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Pet Business Marketing Guide - Step Three: Engaging on Social Media

Originally published on April 5, 2017. Last updated on January 30, 2018 for up-to-date information.

This is the third step in a mini three-part series on creating a successful pet business marketing strategy. You can find all three parts in the eBook: The Complete Guide to Pet Business Marketing in 2018. 

Congratulations! If you’ve been following along our mini three-part series on pet business marketing, you should now have a marketing plan and a strategy for maintaining your website presence.

Now that you have content and a fantastic website, you’ll want to promote them in a space where you can communicate with your customers one-on-one: social media. Everyone’s on social networks these days, and if you’re not taking full advantage of it, you’re missing out on some real opportunities to create loyal customers for your brand.

1) Identify key social platforms


The first step to being successful on social media as a pet business is identifying which social media platforms you should be on. There are many social networks these days, and it’s nearly impossible to fully engage on all of them. Therefore, picking just two or three platforms will ensure you have the bandwidth to properly engage with your customers online.

Related Article: How to Win Over Millennial Pet Owners in 2018

When choosing your social media presence, ask yourself where your customers are at. You should know who your target customer is from the work you’ve completed on your marketing plan. Use this knowledge to identify which platforms your customers are using the most, because that’s where you’ll want to be.

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To help you out, here’s some of the top social networks and what they’re primarily used for:


Almost everyone is on it; it’s one of the most popular platforms in the world. Note that recently, Facebook has made it nearly impossible to reach anyone without a budget.

Nevertheless, it’s a smart idea to have a Facebook page and keep it updated with posts that provide engaging + educational content to encourage engagement from your audience.

When creating your Facebook strategy, try not to get too distracted by focusing on the number of likes your page has. With the latest algorithms, your page likes aren't likely to give you any more or less organic views. Instead, focus on increasing your engagement rate, click-through rate (if you're trying to drive traffic to your site), and organic traffic. This will give you a better outlook at how successful your Facebook strategy is.

It's worth noting, also, that Facebook is now one of the strongest advertising channels in the world. Because of that, coming up with a Facebook ad strategy is key to getting in front of the right audience and getting customers in your door. Here's a guide on how to set up a basic Facebook ad to get you started.


Twitter is great for real-time conversations with your customers and brief updates (up to 280 characters). It’s a great platform for real-time discussions {referred to as Twitter chats), share pet-related news and updates, and create short & engaging messages with your audience.

To be successful, narrow down the audience you're trying to attract and use some of the same hashtags they use. Follow the people they follow, and monitor your feed once in a while so you can pop in on a relevant conversation. Have a personality, and try to post at least 2-3 times a day so you don't get lost in the madness that is Twitter.


Believe it or not, it’s also a great place to tell your brand story and connect with your customers on a personal and visual level. Users have the power to be introduced to their new favorite pet brand (like yours!), partner with pet influencers, share pet stories, encourage product interaction, and more.

Instagram is a great place to share your brand in a visual way - introduce new brands, partner with pet influencers, share pet stories, show product interaction (with people & pets), and more. It’s currently the place to be online, especially if you’ve got a visual story to tell. 

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram to Drive Pet Owners to Your Store


Being present on Google+  is known to be useful for increasing your website's ranking, if not marginally. Keeping your page active will allow your customers to more easily find your place of business (if location-based, like a pet specialty retailer) and may help boost your website’s rank on the search engine.

Other social media platforms to consider include Pinterest, Medium, YouTube, and Flickr. Each network comes with its own pros and cons and may not relate to your business. Once you decide upon 2-3 networks to focus on, remember to set SMART goals and refer to them on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis to justify ROI. You’ll find that some networks will do better for your business than others, so be prepared to make changes accordingly.

2) Create a social media calendar


The key to staying organized and on track with social media is by keeping a calendar of posts. The length of your social media calendar may vary based on what you’re comfortable with, but the most popular options tend to be monthly and quarterly calendars.

Here’s how to get started with creating a calendar:

  1. Start with a free template (we recommend this one from HubSpot) and customize it to fit your business
  2. Put together a list of content you want to promote during this time frame (future content is OK to plan for)
  3. Research any relevant holidays (including silly ones like National Pancake Day and, more importantly, National Dog Day) to keep in mind during this time frame
  4. Put together a list of relevant events (including Global Pet Expo and/or any store events you may be holding)
  5. Put everything on the calendar and plan for posts that are relevant to the events & “holidays” you identified are relevant to your business

There you go - now you have a full scope of what you’ll be posting on social media during this time frame! This will not only help you stay more organized, but will also alleviate stress when it comes to figuring out what to post at any given time.

3) Search relevant hashtags

Many brands make the mistake of creating a social media page, uploading their logo & mission statement, posting once a week (maybe), and calling it a day. Unfortunately for them, social media doesn’t quite work like that.

What you get out of any platform will be equal to the amount of effort (or budget) you put in. If you’re only publishing your posts once a week and not engaging with your followers or conducting outreach, you’re missing out on many of the benefits social media

Think about it this way, if you had a group of people {some who are new leads who haven’t heard of you and others who are loyal customers) gathered in a room for a period of time, you wouldn’t just walk in and say “Look how awesome I am, talk about me!” and then leave, would you?

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Imagine social media as that room full of people. You can find those who are interested in you by searching relevant hashtags such as #petfood and #catsofinstagram to find customers who fit in your target audience. If you want to drill down even further, you can even get more local and search things like #dogsofseattle to find customers near you.

Once you find these customers, engage with them. Like their photos, comment helpful messages (more than just “great photo!”), and even follow the ones you really like. Do this a couple times a day for just a few minutes and you’ll see your followers and engagement steadily increase.

4) Monitor social media to keep up on latest trends

Staying engaged with your customers starts with finding them, starting conversations with them, and publishing posts they care about. However, you can also monitor social media to keep up on the latest trends. Then, spread the word and participate in these discussions to gain a relevant audience of people who trust you, and therefore want to buy from you!

Related Article: How to Add Customer Value When You Can't Compete on Price

For example, Twitter lists their trending topics both on the app and in the desktop version. Monitoring and participating in trending topics relevant to your business will ensure you’re a part of the discussion and help people find your page. If #nationaldogday is trending, you’re probably going to want to participate so that others celebrating that day can find and celebrate with you.

You can apply these methods to other social media platforms as well. Do some research on what’s trending in your category, and make sure to post and engage with others on these trending topics. This is just another great way of establishing your presence online and ensuring you get the most ROI out of your pet business marketing strategies.

Learn More

This is the final step in a mini three-part series on creating a successful marketing strategy for your pet business. You can find all three parts in the eBook: The Complete Guide to Pet Business Marketing in 2018.  

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Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer and writer for the pet industry. Growing up in the pet industry, she has keen insight on market trends and a passion for helping small businesses grow. Her portfolio includes various topics from pet food trends to using technology and marketing strategies to boost pet business sales. When she's not writing articles or working her day job, she's playing with her cat (Chewie), reading a book, or hiking one of Washington's many trails.

Visit her: Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

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