Who hasn’t wished that they could live their life without a “job”, and instead just spend all their time with their pets? Having a pet comes with plenty of perks, from snuggles in the evening, constant love and affection, and even sometimes small dead animals (we’re looking at you, cats ?).
With the almost ubiquitous state of social media in modern day life, there has never been a better time to make a living from being a pet owner. Long gone are the days where that ability was solely for show dog owners and animal breeders.
If only it were that easy though…
In order to make the dream a reality, you must be one of the lucky few who makes it in the world of famous Insta-animals. It’s easy to rattle off a list of famous Pet Influencers – from Grumpy Cat to Boo, the spokesdog for Virgin American Airlines – but if it were as simple as just posting a few pictures to Instagram and watching the followers and subsequent sponsorships flood in, then every dog, cat, and hedgehog on the planet would be raking in the cash.
That’s not to say it’s an impossible task though.
From Warner Brothers Music to Ralph Lauren, from high-end hotels to boutique pet foods – social media influencers are in high demand.
As the pet influencer field has gotten bigger and bigger, a new industry has emerged to help the brains behind the operations – the owners. We’re probably a little biased (okay, we’re blatantly biased), but Urban Paws UK were one of the first UK companies to help manage Pet Influencers, providing the first point of contact for brands looking to reach out to potential customers through more organic methods, helping to reduce the clinical feel that goes with most traditional advertising avenues.
How do we become a Pet Influencer?
The first step is to create an account for your pet. The best platform for this is Instagram, though other social platforms can generate interest. Everyone loves to see animals.
Try to choose a handle that is memorable, and intuitive, so that people know exactly who you are just from the name. Something like LilyTheSchnauzer will be better than L1lyDog09876, though it isn’t the be-all and end-all.
The second step is to begin posting! People are hardwired to like seeing faces, so make sure that you give people plenty of opportunities to see your pets face when posting. It goes without saying but shots from behind, as your pet is curled up, or images which aren’t clear won’t generate as much interest as they aren’t as eye-catching generally. At the same time, make sure that your images are clear and high resolution. As phone screens and cameras have progressed, so to have our standards for what is an acceptable quality for videos and photographs (have you tried to watch a VHS or even a standard DVD recently? Yuck!).
When writing the posts to go along with your images funny and snappy sentences are better than long paragraphs, unless you have something detailed to say. Hashtags are your friend and should be used! Instagram is quite fond of hashtags and are happy with several of them in each post, though platforms like Facebook and Twitter do seem to penalise posts which use more than 2-3, s don’t spam on those platforms. This is down to personal preference, but some people like to place their hashtags in the middle of text (for example: Bobby the #Labrador had a great day at the #beach) while others prefer to keep things tidy and include them at the end (for example: Bobby the Labrador had a great day at the beach! #Labrador #Beach).
After posting, make sure to interact with people who may comment on your post. Engaging with people is the best way to make friends and help them to feel that this is an account that they would like to see more of. Help them feel welcome! If you can make friends with other pet influencers then that will be even better, since your account will be more likely to be seen by the other account’s followers, helping everyone to grow.
Your follower count will likely start out quite low, but if you’re lucky and post regular, high-quality posts then you should see that number start to creep up. Once you have a good number (usually a few thousand, though micro influencers can start out around 2k) it will be time to contact a pet influencer agency who can help you find sponsorships and negotiate prices for you. We recommend Urban Paws UK… again, totally not biased.