3 Online marketing lessons my dog taught me

online-marketing-lessonsThis is a picture of my dog, Hula.

As of this writing, she’s a 9-month old Jack Russell/Pointer mix (we think) puppy.

She’s a handful, as anyone who’s ever owned an energetic puppy will undoubtedly attest.

But because I’ve been taking lots of photos of my new puppy and sharing them online, I’ve gleaned a few insights into how today’s online marketing world works, with a little help from Hula, of course.

Posting these photos has allowed me to see how strongly today’s social media user interacts with visual content. It’s the reason why visual social networks like Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest have exploded in popularity these past few years.

I’ve also seen how people’s reaction to pictures I’ve shared online gives insight into how content spreads these days. A lot of us in the online marketing space talk about creating viral content, but it’s another thing entirely to experience it firsthand with photos of your dog.

Here are three things my dog showed me about online marketing.

Lesson #1: Visual content resonates strongly with people

online-marketing-lessonsI’ve written about the importance of visual content marketing previously.

It’s an incredibly important aspect of content marketing, and it’s something that I think most everyone should be doing in some form for their business.

It’s free for the most part, and the emergence of social media networks like Instagram, Youtube, and Vine are testaments to the fact that visual content strongly resonates with people.

Think of how you yourself interact with content on Facebook, for instance. Next time you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, pay attention to how you might linger on a picture, as opposed to a text update from someone. You might find yourself scrolling past text updates, and lingering a bit on a photo. That’s the power of visual content marketing.

And it’s not just on Facebook, either. According to statistics from Buffer, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.

The above photo of Hula with the coffee cup was posted on my Facebook account and garnered over 100 “likes”, much more than any other picture I’ve ever posted.

The point is, when you create visual content that truly resonates with your target audience, they will go out of their way show you how much it resonates with them.

Lesson #2: Your audience will syndicate the content that they like

online-marketing-lessonsNow, this photo of Hula, when I posted it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, was reshared a total of 46 times between all three networks.

All I did was post the photo. I had no idea that it would generate such an incredible response.

But I think it highlights the fact that when you create visual content that resonates with your audience, you almost don’t have to worry about it getting spread. People are going to want to spread it, whether you want them to or not.

Obviously this is much easier said than done, but understanding your target audience is the key to ensuring that it happens at all. The better you know your audience, the more likely you are to create content that they’ll want to share for you.

I think it’s a mistake for us to chase virality in social media. I think virality happens when you create something of high value that people inherently WANT to share. If you set out to create a viral piece of content, I think you lose every time.

Instead, I think it’s better to sincerely try and provide value to your target customers and let them do the work for you!

Lesson #3: Social Media is the most powerful conduit at your disposal

online-marketing-lessonsI think a lot of content marketers are always searching for that next “hidden gem” to syndicate their content.

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

I’ve tried syndicating stuff in nearly every nook and cranny and have not found the path that brings me to the Promised Land of virality.

I’m here to tell you that I still think it’s social media that’s your best option for syndicating your content.

Social tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even Pinterest are just that – inherently social. They’re built for PEOPLE sharing CONTENT with each other.

Not only did I get more “likes” when I shared pictures of Hula on my personal social networks, but I got lots more engagement on those photos as well.

A dog is an online marketer’s best friend

online-marketing-lessonsThey say a dog is a man’s best friend, and what better friend than someone who helps you get better at online marketing?

If these photos and my experience with posting them online are any indication, you can learn 3 valuable lessons about online marketing from Hula.

I think you’ll find that online marketing really “clicks” for you when you start connecting ideas about it in two different places.

What lessons have you learned about online marketing in unlikely places?

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P.S. Remember, we’re here to help. We try to keep our articles simple and to-the-point, but we always have more to say! If you have questions or comments, you can reach Andrew & I directly, on our Facebook or Twitter pages — Matt