Why My Dog Gets More Social Media Engagement Than Your Brand
You might be thinking, “Of course people are more interested in your dog. People love dogs. I sell bland cheese” (or toilet paper, or whatever).
It’s true, Waffles is the best. But he’s also not really the best at anything. There are hundreds of thousands of dogs on Instagram. So why is Waffles in a New York Times Bestseller? Why did a stranger put him in a coloring book for god’s sake?
That’s it. We gave Waffles purpose. And your brand can have it too. Here's how:
Discover what's special about your product/service.
Even if there really isn’t anything that special about your product. That’s totally fine, almost all products are commodities wrapped in marketing. As it turns out, Coke is not actually made of happiness; it’s sugar and water just like Pepsi, and even, RC Cola! Just pick something, anything—and own it.
For Waffles, it was his beauty—in an “only his mother would think he’s beautiful” kind of way. Waffles is a mutt with a lazy eye and wild hair. He circles constantly when he’s excited. Always clockwise. Always. He’s not for everyone, but neither is your product. There’s a market for this type of beauty, it just needed to be tapped into.
Determine your target audience.
The order here is important. Discover what is special about your product, then push it towards your target. We couldn’t have simply decided that Waffles should be targeted to the suburban lab and golden retriever crowd just because they have a lot of money—they wouldn’t have liked his kind of beauty.
Same goes for your brand. You can’t be an unhealthy meat product targeting millennial vegans just because they are a growing segment (I’ve seen stuff like this). There’s a market for every product, even Malort. And Waffles. You can’t be all things to all people.
Find people who will love your product, find out how they consume content and what kind of content they’re craving. Great content is worth investing in because it gets shared, creating free earned media impressions and authentic relationships. In Waffles’ case, it got him into the aforementioned coloring book. Now people across the country can sit back and relax with my dog. Same should (will?) be said about your product.
Establish a voice.
Talk like your target talks. 80% of social media is now consumed on mobile devices. Which means if someone is reading your post, they are literally inviting your brand into their house, car, and even, family dinner! They don’t want a corporation in those places. So don’t talk like one.
Cool, now you have a brand voice, but who knows about it? #NoOne. Brands love hashtagging, they just use the wrong ones. Don’t simply hashtag your #NewTagline or your #NewProductName. No one is searching for those. Use hashtags that your target uses.
Waffles is a Maltese Pug mix (AKA a Mug) that we adopted from PAWS. What hashtags do we use in his posts? #Mug #MalteseMix #PugMix #FurryPug #RescueDog #Chidoggo #DogsofChicago #Dogstagram #DogsofInstagram
That’s how people found him. Then they loved the content they found. Your target is looking for you, make yourself easier to find.
Create a cadence.
Time to put those hashtags to good use. Now that your target has found you, give them a reason to come back. Quality and consistency are the name of the game in social. #tbt #MusicMonday #MeatlessMonday
For Waffles, the hairiest of guys, we created #WhispyWednesday
It’s a celebration of all things Waffles and all things Wispy. Here’s where your brand can get creative with unique and ownable hashtags. In Waffles’ case, it was simply adding an ‘h’ to wispy.
His followers know to lookout for content that day, usually involving his man cave and Cool Ranch Doritos.
Building your social presence isn’t easy, though, it isn’t hard either. Most brands just don’t do it right. Despite spending millions of dollars, the average engagement on Instagram posts from companies, across all industries, is approximately 2%. At 7.1%, Waffles’ Instagram beats that benchmark by 355%.
Can your brand reach those heights?
Maybe not. But follow these steps, and you’ll see surprising engagement. Engaged followers lead to loyal customers and sales growth.
If you have any questions, feel free to give Waffles a call. He’ll be happy to share his Doritos with you.