’t be helpful and answer questions for people, casually mentioning you’re a dog trainer at the same time.

Another avenue to try is local groups that may have an interest in what you do.  Examples might be the local Mommy group, realtor group, or pet store group. Rather than being blatantly self-promotional, look for opportunities to comment and post on areas where the group topic and your interest overlap.

Think of it as online networking — adding yourself to the web of resources and businesses within your local area.

Reels

As mentioned above, you can post reels to both Instagram and Facebook. Facebook reels are great for getting your short videos in front of new people and for very little extra effort, why not give them a go?

Share to your own wall

The final way of helping your business posts be seen is by sharing them to your own personal wall — and asking friends and family to support your business by sharing them.  

You’ll either need to set your own privacy to “public” or tell your friends to go to the original post on your business page to be able to share them for you. If you’re just starting out, this can be a great way to get the ball rolling and gain some traction with your business page.

Get seen on TikTok

TikTok is a video-driven platform that can be great for expanding your audience. The only caveat is that your content will be shown to a very large audience but the likelihood that people local to you will see it is much lower. 

Which may or not be useful to you — it’ll depend on whether you only have in-person services or if you also have digital products and services that aren’t location-dependent.

Want to give it a go? Here are the two easiest ways to get your stuff seen…

Hashtags

Just like Instagram, you can use hashtags on TikTok. They work in much the same way, allowing users to search for, and follow specific hashtag topics. 

Trends

Have you heard of TikTok trends? Trends refer to the audio clips and sounds users include with their videos. When you create your TikTok video the app allows you to choose a music or audio clip as a soundtrack. These sounds are searchable and follow-able. By using a soundtrack that is already popular you can get your video seen by those following that trending audio.  

Want to know more about using TikTok? Download Hubspot’s free “Marketer’s Guide to TikTok for Business” to get you started.

And last but not least, we have…

An oldie but goodie: YouTube

You may not realize this but YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. That means getting your content found there can do wonders for your business. 

Because YouTube IS a search engine, not a social media platform, it even has SEO guidelines. If you want your videos found, be sure to think very carefully about your video title and what you put in the description. Use keywords, including your location. HubSpot has a great little guide to SEO for YouTube to get you started.

YouTube rewards longer-form videos so if you like producing vlogs instead of blogs, this might be the way to go. (What’s the difference? A vlog is a video form of a blog. If you loathe typing but are happy in front of a camera, vlogging could be a great choice for you.)

The quick ‘n dirty roundup

The major takeaways for getting exposure and adding new people to your marketing funnel are:

  • Be clear about the function of the post you’re creating. 
  • Get to know the quirks and preferences of your chosen platform. 
  • Think local and network as much as you can. Social media is called social for a reason — unfortunately you can’t just post and run! 

Above all, have fun with it. Hopefully this post has given you some food for thought and you can now get stuck into feeding your funnel lots of lovely fresh leads.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *