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From cats who hike in mountains, dancing birds, and dogs who lounge in cozy robes, the space for pets on social media is continuously expanding. Between owners who dress their dogs as Harry Potter to owners who do funny voiceover skits of the conversations their pets have- there are a variety of ways for businesses to enter the pet influencer space and grow their visibility through strategic partnerships.

If you’re considering partnering with a pet influencer, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for a quick guide on pet influencers and how to navigate picking the perfect one to represent your brand.

What is a Pet Influencer?

A pet influencer is a pet (and the owner running the account) who has a large following on social media and uses their platform to promote products, services, or brands to their audience.

Pet influencers exist across many platforms online including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Some pet accounts are strictly dedicated to showing an adorable fur friend living its everyday life while other pet influencers are sponsored by brands and businesses to promote products, services, and even social causes (like fundraising walks).

What makes a pet an influencer is their ability to sway a significant audience. The right partnership with a popular furry face can leverage emotional appeal and help your brand grow in a new way (even if you don’t sell pet products!).

Woman taking a selfie of herself and a pet influencer in the woods with a cell phone.

What Makes A Successful Pet Influencer on Instagram?

To understand the mindset of pet influencers, we’ve compiled a list of four ways pet influencers can create successful social media accounts. If you’re scouting potential pet influencers for your social media marketing campaign, keep an eye out for these four things on their profile.

1. Engaging Pet Content

You might think the key to pet influencer strategies is posting the cutest, best-quality pictures and videos. While this is fundamental to developing a successful pet influencer account, owners still have to exercise a level of strategic planning to ensure the content is creative and engaging enough to generate an influencer-sized audience.

What counts as engaging content for social media pet influencers?

  • Captions: While pet pictures speak a thousand words, captions are key to driving meaningful follower engagement. It’s not impossible for an account to generate a decent size following from adorable pictures alone, but those accounts might not be the best place for you to promote your brand. Pet influencers, like human influencers, should use the caption space to share their identity along with entertaining, educational, and promotional content.
  • Content Types: The pet influencer account should use a dynamic mixture of content types: pictures, reels, videos, stories, and lives. The different content types appeal to Instagram’s various algorithms. Securing a post on a profile that doesn’t diversify their content will not maximize the visibility of your brand or guarantee a satisfying ROI.
  • Hashtags: Check to see how the pet influencer uses hashtags to increase the visibility of their content. Targeted hashtags can tell you what narrowed down audiences the account traditionally appeals to (#dogswhohike for example will appeal to outdoorsy owners). If the pet influencer has branded content available, you can see how those hashtags function or are replaced during a sponsorship.

2. A Distinct Influencer Identity

When scouting a social media influencer to represent your business, you’re looking for someone whose individual brand identity speaks to your brand’s target audience and aligns with the values of your business. The same rules should apply to your search for a pet influencer.

What does an influencer identity look like for pets?

Jiff Pom is the most famous pet on social media. He wears human-like clothes, frequents Starbucks, and has partnered with stores like Target and Banana Republic. While he has a vast audience, the people who loyally follow his influence are going to be different from the people who follow The Aussie Yoko, a down-to-earth dog who is always hiking and in nature. A boutique pet store is more likely to partner with Jiff Pom while a natural/sustainable pet brand is more likely to partner with The Aussie Yoko.

Focus on Authentic Partnerships

Make sure the pet influencer you partner with holds a natural space for your brand within their content. If the partnership doesn’t feel authentic, the pet influencer’s audience will be able to tell and this can damage the campaign and your brand’s reputation in their eyes.

3. Content that Gets in Front of Brands

Whether you’re looking to work with experienced pet influencers or are open to establishing a relationship with emerging talent, you should be able to look at an account’s existing content and clearly identify a space for your brand.

Experienced pet influencers should already have content from previous collaborations where you can evaluate how they promote products and services to their followers and what their audience’s reaction was to the advertisement.

Emerging talent interested in securing brand partnerships might find smart ways to show brands how they could fit into their content by doing unsponsored promotions of their favorite products. Partnering with emerging pet influencers creates the unique opportunity to make first impressions on the influencer and their growing audience.

4. Interaction with Other Pet Profiles

Interacting with other pet accounts is a great way for pet influencers to build their brands and grow their audiences. A page for pet owners about pets should be actively engaged in and with that community.

  • Does the pet influencer respond to comments and questions on their posts?
  • Does the pet influencer comment on other pet account posts?
  • A more experienced pet influencer might have partnered with another pet account, combining the two audiences.

Pet Influencer Marketing

Pet Influencer Marketing is a growing trend, and it’s worth your time to get in on the action. Pet Influencers are influential, trustworthy, engaging, authentic, and relatable.

Ultimately, the job of pet influencers is to educate their audiences on what it’s like to be a pet, to have a pet, and to take care of a pet. The content can be funny, creative, factual, and even philanthropic. Ideally, find a pet influencer who has a sizable following, posts consistently, creates engaging content, and demonstrates dedication to their audience.

Why You Should Use Pet Influencers in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

  • During COVID-19, US pet owners spent about $10 billion more than the previous year on their animals, and the expenditure continues to rise. Pets are in, and pet influencers are guiding pet owners in what products and practices are best for their fur-ever friends. Partnering with the right pet influencer will help your brand remain relevant in the changing market.
  • Influencer marketing has become a great way for both small and big businesses to promote their products and services and generate new revenue. If you’re a small business looking to grow your online presence, incorporating pet influencers into your social media marketing strategy can speed up the process.
  • Pet influencers can help you reach new audiences and build your brand. Social media marketing allows brands to gain international reach. Partner with pet influencers around the world! If you have a storefront location, then partner with local pet influencers to generate new foot traffic!
  • Depending on the products your pet-friendly brand offers, pet influencer marketing can help pet owners clearly understand how your brand fits into their lives. Partner with a variety of pet influencers to show the scope of your products and services or select specific breeds, sizes, etc. to target your niche.

Work with Sway Group

Now that you have a basic understanding of how pet influencer marketing works, Sway Group is ready to help you find the best pet influencer to bolster your business. We are a full-service influencer marketing agency, dedicated to fostering impactful partnerships between influencers and brands.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of pet influencer marketing as part of your social media strategy, contact us today!