Our connection with humans' best friend is by far and away deeper than with any other creature on Earth. Dogs spend a lot of their time interpreting our behavior to the extent that they often know what we are thinking before the thought even comes close to emerging onto our brain desktops.
Due to the proximity of our office, I am generally at home for lunch. I usually follow a similar routine of sandwich making and eating, crunching down some crisps, cosuming a tub of yogurt and some fruit. At some point in this ritual, I usually go outside to finish up, and one day I noticed that the dogs were able to make the prediction and shoot outside several moments before I actually thought about heading out there. It happened almost without exception. I eventually realized that I always went outside with my tub of yogurt and it was the removal of the foil from the tub that was the trigger for them to move camp. Dogs are incredible at predicting social behaviors and we can learn a lot from them.
My Dogs Taught me the Following Social Media Marketing Tips:
- Be social not sales-y! Spend your time interacting with people on social media as if they are people rather than prospects. Don't try selling via social media, there is soooo much of that going on that we all just filter it and the publisher out. Dog Parallel: You will get a lot further making friends with an unfamiliar dog if you let them sniff your hand than if you immediately try to tell them to do something.
- Be giving rather than taking - Continue building your relationships with people in social media by offering relevant, helpful information that might resolve issues that they are facing. Of course it wouldn't hurt if what you are offering was an eBook or whitepaper leading to a form on your site, but don't necessarily restrict yourself to your own content, be open and share information from a wide range of sources. Dog Parallel: watch the tails wag as you offer up a nice bowl of cooked chicken livers to your dog. Now watch what happens when you pretend to sneak up behind them to remove it. Ouch!
- Stay on top of it - A big part of SM engagement is to actually stay engaged! Don't start conversations if you are really just going to let them drop on the floor by not keeping an eye on them. To this point, look for a marketing software suite that helps you do this with automation. Streamlining your entire online marketing operation is critical to your ability to do it all. Dog Parallel: Dogs rely on interaction and feedback in order to form their pack. Exchanging sniffs in a timely manner is crucial to building a lasting releationship.
- Behave yourself - Sometimes things go awry when people have unexpected experiences with your brand. Occasionally a negative remark might get published and how you handle it could make the difference between you being seen as the hero or the goat. Take these occurances as opportunities for you to shine by responding as your customer service best practices dictate rather giving it right back to them. Dog Parallel: Dogs that turn to aggressively fight off an unwanted advance call more negative attention to themselves than those who parry off the attack with dignity.
- Thought leadership - Take the opportunity to become a leader in your business area by publishing information that helps to educate rather than yak about your products or services. This should be easy for you to do because you surely possess a vast trove of knowledge about your business which exists for the sole purpose of solving the problems of your community - discuss those problems without discussing your brand! Dog Parallel: My smaller dog, Roo (pictured above) used to exhibit thought leadership to the larger one when he would hop the fence to go on a romp around the neighborhood (before I extended the fence). I saw him demonstrate his technique to her several times in a row one afternoon, until he got her to come along too! (short lived as it was).
- Encourage your community -Take the time to notice and remark upon the actions of those in your social media community. Be bold and re-tweet remarkable content that your followers provide and send direct messages to cheer them on. Dog Parallel: See #5.
When it comes to social media for business, think 'cocktail party'. You should mix and mingle with a multitude of people, be real rather than corporate, ask people about themselves rather than going on about yourself, and remember to reach out to them at the next party.