This post continues my deep dive into the AKC Digital Marketing 101 webinar that aired earlier this year. The AKC’s Social Media Manager, Cody Barr, shared tips on using social media, giving specific examples of the platforms and tactics that are best suited to dog clubs. This webinar shared more specific how-tos and answers to FAQs than the AKC Finding Your Social Media Voice webinar that I blogged about earlier this year.
Dog Lovers Are Facebook Users
Cody recommended Facebook as the social platform with the greatest number of users relevant to dog clubs. She mentioned Instagram is also a very good tool, especially if you are interested in reaching people who are Millennial or younger through social media. Instagram is very visual, so requires that you have lots of good quality images and short video to share. Twitter is more limited in message length and not as connected to dog club audiences.
Facebook Pages Can Be the Face of Your Club
Facebook pages are public facing and Cody recommended that dog clubs create a club page as their main Facebook presence. Pages require maintenance, you need to post consistently to keep people engaged. The AKC has full time staff posting as much as 5 times a day, but clubs should commit to posting at least weekly, if not daily. Content that keeps people on Facebook, like engaging photos and videos, including Facebook Live, are favored by the Facebook algorithm. Links that take people off Facebook to articles or video off the platform are less favored.
Pages offer ad management and audience insights that can help you reach and understand the people who are interested in your club. You can create targeted ads around your club’s geography and many dog and dog breed specific interests. While it’s good to share the workload of posting club content, it’s best to limit the total number of club page admins so that the page has a consistent voice and tone.
Facebook Groups Are Getting More Attention
Facebook groups are places where club members or like minded participants in a sport or activity can discuss things among themselves. You can set up screening criteria or questions to limit membership to people who can speak freely among themselves about things important to the group. AKC has set up a number of sport specific groups and club role specific groups recently and is planning to launch more.
Group members rather than admins can lead discussion in groups, so admins can focus on member screening and moderation rather than content creation. Admins should step in to get discussion going, moderate when needed, and answer questions. There are three privacy levels (Open, Closed, and Private) which affect who can see group discussion and whether or not that content is searchable.
Facebook allows you to bulk invite and approve members of groups. The member approval process allows you to exclude burner (fake profile) accounts to keep discussions limited to real participants who have a common interest. Group specific product features are available that allow you to customize specific group types. Cody included a FAQ page which covers questions that the AKC gets most often about managing groups at the end of her section of the webinar.
Setting Up Your Club Page and Club Group
If you don’t have a club Facebook Page or Group, there’s no time like the present to start! Facebook offers training videos through its Facebook Blueprint program. Decide who the club admin(s) will be, and make sure they have access to good photos and/or videos relevant to your club before they begin. Encourage people to share their photos and videos of club events and club members in different settings, for example, I usually take a group photo of my specialty club’s members at other events to share on social media. Enlist someone to live stream using Facebook Live during club events.