Using social media to build a loyal customer following

by Richard Rockett, Head of Marketing at Burgess  Pet Care

More than ever, social media offers the most cost effective and flexible way to engage with your customers. Whether used to attract new customers or to communicate with existing ones, any licensed kennel and cattery owner needs to understand the benefits and pit falls of social media. It’s important to learn how to make best use of a range of sites whether its the hugely popular Facebook and Twitter or the newest social media tools on the market.



  • It’s free (other than your time)
  • It’s a direct link to your customers
  • Immediate feedback and communication can be created
  • You become part of your customers trusted group
  • You can learn more about your audience
  • You can demonstrate your expertise
  • Connect with new customers
  • You’re getting onto the radar of multimedia
  • More than 3.8m cat photos and video clips are shared on social media every day
  • Nearly 1m pet owners have set up a social media profile for their pet (GoCompare survey)
  • 1 in 10 UK pets have their own Facebook, Twitter or YouTube account (PetPlan report)



facebook FB word

  • Popular social networking website
  • Allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video
  • Users send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues
  • Single largest user base of any social media site
  • Made popular by the younger generation, now completely mainstream
  • 31.5m UK users
  • Most organisations use Facebook as their main hub of online communication
  • It should be used regularly, ideally every day
  • It can be linked to all other social media sites



twitter twit

  • Twitter is an online social networking service
  • Allows you to send and read short messages messages called “tweets”
  • A tweet is 140 characters maximum
  • A more passive medium than Facebook
  • 15m UK users
  • Use it as a news feed that reflects your passions
  • Hashtags are used to help people follow conversations of interest
  • Build an audience by “re-tweeting” to good effect



pinterest 2 pinterest

  • An online noticeboard
  • Provides a visual version of a social bookmarking site
  • Over 80% of pins are re-pinned from elsewhere
  • Demographic is predominately female
  • More than 2m UK users
  • Use Pinterest as you would a noticeboard
  • The content must be visually driven e.g. 10 top tips 



instagram instagramword

  • An online mobile photo and video-sharing social networking service
  • Enables users to take pictures and videos for sharing on other social networking platforms
  • More than 150m global users
  • As a support to your other social media feeds
  • For visual content
  • To gain advantage over your competitors




Instagram-marketing-dos-donts 2

  • Post Frequently
  • Keep an informal tone
  • Use social media  get involved in the community
  • Be interesting
  • Be responsive
  • Share others posts only if they’re relevant
  • Be original
  • Use pictures and videos




  • don’t copy posts from other people
  • don’t use your site for ‘hard sales pitching’
  • don’t be negative about others
  • dont spam
  • don’t become obsessed with increasing followers




1. Make the best use of Social Media

  • The whole point is to engage with people
  • Create “Recommend a Friend” Initiatives
  • Link up with another local business
  • Demonstrate good consumer care
  • Offer promotions and discounts
  • Check out what your competitors are doing
  • Produce useful online content
  • Start a blog
  • Use paid advertising

2. Build loyalty

  • Ask for suggestions on improving your service
  • Create exclusive promo codes and competitions
  • Host Question and Answer sessions
  • Deliver helpful content
  • Deal with complaints effectively

3. Deal with negativity

  • Respond quickly
  • Be open and honest
  • Be aware of who’s listening
  • Remember anyone could be viewing your site
  • Don’t delete or hide the complaint
  • Take complaints or negative comments offline
  • Check your facts
  • Don’t get drawn into arguments
  • Check media forums
  • Be gracious and grateful
  • Never make a public offer of compensation