I'm a dog lover and happen to live in one of the top ranked pet-friendly cities in the U.S.--San Francisco. A pretty famous dog also happens to live in the city I call home and his name is Boo.
You may have heard of him because he's kind of a big deal. Known as the World's Cutest Dog (though I think my pup, Dwight, gives him a run for his money). He has become an Internet sensation. And, it's no wonder. His owner is a Facebook exec that might just know a little something about social media and branding.
Boo's Facebook page started on May 11, 2009, with this simple statement: "My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good." Since then he's gained 9 million--yes that's million--fans on the social network. Now he's got books, branded merchandise, a plush deal with toymaker Gund and is the "spokesdog" for Virgin America airlines, which featured photos of him in an airplane along with advice for people traveling with pets. That's a lot of accomplishments for a furry four-legged Pomeranian with a funny haircut.
So what social media lessons can we bone up on from Boo and other dogs of the Internet? I'll share a few.
A Picture Is Worth a Million Likes (Comments, Shares)
One look at Boo's Facebook page, Twitter feed or Instagram (with nearly 200,000 followers) and you immediately note how visual it is. There are no boring status updates here. Each and every post features an adorable pic of Boo, sometimes accompanied by his friend, Buddy. And wow, do those pictures get engagement. A quick scan of the page shows posts with over 500,000 likes, 10,000 comments and 30,000 shares on a single post. Most businesses would kill for that kind of engagement, because we know that Facebook's algorithm determines how many of your fans see a post by how much engagement it gets, with comments and shares being the most valued in the mix.
Bring this inspiration to your own business page by being more visual with compelling images. Pictures have been proven to engage more than text. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs on links versus text-based posts. And keep the accompanying text short and sweet. Boo has this nailed with short blurbs that ask a question or share a brief moment.
Personality Stands Out From the Crowd
Forty percent of Americans have a dog and one of the reasons we love them is their personality. On social media, these personalities can break through the clutter and engage and connect with masses of people. While Boo banks on his cute factor, Toaster (ToasterPup), Kevin Rose's dog, injects a bit of sass into his tweets; for example, he once tweeted, "I have 3 enemies: pigeon, firework, and blimp."
You can use personality in your own social posts so that your business isn't just some company or brand, but instead a group of folks who want other people to succeed, grow or whatever you help your customers do. And don't be afraid to use humor when appropriate. At my email marketing company, VerticalResponse, funny cartoons or images have been some of our most successful posts on Facebook. The website Grammarly has this down pat, sharing comical grammar mistakes that people love to laugh at and comment on. With nearly 1 million likes, I'd say they are onto something! Instead of preaching grammar rules, they make it fun and engaging.
Showing candid moments around the office that give an inside peek into what you do, or the people that do it, also can work well. Another idea is to share any type of charitable efforts you make. Our parent company, Deluxe, recently spent an evening visiting local shops and doing their holiday shopping to support small businesses. They shared pics and updates all along the way (with a hashtag) and got some great engagement.
Use these simple tips from Internet savvy pups and see how they can impact your own social media efforts. You could be top dog in no time.