Expert Social Media Tips from Build Your Audience Live


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This week I’ve been in London at Build Your Audience Live, an event run by Janet Murray, a former journalist turned marketing expert.

Whatever business you’re in, whether it’s selling products like pet accessories, or a service like dog walking or pet sitting, you need an audience.

Obvious, I know, but as we turn to the internet and social media to answer every need we have, if we want to win customers and keep them, we have to stand out online and build their trust.

That’s what the event is about – building that, ‘know, like and trust.’ For me there was another massive takeaway.

Learning not to care what other people think. More on that later!

Build Your Audience saw speakers travel from as far as Texas to share their expertise, covering Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, SEO, Video, Podcasting, E mail marketing and blogging.

There was so much to learn, but I’m going to share my biggest takeaways from the first day which focused on social media that I think will help you as a pet business owner.

A selfie with FOMO creator May King

How Twitter IS your secret marketing weapon with May King Tea

How many times do I bang on about being on Twitter and following the #journorequest hashtag?

It is THE way to get publicity and Twitter expert May King – knowing as the FOMO creator – she live tweets from events for a living – hammered this home in her presentation.

May King asked what was holding people back from being active on Twitter. The responses were that people don’t want to interrupt others, that it moves too fast, and lack of engagement.

She highlighted the five key benefits of being on the platform – the TEA at the end relates to May King being a tea expert too!

  • Brandabili-TEA – Tell your brand’s story in your bio, through your cover image and pinned Tweet.
  • Relatabili-TEA – Be relatable by reading tweets, sharing and liking them, replying and retweeting – the key is to be human – not corporate and stuffy.
  • Authorit-TEA – Use Twitter to demonstrate your knowledge on a given topic.
  • Notorie-TEA – Twitter is where journalists look for experts, so become notorious by helping them!
  • DirectConnecitivi-TEA – Connect with anyone, whether it’s your next door neighbour or a celebrity, by liking their posts, replying or retweeting or tagging them in a post. Create lists of interesting people. (I once got a like from Davina McCall who I LOVE when I tagged her in a snap of me reading her book on holiday)

May King did a video on her Daily Checklist for Twitter users and you can watch it here.

Find out more about May King on Twitter @MayKingTea.

Ian Anderson Gray © Catherine Berry

How to stop feeling like an idiot on video with Ian Anderson Gray

I didn’t do video for the first year of my blog because I was scared. And I’m not alone – you might be too.

Ian says video strikes terror into many of us because:

  • We fear we’ll look like an idiot.
  • We compare ourselves to others who we think are brilliant at it.
  • We don’t like how we look.
  • We have imposter syndrome.
  • Making video is overwhelming.
  • Perfectionism holds us back.

Personally, I can relate to all of this, well, maybe not the perfectionism but certainly the others.

Ian’s tips are to start on Instagram stories, then try a Facebook Live but set it so only you can see it, and build up your confidence.

Give yourself an honest appraisal afterwards and note three things you did well and three things that could be improved. Be kind to yourself though and keep positive.

But the key takeaway from Ian’s talk was that EVERYONE feels scared and rubbish when they first try video. We have to be crap at something to get good at it.

And what’s the alternative? You never do video? You toil over making perfect videos that never see the light of day?

Or you show up, be brave and just get on with it. What’s the worst that can happen?

That was Ian’s advice, and of course it’s not tailored for pet business owners, but one thing I found helped when I first did video was having a dog next to me.

You feel the focus isn’t just on you. Doing interviews where you’re sat chatting with another person can feel less overwhelming too.

Find out more about Ian at @iagdotme

Kirsty Merrett © Catherine Berry

Creative Instagram Marketing Ideas with Kirsty Merrett

I would love to have a beautiful Instagram grid and there are pet businesses who nail this like Teddy Maximus, but looks aren’t everything!

If you’re a dog walker or groomer or in my case, someone who writes about pet businesses, chances are your feed is a mix of pets and people.

Kirsty is a Fine Art Graduate and worked in Fashion before becoming a freelance photographer and content creator for brands.

Her feed is stunning – you can check it out @labelsforlunch – and she says Instagram helps build brand awareness, increases sales, enables you to build a community and find brand advocates.

Ads are affordable and can be very targeted, you can use your content to inspire people and get feedback direct to your inbox that can help you in your business.

Her tips for winning on Instagram are:

Write great captions. Aim to engage your audience and start a conversation – you want them to talk back to you.

Post at ‘good times.’ In the UK this is between 7-8am and 7-8pm.

Research relevant hashtags. If you’re a dog walkers for senior dogs, include #seniordogs and maybe #goldenoldies.

Be consistent. You don’t have to post every day – two or three times a week is fine – just keep showing up.

Communicate. Make sure you reply to every person who comments on your posts.

Use graphics. Think about the key messages you want to communicate – maybe mindful tips we can learn from our dogs – and use an app like PicMonkey, WordSwag or Canva to make graphics.

Have faith. Kirsty runs an Airbnb and explained sometimes she meets people who book in who know everything about her and her business, including her lovely Labrador Gordon, who she has never had any kind of online chat with.

Some people just like to consume rather than engage and they can love what you do just as much as your biggest online fans.

Follow Kirsty on Instagram @labelsforlunch and check out gorgeous Gordon!

Kirsty’s pup Gordon
Gavin Bell © Catherine Berry

Get clients on Facebook without spending a ton on advertising with Gavin Bell

Gavin explained advertising on social media in such a brilliantly simple way.

We’re not there to shop or be interrupted by ads – it’s the online equivalent of a chugger stopping us in the street.

A huge 85 per cent of people have a negative opinion of sites running ‘obnoxious or intrusive’ ads and 91 per cent said they found ads more intrusive than they did two years ago.

So how do you get around this?

Gavin’s advice is to be helpful, ask questions, solve problems and tell stories.

Create content that helps people – maybe a recall video or a downloadable guide to how to prepare your pet when you go on holiday.

The people who engage with this content will have a positive experience of you.

So when you retarget them with a product either through an advert or e mail, they won’t see it as intrusive or annoying.

Gavin’s final word was a quote from the American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

Find out more about Gavin

Janet Murray © Catherine Berry

Why not using LinkedIn in your marketing is crazy with Janet Murray

Do you use LinkedIn? Or do you think, ‘Hmm, people don’t really talk about pets on there,” like me?

My lightbulb moment was when a lady who made clothes said she couldn’t talk about her work on LinkedIn. “But people on LinkedIn wear clothes,” was one response.


I’m putting that in capitals for my sake as much as everyone else’s!

Seeing posts about our furry friends is a welcome distraction to people droning on about boring business meetings, company reports and industry awards.

Janet explained how she shares the same posts on LinkedIn as she does on Facebook and sometimes gets up to five times the reach on LinkedIn.

It’s easier to stand out – especially if you talk about something lighthearted – check out Kate Lister, a florist from Grimsby who has huge engagement and 11,000 followers here

Janet shared five different types of posts that you can share on LinkedIn

  • The Value Post – You could share an article or video that can help your customers and their pets.
  • The Review Post – Perhaps you’ve spoken at an event. Tag people who were there in your post and ask what was their biggest takeaway.
  • Behind The Scenes – Kate the florist shared her bouquets and stories about the people they were going out to. One was a thank you to a school lollipop lady. People LOVE feel good stuff like this.
  • The Shout Out Post – Janet’s event is sponsored by Kapwing, who add subtitles to videos, and, a transcription and sub-title service. She created a helpful video on how to use both to make videos with sub-titles on rather than simply saying they were sponsoring the event.
  • The Grenade Post – think like a milder version of Katie Hopkins. Is there something you can share that might be a little divisive or controversial that you know your audience will be dying to respond to?

Janet’s website is

I hope you find the tips helpful and I’ll be checking in with what I learn tomorrow.

If you’d like to know when I share a new blog post, you can sign up for updates here.


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