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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Joe Webb

Joe Webb Founder / Trainer

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Social Media, the Puppy

Havanese puppyMy wife recently decided it was high time to get a pet dog for the family. I had been delaying this decision since my wife and I first moved in together (years and years ago). I just wasn’t ready for the responsibility. (And, on top of that, I’m allergic). Nonetheless, almost 15 years and two sons later, I acquiesced and began researching a suitable breed. Long story short, we decided upon a Havanese. We researched breeders, investigated, awaited a litter, and picked up our new puppy.  Cute as can be, I realize that this ball of hair will be essential to the growth and development of my children. But these first few weeks have been a lot of work.


Jacuzzi hot tubsTo tie this together, I was recently honored to have been hired by Jacuzzi corporate to speak at their International conference on the subject matters of lead management and process improvement. Even though I was the one to be dispensing knowledge onto the audience of franchise owners and manufacturer reps, I was able to walk away with my mind swimming with ideas as well. I was intrigued by a simple statement from Jacuzzi’s Director of Advertising and Digital Marketing, Martin Borsanyi, during his session on social media. He said “Social Media is free like a puppy is free.” I can say first hand that this statement hit home. Literally. 

Any corporation can have a social networking account the same way anyone can adopt a dog. It just takes doing it. Sure, breeders charge an arm and a leg the same way a social media management firm does for their set-up costs, but relatively speaking, you can do it on the cheap yourself. However, if you want to get the most out of your puppy (let’s name her Social Media), then you are going to have to invest a decent amount of money and a lot more time.

Social Media the Puppy requires time for training. Not only does the puppy need training, but
you need training on the puppy. You have to spend time with it so it doesn’t get lonely. You have to work with it ongoing if you want to see results in its behavior. You need to dedicate money to its collars, food, and grooming, just as you do to its promoting of posts, PPC campaigns, and FB dark posts. To do it right, you have to spend some money. To be the best owner of Social Media the puppy you can be, you have to give it a fair amount of attention.

It needs to run.
It can’t just sleep all day.
You need to feed it posts, tweets, links, Likes and comments.
You need to listen to its barking notifications, and respond accordingly.
Social Media is a new member of the family, and regardless of what you think of the channel, it is in its infancy. Social Media is the 80 lb black Labrador puppy that is too big to act like one. It still needs to learn its way, and it will break things in the meantime.

​Social Media the puppy is a ton of work. If you aren’t giving it attention, money, and time, you aren’t going to like how it behaves when full grown. You’ll never have control, and you’ll never have full ownership of it.  Treat it the way a young puppy deserves to be treated, and you’ll have a friend and companion for life.

Megan Barto
Great post! So are you saying if you have 75 (grossly exaggerated number, maybe) different social media channels you have 75 different puppies?? Sheesh! ;-)
Steven Pearson
Great analogy. Love it!
Lisa Edwards
GREAT article! What are others spending on social media on a monthly basis?
Kacey Gorringe
Great blog, Joe! I pose this question to you though: Do social media companies really charge an arm and a leg compared to the cost of someone handling these efforts in-house? As you mentioned, to do social media correctly takes a lot of time and expertise. It really is a full-time job in and of itself. Therefore, it should not be a secondary concern when handled by an in-house Internet Director, Receptionist, Sales Manager, etc. Now, I would usually agree that it should be done in-house if it's cost-effective and the person or team handling this 80 lb. puppy (love the analogy as well) actually has the expertise to successfully engage the audience. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case from my experience. Many dealerships forget that social media is about telling your story and engaging your audience - not just blasting "Sale! Sale! Sale!" Thanks!
Shannon Hammons
Good article Joe. Very insightful. Thanks for all the you do for us.

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