Social Media Etiquette for Pet Sitters
Social media has opened a world of opportunities for pet-sitting business owners. From Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare and YouTube and so on, social media platforms provide valuable and low to no-cost opportunities for pet-sitting businesses to promote their services to current and potential clients. What’s more, these sites are fun—sharing and viewing photos, checking out the latest news from friends, family and businesses, sharing your own updates, etc.
Many PSI pet sitters are finding that social media promotions are well received by clients. But, for any pet sitters, currently using or considering using social media for their pet-sitting services, there are a few practical tips to keep in mind:
- Ask permission. While you may assume all pet parents would love pictures of their dog, cat or other pet posted online for all to enjoy, this may not be the case. Ask clients at the initial meet and greet consultation or consider adding a checkbox to your service contract to confirm that you have permission to share your clients’ pets’ photos on your social media sites (or business Web site). You may find that most clients have no problem—and are thrilled—that you may post their pet’s photo, but others may prefer that you share a photo on their page (but not on your business page) only or others may wish to only have photos texted or e-mailed directly to them.
- Don’t share your location. Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites allow you to enable location recognition—DON’T. Sharing that your pet-sitting service is at a specific community festival or hosting an adoption fair at a specific location is one thing. But, never share the location of your posts with a status that shares you are on a pet-sitting assignment or when you post photos of clients’ pets. As a professional, it’s important to keep your clients’ privacy and safety in mind at all times—both online and off line.
- Keep it professional. Keep in mind Facebook allows you to create both personal pages and business pages—and these pages are used for two different reasons. While it is okay to occasionally share a family photo, photo of your own pets or a favorite quote on your business page to share a bit about yourself with potential and current clients, remember that each post on your business page reflects your pet-sitting service. Likewise, be mindful of any photos, cartoons, articles or links you share. Keep the information relevant to pet owners and avoid posting anything that contains offensive language, inappropriate humor or questionable content. Remember, too, that while your personal page may not be used for business, anything you post there could potentially be seen by current or potential clients. Be careful if you post complaints about your job, criticisms of clients or events, potentially offensive language, images or updates—you never know who’s reading—and talking—about what you post!
- Limit your time online. Promoting your pet-sitting service online is great for business—and your fans and followers will love reading your informative posts and seeing great pictures. But, make sure your online activity doesn’t take time away from your true focus—the pets. When performing pet-sitting assignments, your job is to spend time caring for and interacting with the pet—not simply taking cute photos to post on Facebook or Twitter. While a photo or two is fine, make sure your online activity doesn’t interrupt the quality time you should be spending with clients’ pets.
So, what have been your experiences using social media to promote your pet-sitting services? Are you finding platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer real business value—possibly garnering new clients or increasing the customer satisfaction of your current clients?
Share your experiences below!