What do a skateboarding bulldog, a white cat in front of a salad plate, and a tortoise eating a strawberry have in common? The answer: all three may be familiar subjects to social media users who are also animal lovers. The ubiquity and popularity of images like these on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok just goes to show that pet-related social media content is on the rise.
Nowadays, pet-related content can go beyond simply entertaining social media users. This type of content can also be a powerful tool for driving engagement about important issues like pet adoption, animal rescue, and medical care for pets in need. For example, the animal content website The Dodo receives up to 5 billion views a month for its animal-centric videos. The website’s popularity has resulted in numerous pet adoptions and donation drives for animal sanctuaries.
Another example is that of the Twitter account WeRateDogs, which has more than 9 million followers. On top of humorous captions for the pups featured on the account’s tweets, WeRateDogs is known for facilitating crowdfunding efforts for dogs that need surgery or medical equipment like dog wheelchairs. In several cases, fundraising goals initiated by the Twitter account—some of which have involved thousands of dollars—were met in a matter of hours.
What accounts for the effectiveness and wide reach of pet-related content, and how can pet-related organizations and pet businesses leverage this type of content for their purposes? To answer that question, here’s a brief analysis on why pet-related social media content works, plus how it can be used to advertise pet events, pet products like wholesale dog toys, and other pet-driven initiatives.
Pets Are Among the Most Eye-Catching Characters of Social Media Stories
One of the top reasons why pet-related content is so popular is actually pretty simple: pets are adorable and people love following their antics. Sometimes, these social media audiences find pet-related content more interesting than human-related content from friends, family members, and peers.
In a 2016 survey done by pet food company Mars Petcare, one in six respondents had created a separate social media profile for their pet. About half of those respondents added that their pets’ profiles received more social attention than their personal profiles. One thing’s for certain: people pay attention when a pet is the star of a photo or video feature.
Pets Command Their Own Brands on the Internet
It’s also quite fascinating to think about pet-related content in terms of brand awareness and brand building, as some pets on the internet have commanded formidable brands of their own. Grumpy Cat, Kabosu the Shiba Inu, Lionel the hedgehog, and Hamlet the therapy pig are among the internet’s biggest and most instantly recognizable superstars. These internet icons have won fame either because of their cuteness, their relatability, or the humor of the situations in which they’re commonly depicted. New brands can study internet phenomena like these famous pets and learn which traits to look for in their next pet ambassadors.
Pet Content Produces Strong Emotional Reactions
It isn’t just that pet-related content has visual appeal, although that can definitely be said for cute images or clips of pets. Another reason this type of content is so popular is that it appeals greatly to human emotion and inspires strong reactions.
Indeed, videos of inter-species pet friendships, pets spending time with babies or toddlers, and pets reuniting with their owners can evoke deep joy or comfort. Both are feelings that human audiences seek in times of crisis.
The same applies to pet-related content that lays bare the difficult realities that pets often face, like abandonment or illness. When social media users come across a content of this nature, their strong feelings of concern or distress may drive them to take action. After coming across the content, they may be more inclined to start a conversation with their fellow pet advocates, make a donation to their local pet sanctuary, or choose to adopt a shelter animal instead of one from a breeder.
How to Run a Pet-Driven Social Media Campaign: Some Last Tips for Pet Businesses
Now that you know a little more about the power of pet-related social media content, you may want to consider running a pet-centric campaign on your own social media channels. Some of the action points that you can take away from the analysis above are the following:
Center Your Campaign on a Clear and Measurable Goal
Understand what kind of goal you want to forward among your social media audience when you share pet-related content. Many organizations have successfully leveraged this kind of content to fulfill specific goals, like encouraging attendance to a pet event or warming up their market to a new pet product. Knowing your goal will allow you to purposefully create, curate, and share pet-related content with your audience.
Collaborate with Popular Pet Ambassadors
The world’s best-known internet pets became viral for their unique characteristics or quirks. If you know some interesting personalities—or rather, paw-sonalities—in your local community, see if they’d be willing to partner with your organization and draw interest in your cause. Make sure to choose pet ambassadors that are likable and compelling characters so that their positive traits will be associated with your brand.
Interact with Your Audience
Engage your audience with pet-related content and inspire both discussion and action from them. Use social media to stoke conversations about being an animal lover and animal advocate. You can also invite users to discover something new that they can bring into their lives with their pets.
Featuring pets on your own social media channels is a great way to draw people to your brand. Just don’t forget that cute and charismatic animals aren’t the only part of the equation. Rather, you also have to put in the work to make them fit into your overall brand strategy. Have fun on your new pet-centric social media campaigns, and make sure that your audience does, too!
About the Author
Luis Gael is a creative writer and tech enthusiast. He loves spending his free time frolicking in the park with his best buddies Loki, a Siberian Husky, and Hugo, an Alaskan Malamute.