I see it all the time.

Trainer after trainer creating blog posts, videos or other content and sharing away on social media.

When I see it, my neck instantly tenses. My jaw tightens and my fingers hover over the unfollow button.

Sure, they are putting out content. And sure they are making a mark.

I coach business owners to follow that strategy all the time. Create unique content and share it on social media to get your name out there.

But there is one thing they are doing that hurts them rather than helps them.

One thing that repels potential clients more than it attracts them.

One thing that keeps them from getting seen by more of the right people.

And that one thing is …

Complaining.

I know you feel me on this one. Surely you’ve seen it.

They rant on their business page about another trainer, a piece of equipment, a methodology, or a worse yet, a client.

They’ll say things like…

“The reason XYZ method will never work is …”

or

“So frustrated with lazy trainers who…”

or

“Did a consult and the dog was totally out of control…”

or (one of my recent favorites)

“Any person who uses flexi leads is an idiot…” (I use flexi leads for training advanced behaviors so this one really irks me)

Sure the poster may get some likes. They may get plenty of shares. In fact, they may develop their own posse of Facebook fans cheering them on.

But those fans typically agreed with them from the get go. So the only thing venting got them was validation from those who were on the same page already.

And more importantly, those fans weren’t their ideal customers.

In fact, typically the “here heres”! and the “right ons” are coming from friends and fellow dog trainers who would never buy services from them anyway.

Their rant didn’t change any minds. It didn’t change any behavior. It didn’t inspire self-reflection. It didn’t really inspire much of anything…except maybe an argument or two.

Dog trainers. This is for you.

You are experts in your field. And as an expert, dog owners look up to you. It’s a role you need to take seriously. One you should never squander. One you should hold with the utmost respect and discretion.

I always coach that in order to get value, and this is especially true when marketing, and even truer when creating unique content to get your business seen on the social sites, you need to BE VALUABLE.

This doesn’t mean talking about your frustrations with trainers who didn’t get results. Plainly stated, you don’t know the whole story, so passing judgment is irresponsible.

It also doesn’t mean talking about your problem with a method, ideology or even a piece of training equipment.

And it sure as heck doesn’t mean ranting on your frustrations with clients who don’t treat you with the respect you feel you deserve.

To be successful, and to get your name out there in this increasingly digital world, you’ve got to create and share unique content online.

Helpful tips, tricks, stories and videos will do wonders at building brand awareness for your business.

But if you feel the need to rant, I’d encourage you to approach it from a different, more positive perspective.

I've got 99 problems and Facebook ain't the place for a single one meme

Rather than talking about the problems you have, I’ll challenge you to instead, talk about the solutions.

If you want to rant on a training method you don’t agree with, instead of bashing it (or even mentioning it), spend time illustrating the benefits of your own techniques. Outlining, sharing and educating about your training program and your successes.

It will be better for your business and will reach your potential customers more effectively than going on a rampage.

If you are frustrated with a trainer, why not write an article on the pitfalls people should watch out for when searching for a dog care professional? Don’t name the trainer or say anything negative about them. Instead, focus on the positive and give helpful and actionable tips people can put to good use.

Talk about solutions. Not problems. Because talking about problems doesn’t do anyone any good.

And, (this is important)…

Use social media to speak to your clients. Not to your peers or your friends. And use it to be helpful. To provide value. And to educate. And do so in a respectful and nonjudgmental way.

Be a force for good online.

Not only will it better attract your ideal customers, but it will create and spread positivity, something much needed in our industry and in our world.

So next time you want to produce content and share it with the world, remember this:

“I’ve got 99 problems, and Facebook ain’t the place for a single one!”


Meagan Karnes
Meagan Karnes

Meagan has been training dogs professionally since 2002, most recently working with private security, military and law enforcement to provide K9s for high level applications. She owns both The Collared Scholar, an online dog training academy, and 690 Security Services, a company that trains and deploys Executive Security and Protection K9s to private customers. She recently partnered with both Average Frog and SM Leaders, who repurpose the proven performance principles of the Navy SEALs for individuals and organizations.

    2 replies to "99 Problems: The Single Thing the Stops Dog Trainers From Being Effective on Social Media"

    • Peter Corpus

      Hello Meagan,
      I enjoyed your post on 99 Problems regarding trainers and social media. I once had a boss that said, “If you notice a problem, I will listen to you on it. I also will expect that you bring a possible solution for it as well.”
      From a few organizations that I have been a part of. “You Adapt, You Improvise, You Overcome.” “Full hands in, full hands out.” “Be a part of the solution.” All the best to you out there.
      Peter

    • Dan

      This is so well written and a great map to follow. . Thank you

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