Pets and social media: the cute and lovable pictures of animals on social media are turning them into the ultimate marketing tool.
Pet celebrities – outperforming their human counterparts
As social media and the internet are taking over more and more of our human lives, pets also are learning to deal with (and benefit from) this new reality! In fact, many animal stars are already outshining their two-footed counterparts. They are even surpassing the number of followers human celebrities have on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chipmunks, porcupines, pigs, goats and even capybaras: you name it and you will find an animal with its own account. The most famous of all is said to be Grumpy Cat. It is estimated he is worth a staggering $100 million (€85 million). And he even has his own feature film.
In fact, Gabriel Mederos, Manager for Public Relations and Corporate Affairs at Nestle Purina Pet Care Company, estimates that one in ten pets now has a social media profile.
Why do social media users love animal posts so much?
In general, we use social media to share what is happening in our world. For many of us, pets play a huge role in our everyday lives. Uploading photos or videos of our pets is a way of sharing the fun and excitement of having them.
According to a study by Central Missouri State University, humans attribute the same set of personality traits to cats that psychologists would use to describe humans: extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness. Above all, cats are flexible when it comes to copying human actions, which is often just too adorable to ignore.
Another study from Leeds University notes that when people are feeling a bit blue or experiencing negative emotions, they often turn to pets and other animals to cheer them up. Positive, funny online photos and clips featuring animals are the sure-fire way to get a laugh on your face!
Creating strong connections
According to Loni Edwards, founder of the world’s first celebrity dog management agency, in recent years marketing trends have shifted from traditional ads on TV and traditional media, to influencers people already have a connection with. “Cute dogs make people happy. And brands want their marketing to make people happy. So, it has been a natural transition,” Edwards observes.
He goes on to add: “It is an emotional thing, at the end of the day, it is the same reason why people like babies. Animals are very expressive and innocent. Plus, they do not hold anything back. You can tell how they are feeling by looking at them. We trust that. They never try to represent themselves as anything else.”
From a brand’s perspective, animals are ideal endorsers. They can build massive devoted followings. Unlike human celebrities, they cannot tarnish their brands with drunken behaviour or offensive tweets. They cannot alienate fans by bursting their fantasy bubble. They are adorable, and silent.
The good news is, that you do not have to have a celebrity pet to increase your connection to your audience. Even brands that have used pet content instead of their standard Instagram content have observed an overwhelming 295% increase in the number of comments and 93% increase in the number of likes for their posts.
What is the business effect?
There is more than just likes … pet owners in the UK seeking social media fame for their animals have triggered a surge in sales of pet accessories in the last year, new research from Argos claims. The retail giant has revealed that sales of premium pet grooming products have increased by an astounding 163% compared to the same period last year.
Alongside the huge rise in sales of grooming products, Argos also claims that pet accessory sales have increased by 13%. It is a rise they believe is due to the increasing trend of pet fame on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Argos pet care purchaser Emma Carter states: “Whilst the UK has always been a nation of pet lovers, the popularity of social media has really taken our obsession to another level. This is reflected in the huge increase we have seen in pet product purchases over the last twelve months alone.”
So, what are you waiting for? Share a bit of animal happiness on your social platforms and make the emotional connection between your brand and your pet loving customers!
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