Building Authentic Connections on IG | Skarlet Shuplat

Animal Innovations Show - Episode 38 - Skarlet Shuplat

Building Authentic Connections on IG | Skarlet Shuplat

Instagram—the free and popular photo-sharing and video-sharing social media platform that has pervaded everyone’s personal and social lives.

But does Instagram help businesses succeed, especially those in the pet industry?

If creating compelling social media campaigns centered around animals is something that strikes your interest, then you might be pleased to know that Instagram is one of the best tools you can use to grow your business. Not only can it increase your visibility, but it can also add to your customer base.

As long as you do things right on the platform, Instagram can be one of your keys to success. However, some people still find themselves having a hard time taking full advantage of Instagram’s many benefits.

To make things easier for you, digital media strategists, like Skarlet Shuplat, suggest building authentic connections with other people in your niche, such as pet owners.

Skarlet, an Instagram strategist working specifically with pet professionals, enthused,

“I think for me, Instagram is the social media network that currently sticks the best to the concept of what ‘social media’ is supposed to be. I think it’s the most connected. And conversely, Facebook has become something that, likeyou have to have a Facebook the same way you have to have a website. But your followers don’tyou don’t really start conversations and relationships with them the same way on a Facebook page as you do on Instagram.”

As someone who provides support in authentically connecting brands and bloggers with more pet parents on Instagram, Skarlet has helped dozens of clients harness the power of social media to help them grow their audience and monetize their influence.

To give listeners a better idea, she shared,

“I create and implement custom campaigns and increase the visibility and the opportunity for people to actually monetize their influence. That way, whatever their mission is, they can have more success in reaching the person that is their ideal customer, the people that they need—I mean, the people who need what they have.”

Considering the numerous distractions that take our attention nowadays, it’s understandable why trying to get in front of your audience and get them to give you more than a hint of recognition of your business identity poses such a huge challenge.

However, for Skarlet, this is a challenge that can be resolved if you use Instagram correctly.

“I also find that the fact that you absolutely have to have a photo or a video, being a much more visual platform, also makes people a lot more engaged. The engagement rate on Instagram is, like, five or 10 times what it is on Facebook for the same content. It’s insane. Like, the average for a page with 1,000 to 5,000 followers, the average is about 5%. And like, on Facebook, the average is a tenth of that percent. That engagement rate does go down as the numbers go up. So, like, if youyou know, a hundred thousand or a million followers are closer to one percent, but it’s still much better than Facebook even at those numbers. And I think that’s why a lot of small businesses especially, really gravitate towards it because it is a place where you can connect more authentically with your audience,”

the self-proclaimed rabbit lady stated.

Build Authentic Connections With Pet Owners as a Pet Business | Skarlet Shuplat

Contrary to the journeys of her colleagues, who became “really good at social media marketing” after starting it as a hobby with their pets, Skarlet discovered her affinity for the role only after having already established her social media agency back in 2015.

Although she worked with a lot of different companies in broader niches, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores, it was only when she happened to work with a client with pet supplements that she fell in love with the concept of working in the pet industry.

Looking back, Skarlet described the experience,

“It was just a whole different feeling than working with any other industry I ever worked in. So, I decided to narrow down and only work with pet professionals after that… And I realized that it was because the pet industry is just so different from any other industry. I have a passion for it that I didn’t have for any of the other industries I worked with… I knew this was where I really wanted to be.”

Wanting to impart a bit of her knowledge and expertise, Skarlet suggested the following for social media marketer-wannabes:

  1. Keep in mind that nothing you do is cookie cutter. While you may have a checklist for your market research, your research may still bring back different results for different clients. So, you need to formulate a strategy that’s going to be different for each of your clients.
  2. In your first month, make only a single post for your client. This period is always for doing market research and creating the client’s custom strategy.
  3. Afterward, you can then build a content strategy from your market analysis. Your content needs to attract your audience in a way that isn’t necessarily going to come off as too “commercial-like”. After all, most social media users are looking for entertainment, and that’s the content that you want to put out.

 

 

Learn more about Skarlet Shuplat!

Check out her website at https://www.skarletrockwood.com.

Check out her free Facebook Group (Instagram Marketing for Pet Professionals): https://www.facebook.com/groups/fursocialcommunity/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Skarlet:

Hey, I’m Skarlet Shuplat, and you are tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris:

Awesome introduction, Skarlet.

So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.

Skarlet:

My name is Skarlet Shuplat. I’m an Instagram strategist for pet professionals, specifically.

I specialize in helping anyone in the pet industry connect authentically with pet parents and with the specific type of pet parents that is their target audience.

So, I create and implement custom campaigns and increase the visibility and the opportunity for people to actually monetize their influence.

Chris:

Yeah, and now—I mean, I know, social media is crazy, right? Trying to get in front of your audience and trying to grab their attention.

So, what is it about Instagram that really made you want to be the strategist on Instagram?

Skarlet:

The funny thing is, through networking and being part of groups from a lot of other people who work in the pet industry and who work with Instagram and social media, I’ve discovered that my journey to this niche has actually been the opposite of most people.

Other people who are really good at this industry—social media marketing, especially on Instagram—started as a hobby with their pets, and they realized that growing their pet’s Instagram was something they enjoyed so much.

And they learned so much about it that they started offering it to other people, or, you know, taught people how to do it.

Now, for me, it was the opposite.

I actually started my social media agency in 2015, and I wasn’t specific to the pet industry.

So, I wasn’t starting it as a hobby and became a business. I started as a business that was more broad.

I worked with a lot of different companies, like mostly restaurants or retail stores.

And then I found it, just by honestly picking up a client who happened to be a pet supplement.

Then I absolutely fell in love with working in the pet industry so much more.

And it was just a whole different feeling than working with any other industry I ever worked in.

So, I decided to narrow it down and only work with pet professionals after that.

Chris:

Wow. So, now what types of clients have you worked with?

Skarlet:

I have one that is a life coach specifically for pet parents.

And then I have one that is a pet lifestyle expert.

So, she is—she basically has her own blog for pet parents, tips for dog and cat owners. And I manage her Instagram as well.

Chris:

Now, when you start working as a new client, I mean, where do you begin?

Do you do some sort of an audit with them and try and figure out what their goals are?

I mean, how do you lay out the strategy?

Skarlet:

So, the first month before I start making a single post for a client, the first month is always about market research and creating their custom strategy.

So, I audit, do a deep audit on their account and then 10 other accounts that are either competitors, or similar industry, or have a similar—like, they have the followers that the client wants to attract.

And then from that, I build a content strategy, which is basically “what kind of posts are working?”.

What kind of mix are we going to use?

Do we focus more on reels or IGTV or certain types of engagement posts?

What are some ideas for the types of posts that we would want to make?

Chris:

So, for somebody that’s new to Instagram as a platform, I mean, you are just rattling off some things that they need to—you know, different types of things to post on Instagram.

Where would you tell them to start? I mean, how do they even start to build that to get people’s attention?

Skarlet:

When you think about what you’re going to post, make it only 20% promotional content at most.

If you’re posting once a day—once, maybe twice a week—actually talk about your products or your services or anything like that and offer directly—everything else needs to be engaging content.

So, something entertaining, or something educational, or something that evokes emotion for some time, going out and liking and commenting on other people’s posts, and going out and following other accounts—they’re very important to the overall growth of making sure people come and follow you and look at your account.

Chris:

So, now, how do you keep track of—I mean, you’re supporting multiple clients, how do you keep track of their strategies and what you’re trying to post for them and what the next step is?

Skarlet:

I actually use a daily planner, but that’s more so just for the way my brain works.

If I have a short list in front of me, it helps me forget about the long list.

But for the actual organization to keep track of everything, I use a software called Airtable. They have a free version and a paid version.

But everything I do, which is pretty complex, is actually all available within the free version.

And I use it for social media content planning. I use it for brainstorming.

I use it for keeping track of my editorial calendar.

Chris:

Now, what’s your background? I mean, how did you get into this?

How did you become an Instagram strategist for, you know, your original clients?

Skarlet:

To go way, way back, when I was 13 is when I started working.

My mom has a web design company, so I was working for my mom, doing what is now your typical virtual assistant work.

You know, data entry, keeping track of things, filing all that good stuff. I’ve worked in social work. I looked at job call centers.

I did that up until 2015, and I had reached a point—I’m a type 1 diabetic, and I had a point where my health had become very poor, and I was in and out of the hospital a lot. And it became very difficult to show up to an 8-5 job.

So, I ended up looking into options for working from home, and the one that was the closest to what I already knew, and what seemed like the most obvious jump was social media markets.

I started out specializing in Facebook, and I really don’t have any interest on Instagram when it first came out.

I was a teenager at the time, so it seems odd, but I was a super early adopter of Myspace.

But the rest of it, I was real slow about—like, when Facebook first came out, you know, I was a really young teenager.

My thought was, “I see no difference or reasons better than Myspace. I want to stay on Myspace.”

And I stayed there until it died. It died.

And then, I finally got on Facebook. That’s where I started my specialization when I started as a social media manager.

And then, I actually started learning management of Instagram for clients, and I realized how much I enjoyed it there.

I actually started Instagram professionally, and I never had a personal profile before I learned how to run it for my clients, and it ended up being the platform that I loved the most.

Part of why I think they’ve survived is that they’ve done a really good job at adopting the best pieces of other platforms.

They adopted their Stories when Snapchat was popular.

They adopt Reels when Tiktok became popular.

So, they’ve got IGTV, which they try to turn into their version of YouTube.

It’s not quite the same, but it’s still a place for long video.

But I think they’ve done a really good job of not hopping on every single trend but knowing which ones are going to last, and picking those up and adding them to their records.

Chris:

So, what’s next for you, Skarlet? Where do you want to take your business?

Skarlet:

Well, I’m actually really excited about the membership that I’ve just started, because previous to this, my membership started—I think I started accepting new people in January.

The first weekly meeting that we had was the beginning of April.

So, it’s only not even two months old now that we’ve got it running, and it’s been really great.

It’s a monthly membership, or you can pay right now for, like, another couple of weeks.

You can actually pay for one time for lifetime, and this is going to actually build to annually.

But it teaches basically everything I know about social media marketing, Instagram, and then other aspects of things that connect into Instagram, like funnels and email marketing, websites, and things like that—branding, all that good stuff.

And then we also have ongoing support, which I find really, really important for a lot of people.

Sometimes, I’ll ask them, “What do you want more of?”

And I think they’re going to tell me: “I want more of this information or that information.”

“I want more co-working time”, or “I want more Q & A sessions”, or something like that.

So, it offers a lot of that, where it’s basically like a group coaching program.

Chris:

Really cool.

So, now, if people want to get a hold of you, or hire you, join the membership, where can they go?

Skarlet:

Instagram is an easy place to reach me.

I’m @SKARLETSHUPLAT—

That “Skarlet Shuplat” is pretty much my name on every platform that I’m on, which is Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn—they are the ones I’m active on.

And then also, just SKARLETSHUPLAT.COM is my website, and there is a link right on the home page to book a 15-minute call with me if you want to actually get any specific information that you can’t find by looking around on the blog and the resource pages and things like that.

Chris:

Well, Scarlett, I’m really super excited that you came on today.

Is there anything else you want to mention before we wrap things up?

Skarlet:

I do actually have a free Facebook group as well.

So, if anyone wants Instagram or just marketing tips specifically for the pet industry, you can look up Instagram Marketing for Pet Professionals.

If you see a picture of a woman with bright red hair, that’s me. You’re in the right group, and you can join that for free.

I give tips in there, and we have a lot of discussions about anything somebody asks questions, and I’ll answer it for them.

Chris:

Very neat.

Well, thanks for sharing that, and we’ll make sure that we link people to that as well.

And as we wrap up today, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners that if you’ve got an idea, or if you’re a creative genius on Instagram, like Skarlet is, somebody that’s focused on helping animals, and I should have them on the show, just let me know about it.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and fill out the form, and we’ll get them on the show and talk about it.

So, thanks agains, Skarlet. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Skarlet:

Thank you. Me, too.

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