People love animals. It will come as no surprise, that animal and pet-themed social media content has been a staple across platforms from the onset of Facebook. Yet we have come a LONG way since 2004 when Facebook initially launched. Twitter, Instagram, and more recently TikTok have logged hours of engaging content featuring our furry loved ones. While we all love to capture the uniqueness of our fur babies on film, from playful cat clips to dramatic dogs, it might come as a surprise to some that the scope of pet influencers is a burgeoning industry, and it is not just dogs and cats! Of course, Felines and Pooches make up the bulk of social media influencers, but there is a subgroup of horses, hamsters, and hedgehogs that could give the cutest of dogs a run for their money!
The business of (pet) social media influencers
Since the inception of social media, we have seen it all. We have witnessed that influence comes in many shapes, species and sizes.
With influence comes opportunities. Ben Lashes was probably the first animal celebrity manager. With clients such as Grumpy Cat (RIP), Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat, he started off his career back in 2012 when he could monetize the influence of these beloved Internet figures.
2015 saw the founding of the talent agency ‘The Dog Agency” by Loni Edwards, a graduate of Harvard. Loni set up ‘The Dog Agency’ after seeing the emotional connection that her very cute French Bulldog named Chloe had on people via social media. A natural-born star, Chloe quickly became an influencer in her own right.
Loni naturally saw influencer marketing opportunities in the pet world and established the firm with the purpose of bringing value by facilitating relationships between brands and the people behind these successful social media accounts.
How are Pet Influencers such a force to reckon with?
Consumers deeply connect with animals, and brands know it. Studies have shown that consumers are ‘attracted to, and fascinated by animals’ and that ‘most people find animals captivating’ which is why we have long seen cuddly pups pitching us everything from coffee to clothes.
Just look at @remixthedog, @tinkandmeek, @milliethegolden who have a combined audience of 297,000 followers, @coconutricebear brings 472k followers to the virtual dog park, and @reagandoodle dwarfs all of his furry friends with a loyal following of 512k on just Instagram alone.
These furry friends not only help brands attract eyeballs, they will inspire audiences to share! Who doesn’t want to share funny or adorable content?
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After a little bit of back-and-forth, @reagandoodle talked his fam into watching Dolittle, and they loved it as much as he did!. I mean, talking animals, wild adventures, all-star cast… what’s not to love?! 🐶 Find Dolittle on digital now and Blu-ray/DVD on April 7 | @reagandoodle ∞ @dolittlemovie #influencermarketing #petinfluencer
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I had such a great time at the #SoFiOpenHouse and only embarrassed my hoomans a little bit with my barking. What can I say? I was super excited to be there! If you’re thinking about buying a home, check out SoFi.com/CoconutRiceBear to get more info about their home loan products. They can help you get that dream house! #Ad @SoFi #SoFiHomeLoan
TikTok Influencer Marketing: Pet Edition
TikTok has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to “feel-good” and engaging content. There’s no surprise that per influencers have a big presence on this booming platform.
Take @itsdougthepug as an example, with over 4 million followers on Instagram the dog has become a force to be reckoned with. Companies like Petco are lined up to partner with Doug. His handlers and agents have launched a collection of “Doug face masks” that are seasonal, and promote the canine himself, and if anyone is in doubt as to Doug’s celebrity status as an influencer, no one would disagree that, only the top cream of the entertainment world get to meet, and have their photo taken with the cast of ‘Schitts Creek’.
Platforms like TikTok have given brands such as PetSmart or PetCo access to audiences and demographics who may have never heard of their services or product lines. As of April 2020, TikTok alone had 2 billion downloads of its application. The majority of the audience for Tik Tok is, 16-24-year-olds. Well established brands are paying attention to these numbers. Legacy brands are able to reach consumers via the TikTok platform that they would have never had exposure to prior.
@tuckerbudzynDoggo Reviews Toys ##fyp ##foryou ##foryoupage ##foryourpage ##dog ##animals ##funny♬ original sound – tuckerbudzyn
Whatever the platform that consumers are tuning into, social media will always exist, and so long as we have social media, influencers, and the rising tide of pet influencers are here to stay.
Pets Become Mainstream Online and Offline
The power pets wield for brands is undeniable. Our fur babies are a mainstream part of our families and lives. “Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey” which was conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Compared to 1988, when 56% of US homes had furry friends living with them.
In today’s world, not a day goes by for anyone traversing among their social media accounts to be presented with a new viral cat video, or a charming clip of a parrot singing some abstract song, entertaining their owners as well as the rest of us. Let’s be honest, pets essentially run social media platforms, they connect us to our emotions, and they can provide brands the opportunity to connect to a wider audience which can drive consumers as well as an audience back to their brand.
Open Influence can help you reach a new pet-obsessed audience. Contact us for the best influencer strategy.