Navigating Social Media

Episode 155: BEST OF BELLA: Navigating Social Media with Mari Smith

We’re taking it back to episode 93 on this edition of the Best of Bella series, when Bella had the sincere pleasure of interviewing Mari Smith. She knows everything that is going on and she is the nicest, most approachable woman Bella has met in the social media space. They had fun talking about the ins and outs of social media and Bella wanted to bring her to you all again.

Original Show Notes:

Navigating social media can be pretty difficult, especially when it comes to your online business. Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is hailed as the premier Facebook marketing expert and one of the most influential and knowledgeable new media thought leaders in the world. In fact, Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to go on tour with the company to teach business owners across the United States how to grow their businesses using Facebook!  Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.”

social media


Mari is an in-demand speaker and travels the world to keynote and train at major events. She also serves as Brand Ambassador for many leading companies.  She has over 1.7 million followers on her various social channels and is the author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.



Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss:

  • How did you become such an expert on Facebook? In order to become an expert, you have to put in 10,000 hours into your skill. Be unwavering in your focus. FOCUS= Follow One Course Until Successful. It helps you keep on track.
  • Overall it is a universal mindset with fear-mongering. You can get really upset or you can be a calming voice of how to overcome or make a change regarding a problem you see, like pet food recalls or puppy mills. Mari encourages us to be the calming voice.
  • You have to be mindful of what you post for relationship marketing. Treat people with respect and use proper social etiquette even online. Ask yourself “would I be comfortable with this…appearing on the front page or on a google search. Even more, would you be okay with your Mom seeing it? Quiet your ego and try to diffuse tangents. Don’t be drawn into petty conversations. There are always screenshots that will be your digital ink.
  • How can you add value to your business with Facebook? You become a leader in social media by using groups and stories. Have a good strategy for your stories and you easily convert your personal Instagram to a business Instagram and have those post directly to your Facebook, which drives traffic to your website.


Navigating social media Mari Smith

Show Highlights:

  • Mari’s expertise in Facebook and how she got started on her path to becoming the “Queen of Facebook.” [3:30]
  • How to FOCUS for success [7:45]
  • Creating meaningful relationships on Facebook [10:50]
  • New business skills that everyone needs [14:10]
  • Benefits of setting up Facebook Groups [16:30]
  • Advice on how to build your online community [24:00]


Find more about Mari Smith and her new book at

Check out The 12 Biggest Social Media Marketing Mistakes Businesses Make at

Downloadable Offer:

Free PDF download. Mari Smith’s recommended Video Gear List for Facebook Live

Share The Show:

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review

The Top Mistakes Pet Businesses Make On Instagram

grow your instagram following

We live in a visual world.

We like to look at pretty things.

Our eyes are drawn to pictures and visuals…and all the social media platforms know this.

As pet business owners, this is exciting because what is more fun than posting pictures of sweet loving pets on Instagram? I mean we have it pretty easy, right?


Or at least I think we have it even tougher than most and I am going to tell you why. Most businesses I see stop at the cute pet face.  That’s it.  That is where they leave it but it does nothing to draw the viewer in other than showing that your company (or you) visits with lots of pets each day or week.

Did you know there are
500 million people on Instagram every day? 

According to Hootsuite here are some very exciting statistics:

71% of users are under 35 years old – hello millennials!
80% increase year over year for videos – stop thinking of Instagram as only pictures.
500 Million people use stories every day – are you using the story feature?
71% of businesses use Instagram – so if you think that your competition isn’t on there, you are wrong. But are they doing it RIGHT is the question? 
80% of users follow at least one business – Following a business on Instagram typically isn’t as intrusive. 
75% of users take action –  this statistic is huge.  How many things have you bought off Instagram? I know I have. They get me every time! 

And here is a statistic you can’t look away from. According to Marketing Dive,

71% of consumers want personalized advertisements and want to engage regularly with brands.

With statistics like this, how can you deny Instagram? Now because I am that fun loving, ever inspiring coach for you – I want to make sure you are not one of the “boring” brands out there. After all, there is no reason for it. I want to make sure you stop the scroll and the attention of the right people…. but before you do that – you gotta STOP doing this.

In no particular order:

Not Getting Local Enough

Every picture you post and every story you publish should always have a local location. It is how you will come up in the searches when people are looking locally. This can happen for your potential clients, your existing clients, other local businesses, and events around town. If nothing else, get in the habit of marking the local dog park on all your posts.

local instagram

You can also tag local people. Perhaps upon the new client sign up you can ask your customers if they are on Instagram and what their handle is. Then, when you upload a picture of their dog, you can tag them in that picture. This works as a notification and if you do it weeks after your service with them, it is a super way to subconsciously get on their radar again.

A pro tip: Most people think you have to physically be at the location in order to mark your location on it. You don’t. I have literally tagged locations in San Diego while posting from my living room in Phoenix, Az.


Not Using The Right Hashtags

I want you to think of hashtags like we did in the early 2000s when we were trying to find the right keywords for our website. Consider each Instagram post or story to be like a micro website or blog post.

Not using enough hashtags

Not using any hashtags won’t do anything for your post.

Using few too many (like three) won’t give you a fighting chance and often times aren’t even local enough to matter

Say you posted a picture of a golden retriever and used #goldenretriever.   Not to sound mean, but who cares? Well, except for that Golden’s parent of course.  That is going to do nothing for your business but if you use hashtags for the local dog park or landmark, or local festival happening that weekend, you stand the chance of getting more eyeballs and that coveted double tap.


instagram hashtags

Using highly competitive hashtags

Don’t make the mistake of using hashtags that only have millions of followers. What that is doing is entering your “lightweight” brand into the “heavyweight” championship. Think about it… if you are competing with millions of other people, what are the chances that your content will be shown?

Slim to none is the answer.

So don’t do it. Or at least don’t ONLY do that. A few hashtags that are hugely popular are okay but it is really important to not just only use those. Pick out some clusters about your business, about your area, and about local events going on.


Not taking the time to plan your content and material and plan it out visually.

Pictures that all look the same or have all the same things just are not going to be visually appealing enough for people to feel like you care. The effort you put into your social media is a direct message to your followers about how much effort you put into your business. Think about it as a consumer. They are judging you… so let’s help make it a good one!

instagram pictures

Not using filters

When you look at an Instagram feed and it just looks like a bunch of noise, you know the creator hasn’t thought out what they were going to post ahead of time and it was all very impulsive. As busy business owners, I know it’s hard to preplan all the time, so simple use of the same filter could also help this be achieved. But when you don’t use filters and you don’t have certain styles for taking pictures it just looks like a scrapbook. Keyword, “scrap”.

Again, we want to give an impressive opinion of our business just like we do on our website so think seriously before you post.

Posting the same thing over and over again.

When all you post is the close selfie shot of a dogs face, the only person who really cares about that is the parent of that dog. If it isn’t my dog, I don’t care.  I don’t ream to sound harsh, but it is the truth. UNLESS… you are telling compelling stories with each post, which many do not. So really think ahead of time about the topics that you want to display on your Instagram feed so when they come up in real life you can snap a picture.

instagram dog

Too much text, graphics, or reshares

Sometimes I see people only post quote after quote of stock photos where it doesn’t actually show anything unique. It is just other people’s words, or pictures, or warnings and again this does nothing for telling the message of the brand.

This screams you have no idea what you are doing. It is generic and doesn’t serve the business. So if you are one of those people who screenshots others graphics and then post them as your own… not only is that illegal but it also isn’t doing much for you.

Okay well maybe there is one exception – it is hilariously laughing out loud funny.


How Should I Plan and Post My Instagram Account?

Now, I wouldn’t be your coach Bella if I didn’t also offer you up a solution….
And today happens to be your lucky day.

My team and I have literally spent hours preparing this for you.  A webinar that normally would have a three digit price ticket on it – but I decided I am just going to GIVE it away to you for free. Here is what I am going to teach  you:

  1. How to create content
  2. How to develop your very own Hashtag Strategy
  3. How to engage with your audience
  4. How to amplify your reach in your neighborhood (without paying for it!)
  5. How to create engaging stories
  6. What Instagram success looks like and more importantly how to measure it!

instagram secrets

Episode 116: Instagram Secrets For Your Pet Business With Jenn Herman

It’s no secret that Instagram can be a powerhouse social media platform for your business – but I see so many business owners that are just NOT using it to its fullest potential. If you’ve been wanting to dive deep into the inner working of Instagram and learn useful Instagram secrets, then today is your day!

Jenn Herman is a social media consultant, speaker, and globally recognized Instagram expert. She is the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing and her blog, Jenn’s Trends, has won the title of a Top 10 Social Media Blog in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Through her blog, consulting, and speaking Jenn provides tips, resources, and training for small to medium sized businesses that need to structure their social media strategies. Her business background includes Administration, Sales, Human Resources, and Marketing and she enjoys bringing all these skills together to help you grow your business. Jenn has been featured in Inc., Fox News, Yahoo Finance, HuffPost, The Verge, CBS Radio LA, and numerous other podcasts and publications. She is the author of “Instagram for Business for Dummies”, “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Instagram” and “Stop Guessing: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy”. Learn more about Jenn on her website


instagram secrets


Biggest Takeaway You Don’t Want To Miss

  • Above all, you have to have a consistent strategy. Being active and taking the time to implement the strategy you develop is key.  Your processes will drive the results that get you clients, regardless if you have 50 followers or 50,000 followers. What matters is who’s going to find you and bring you business. Build an amazing community of the followers you have and use strategic efforts (i.e. hashtags, stories, following events) to turn that into business.


Show Highlights

  • Who Is Jenn Herman? [1:00]
  • Why Do I Need Instagram In MY Business? [3:00]
  • What Are The Different Ways Consumers Can Use Instagram? [5:30]
  • How Do We Figure Out HOW Our Audience Consumes Instagram? [9:00]
  • What Tactics On Instagram Can We Use To Build Our Local Following? [11:45]
  • Should You Always Use A Location Tag? [16:00]
  • What Kind Of Strategies Can I Use For Hashtags? [17:00]
  • How Often Should You Post On Instagram? [25:00]
  • Why Should I Have A Kick-Butt Instagram Page? [28:00]


instagram secrets


Special Offer

  • Pick up a copy of Jenn’s book, Instagram For Business For Dummies, on Amazon here:


instagram secrets


Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’
grow your instagram following

Episode 109: Organically Growing Your Instagram Following For Your Pet Sitting Or Dog Walking Business

Are you hearing that Instagram is a great way to get more followers and customers but just confused as all heck on how to use it? Maybe you started using it but have no idea how you can convert your time and energy in the platform into tangible success? Do you just blindly post without a strategy and see little engagement from local pet owners? Is your follower based more other businesses instead of pet owners?

If any of these questions resonate with you, then you’ll definitely want to tune in to this episode as Erika and I break down exactly how you can organically grow your following on Instagram for your pet sitting or dog walking business.

growing your instagram following

Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want To Miss


How Do I Get More Instagram Followers?

  • The number one question that business owners ask is how do I get more followers? Before we can get into that, it’s important that we make the distinction between relevant and irrelevant followers. It is much better to have just 250 followers of local pet owners following your account rather than 1,000 random accounts from around the world that will never use your service. Therefore, it’s not the quantity of followers that is most important, but the quality!

How Do I Grow My Local Audience On Instagram?

  • First and foremost, you want to make sure you are using a business profile that is set up and optimized. This means using a professional username (tip: try to keep it as close to your URL as possible), linking your website, and using a high-quality logo as your profile photo.
  • Next, you want to start following local pet owners – like and comment on their photos! Although it will take time, eventually they will start to notice you and will remember you when they need your service. But, don’t be annoying! You can also follow local hashtags that your prospective clients follow and search location tags in your area to look for pet owners. Search for nearby businesses, parks, etc. and follow/engage with their followers who are pet owners. Also be sure to see what your current clients post and the hashtags that they use.
  • Use this same technique by partnering with local businesses that share the same target audience. You can run contests that will help boost engagement!
  •  On your own profile, you have to put time and effort into consistent posting and be engaging. You can extend your reach with Instagram ads when you have a promotion.
  • Lastly, you can check out Instagram accounts for a local business that’s a competitor. Try to study what they’re posting and see what’s working for them. It doesn’t hurt to follow their ideas, but perhaps you can think of even better ideas. Brainstorm with your employees as well! Also, if your competitors have followers, they might be more likely to follow you back since they already like the same type of business.

    growing your instagram following

What Hashtags Should I Use?

  • First, you’ll need to find the hashtags that your clients are following so you can appear in their feed when they are browsing. Leverage these local hashtags and ask engaging questions!
  • You can use the notepad on your phone to save a few groups of hashtags to copy and paste into the comments section easily.
  • Once you’re following a good amount of Instagram users in your area, be sure to like their photos! Continue to like their photos and comment. Eventually, the local Instagram users you follow will follow you back and interact with you. It does take time and you need to be persistent. But don’t act desperate or pushy!


Should I Buy Followers Or Use An Engagement Bot?

  • Absolutely, NOT! Scheduling software is okay but never, ever, ever buy followers or use an engagement bot that auto-likes or auto-comments.


How Can I Get People To Actually Contact Me On Instagram?

  • The number one way is to publish relevant, interesting content that affects prospective clients emotionally. You don’t want to sell and you don’t want to overpost either. Avoid unthoughtful comments that might be mistaken for a bot.
  • Engage with local pet owners. Be human and be genuine! Interact and respond to comments, messages etc.
  • Lastly, create a pattern and use Instagram stories!growing your instagram following

How Can We Use Instagram Stories To Generate Leads?

  • Show your business! Have your staff record videos of playing with pets, walking dogs etc. Show off what makes you AWESOME!
  • Be sure to touch on pain points your are solving (think trust and security).
  • Make people want to care about what you are saying by sharing valuable information. Show people you are trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable!

Resources & Links


Share The Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link – Bella In Your Business
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’
web developer social media

Episode 74: Web Development & Social Media With Ian Anderson Gray

In this episode of Bella In Your Business, Bella sits down with Ian Anderson Gray, the founder of Seriously Social; a blog focused on social media tools. Ian & Bella discuss all things social media including how pet sitting and dog walking business owners can effectively use Facebook, Instagram, and LIVE video.

Here is what they chat about:


  • Biggest misconceptions about social media
  • The worst mistakes business owners make on Facebook & Instagram
  • Tips for maximizing your presence on Facebook, Instagram, and live video
  • Differences between web developers and web designers
  • What business owners should look for in a web developer

    social media

    Ian Anderson Gray – Seriously Social


Who Is Ian?

Ian is an international speaker, trainer, teacher, web developer, and consultant. He has a passion for making the techno-babble of social media marketing easy to understand. Ian is co-founder of Select Performers – a family run web agency. As well as being a geek, husband, and dad to two kids, Ian is also a professional singer and lives near Manchester in the UK.

Special Gift:

As a special gift to the audience, Ian is offering 20% off of his Facebook Live Courses with discount code BELLA20 here:


Subscribe To The Show:

Leave A Review:

Listen To The Show:


Episode 60: Surefire Social Media Tactics For Pet Sitters With Calvin Wayman

On our 60th episode of Bella In Your Business, we have Calvin Wayman. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and the CEO of a social media agency  called CobbsMedia designed to make corporations, small businesses, and personal brands grow and stand out through the power of social media.   

social media

Calvin Wayman of CobbsMedia

He recently published his first book, which debuted on the Amazon top-100  called “Fish Out of Water: The Guide To Achieving Breakthrough and Permanently Transforming Into the New You.”  To find out more about Calvin, visit him on his website:

Social media can be both daunting and overwhelming. There’s not only a variety of different platforms, but each of them have their own uses and strengths. It can be difficult knowing which platform is worth investing your time into, and even harder making that platform lucrative. Listen in as Calvin and Bella discuss:

  • The 4 C’s of social media
  • Things that EVERYBODY does wrong on social media
  • Instagram Vs. Facebook – which is better for pet sitters?
  • The impact Facebook Live can have in your business
  • Advice for managing your social media pages while saving your sanity!

As a gift to our audience, Calvin has a free downloadable offer for a social media makeover ($300 value!). Learn more about the offer here:

Subscribe To The Show:

Listen To The Show:

Britt Alwerud

Episode 31: Types of Apps

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Britt Alwerud from Handlr.  They discuss  the top 9 apps they think are great for the Pet Sitting business.

The apps they discuss are:

Britt Alwerud

Britt Alwerud lives in Los Angeles, CA with her menagerie of furbabies – two Goldens, Daisy and Taj, two cats, Tiger and Monkey, two horses named Gracie and Moo, and a chameleon named Larry. Britt owns DogZenergy in San Diego, CA. Now she’s the full-time Founder and CEO of Handlr. Handlr is the ultimate business app for busy pet sitters who are looking to automate and grow their business. Learn more about Handlr by clicking here or email her at You can also find Britt on Instagram @doggonetechgirl or follow Handlr on Twitter @myhandlr for weekly business tips.

Subscribe To The Show:

Listen To The Show:


Episode 30: Proven Social Media Marketing Methods

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

Britney Young, Social Media Marketing Manager

In this episode, Bella talks to Britney Young. Britney is a digital marketing professional and social media enthusiast. Her day-to-day life as a social media marketing manager includes: finding/curating relevant content to post to social channels, analyzing post data and post performance to see key trends or spikes in engagement, looking for relevant industry influencers to connect with, and responding to customer inquires, etc.

They discuss:

  • What a social marketing manager does
  • The pros and cons of using automatic republishers like Meet Edgar
  • How often should you post
  • What should you be posting
  • What you should be doing with all of those pet pictures you post
  • Their favorite apps for doctoring up pictures
  • The differences in the social media channels and a good workflow for pushing one post through many of them.
  • Focusing your efforts on a few selected channels.
  • Knowing your audience and finding out what channel works best for them.Apps mentioned:
    – Canva
    – Abobe Spark
    – Pixaby

For more information about Britney Young, you can find her on LinkedIn at

Subscribe To The Show:

Listen To The Show: