Ask any pet parent and he or she will tell you, “sharing my life with a pet is the best decision I’ve ever made.” Dogs and cats and other pets bring unconditional love, companionship, joy and laughter into our lives.
Did you know, though that some pets even bring fame and fortune to their owners? Think, “Doug The Pug” or “Grumpy Cat” and any number of up and coming pet star influencers. Some pet parents are earning sponsorships in the form of cash and product from the way in which they are “marketing their pets.” In many instances, the “marketing” of a pet involves putting the pet in adorable clothes or costumes, taking them to interesting places and sharing with abandon on social media. Have you seen the hedgehog images? A hedgehog named Azuki, was placed in adorable camping images by his pet parent and his images went viral. You can see them on Bored Panda.
We’re not sure if every pet parent has the time or skill to take adorable pet images to this level, but if you do your pet just might become an internet sensation.
How can a pet parent turn his or her pet into an influencer?
1. You need to create a strong brand
2. You need to share a consistent, high quality image
3. Your captions and hashtags need to be spot on.
4. Determine whether you want your pet to be humorous, caring, sad (Grumpy cat) sarcastic, fashionable, etc.
5. You need to be funny and witty
6. You need to work your network to get others to share and comment on your images
Entrepreneur Loni Edwards of The Dog Agency is a talent management firm focusing on pets. She knows her stuff -- Edwards adopted a dog named Chloe, created an Instagram account and made Chloe a star.
Edwards offered these tips for pet parents looking to turn their pets into influencers:
1. Connect with brands you LOVE. Don’t connect simply because you know a particular brand has worked with influencers in the past
2. Start out by taking images that make your pet look adorable and the brand shine. You may need to do a lot of images gratis before the brand you’re trying to reach, reaches out
3. If you have your heart set on representing a particular dog food or dog toy brand, don’t share images of a different food or toy brand. Stay consistent in showing your love of a particular brand or location or toy.
4. Build your following before you approach a brand. Ask yourself this: Why would a brand follow me if I only have five followers and no meaningful interactions? Chances are, they won’t. Build your following and interact with them so they will be more inclined to comment on and share your posts.
5. Be engaging and authentic. Remember, don’t put your pet in a position that a brand or another pet lover would take offense at, question the safety of your pet or other questionable actions. For example, feeding your dog ice cream or burgers from a fast food chain won’t garner love from any other pet parents, in fact they may question how well you’re taking care of your pet. Be mindful of what you post and whom you’re endorsing with your posts
How can a pet influencer help your brand?
Whether your brand is actively seeking a pet influencer with whom to work or if a pet influencer begins “marketing” your brand for you with his or her pet, a pet influencer could help you reach a new audience.
There are many businesses that you may not consider a “pet brand” like Tito’s Homemade Vodka or Subaru, for example BUT these brands know that pet parents are willing to spend big money on their beloved dogs. Keep in mind, though big brands, or even small local breweries, aren’t exploiting a pet parents’ love of his dog by claiming to be “pet friendly.” Pet-friendly brands and locations open the doors to pets, their offices are pet welcoming but more importantly, these brands and businesses support pet causes. Subaru kicked off #MakeADogsDay in 2019 to help less-adoptable dogs find forever homes. Tito’s supports local pet rescue.
If your company is truly pet-friendly or pet-welcoming and the owners and staff support animal welfare and pet adoption causes, then you may want to consider finding a pet influencer to help represent your brand.
Determine whether you are looking for a “local celebrity” or a “national celebrity.” Your decision will, naturally be based on where your clients and potential pet-loving community resides. If you’re a local storefront or a brewery that doesn’t ship items, then look locally for an influencer.
If you want to further your commitment to pet rescue, look for a pet influencer who came from an adoption situation or was rescued from dire conditions. Share that pet’s store on your website and embrace the pet parent who adopted this dog.
Work with the pet influencer in your pet-centric efforts by hosting an adoption event or partnering with a local rescue and have a “meet the celebrity” booth. Consider emblazoning the pet influencer’s image on any pet merch you invest in for your brand. Consider this carefully though as you don’t want to be stuck with a lot of pet merch with that pet’s image on it if you and the influencer part ways.
Your brand can certainly invest in pet merch to sell at events, use as give-aways, offer to rescues and shelters for their fundraising efforts or sell yourself. Branded pet merch is an ideal way to get your brand into the mouths of pets and in front of the pet parent long after they’ve left your business site, brewery, pet store, hotel, etc.
What are you waiting for? Even if working with a pet influencer isn’t on your marketing agenda, why not introduce your own pets, the pets of your staff members or vendors? Let the pet community know your business supports pet-centric causes and events and grow the community of pet-loving people who sing the praises of your brand!
Grab our LEAP YEAR sales pricing on pet merch. The sale ends on LEAP DAY (Feb. 29, 2020) so reach out for a free design consultation today.
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