There’s no shortage of animals who have become stars on social media . From Grumpy Cat to doggo memes, people love looking at pictures of cute pets on Instagram  and similar platforms. Some businesses have even begun to leverage the popularity of pet accounts for marketing purposes.
Small Business Trends recently discussed this trend with Richard Wong, the VP Marketing and Creator Relations of #paid , an influencer and content marketing platform that works with brands and influencers — including pet social media stars.
Social Media Marketing with Pets
Whether you’re interested in making your own pet into a social media star or leveraging the power of other animal influencers for your brand, here are some tips for creating compelling social media campaigns that revolve around popular animals.
Go for Mass Appeal
Normally, marketing a business requires you to speak to a very specific niche. But pets have pretty universal appeal. So using your own pet in marketing materials or working with other cute animals can help you make your brand more appealing to people in general, which can be beneficial when included with the rest of your marketing strategy that is more carefully niched.
Post Content Regularly
As with any other social media strategy, creating an account for your pet requires you to post and create content regularly. Wong suggests getting on a regular schedule so that people know when to expect new posts from your account.
Provide Inspiration or Escape
Within that content that you’re creating regularly, it’s also a good idea to think about what it actually provides to improve the lives of your followers. In most cases, this should be some type of inspiration or escape from the normal day-to-day.
Wong said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “People go to social media primarily to get inspiration or take them to new places, and what better way to do that than with amazingly cute photos of animals.”
Keep It Social
Another similar facet of running an account for a pet social media star is interacting with followers. Just because the account might revolve around your pet, who in all likelihood can’t respond to Instagram comments, doesn’t mean you can just post something and forget about it. You or another rep from your business should regularly respond to questions and interact with others on the platforms that you use.
Integrate Brands Seamlessly
For those who are interested in creating pet influencer accounts that can actually earn an income by working with outside brands, which could be a nice side hustle for an existing business owner, it’s important to demonstrate to brands how you can integrate posts about them into your content.
Wong says, “A great way to do this is to recommend different brands that you work with on an organic basis in a seamless and natural way with your followers.”
Research Outside Influencers Carefully
On the other hand, if you’re interested in working with other pet influencers to market your business, you need to carefully vet those accounts before investing any time and money on the project. Specifically, pet influencer accounts can purchase followers or bots just like any other influencers. So dig deeper by looking at engagement numbers, likes and comments or work with an influencer marketing agency that vets its users.
Partner with Other Social Stars
In order to grow your pet social media account, it can help to find partners with similar audiences. If you have an account where you share photos of the dog at your family farm, maybe you could partner with a cat from another local business for some cross-promotional opportunities.
Create Authentic Partnerships
Whether you’re partnering with another social media pet personality or paying for an influencer marketing campaign, it’s important that you content comes off as authentic. Make sure you find partners that are knowledgeable about your industry or target customers. If they’re representing your business in any way, they should able to answer questions about your business or the campaign that you’re promoting.
Consider Your Target Audience
Another thing to consider in any partnership opportunity is to carefully research the target audience of the account you want to work with. If you have a business that only sells products locally, then it wouldn’t make much sense for you to work with accounts with global audiences. If you target young people, then make sure the pet stars you want to work with are popular with that particular age group.
Get Creative with Campaigns
However, that doesn’t mean that you can only use pet influencer marketing if you have a pet centric business. Since these animal accounts have the potential for mass appeal, you can connect with popular accounts or create your own to promote basically any type of business.
Wong says, “People always think of pet food companies or pet stores, but we’ve seen some brands do some really creative things.”
He says that #paid has seen everyone from musical acts to paper towel manufacturers make use of pet influencers. Basically, you just need to be creative and do all the prep work involved in launching a successful marketing campaign and you can leverage the power of cute animal pictures to increase your reach even more.
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