It’s our first Marketing Monday! This Monday I wanted to let you know about a great free way to market your pet business – Facebook.  Many of you may have Myspace accounts already, Facebook is a similar social networking site but it has a few features that make it particularly good for marketing your pet sitting business. The one I really like is the ability to create a special page for your business where you can create discussion boards, set up an opt-in box for you ezine or newsletter, post notes, and share photos.

The first step to take to start marketing with Facebook is to set up your own personal profile page.  Only individuals can have profiles – under the Facebook terms and conditions you can’t actually set up a profile as your business.  Find more info about the differences between Facebook profiles and pages click here.  You can see my profile page here:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=573692619&ref=name

While you are there – send me a friend invite so we can connect!

Once you have your profile page set up you can starting searching for friends and connecting with pet owners in your area.  You can search for pet owners in your area by using the search tool and using the term “Your City dog lover” or “Your City Pet Owner” and inviting them to join your friends network.  I find that a great way to approach people is to look for people who show their pets in their profile picture and commenting on their pet as part of my friend request.

Once you’ve gathered a few friends – make your status posts (the comments you can type into the box at the top of your profile) interesting and related to pets. You can also include short pet care or pet safety tips as status posts.  If people are getting useful information from your profile they will come back to visit regularly. Each of your status posts will also appear on the alert summary (home) page on your friends Facebook accounts.  So even if they don’t stop by your your page they will be able to see what you are up to and read your tips.

Once you have your profile created you can also go ahead and set up a new page in Facebook for your business. Here is a good tip sheet for setting up a new page:

http://www.facebook.com/business/?pages

As an example you can visit my Working with Pets Facebook page. You can see I haven’t been very actively promoting it – I could do a lot more to promote participation. Some suggestions for getting people involved in your page include:

1) Holding a contest on your page

2) Posting discussions related to current hot pet topics that are in the news

3) Posting information about local pet events

4) Posting reviews of new pet products

5) Posting pet care tips on the wall of your page or in the form of notes

An example of a well set up and active page is Mari Smiths business page.  Mari is an expert in using Facebook for business networking so this is also great page to subscribe to and get more tips on using Facebook. Mari also has a good blog where you can get more free Facebook tips – Why Facebook.com

Get yourself a free Facebook account today and start searching out other local pet owners! Don’t forget to add me as a friend, I’d love to chat about pets too.