Social Media, Animal Style

June is a great month for pets. Not only is the first full week of the month Pet Appreciation Week, but all of June is also Adopt A Cat Month. In observance of these special days, we’d like to share some insight into something you might have noticed quite a bit of in your social media feed: animals.

Everyone who dips a toe into social media marketing covets the idea of one day going viral. In the realm of Internet sensations, nothing goes viral quite like animals. Consider this: Your parents may not be able to name any Youtube celebrities, but they probably know who Grumpy Cat is. If you look at your social media feed right now, chances are you won’t have to scroll very far to see content featuring someone’s pets. Many users even have dedicated social media accounts for their pets. (And the pets’ accounts often have more followers than their owners’!) Whether it be the ubiquitous LOLcats or the perennial favorite subject of Unlikely Animal Friends, people love viewing and sharing animal-related content. But why animals specifically?

One reason animals may be such a popular subject involves the way we tend to see ourselves in our pets. People tend to attribute certain human personality traits (such as curiosity, aggreeableness or neuroticism) to pets. Animals are our adorable and innocent counterparts. Even in the midst of mischief, they always seem to elicit a positive response. It’s also true that people tend to turn to animals to counteract negative emotions. In a social media atmosphere where shocking and tragic news stories get shared often, pets stand out as a positive note. Think of our pets as little furry people who are always there to cheer us up. No wonder everyone loves seeing pets in their news feeds!

Combine all of the above with the human desire to share the excitement of our everyday experiences. Parents love to share photos and videos of their children (a phenomenon that was very much in effect before the advent of social media). Similarly, pet owners enjoy sharing the funny, adorable and proud moments that come with animal companions. In fact, 9 out of 10 pet owners say that they consider their pets to be members of their family. Considering more than half of Americans have pets, that makes for a lot of fur-baby pictures! When both the sharers and the followers both enjoy the content, everyone wins.

How Critter Social Media Can Work for Your Agency

So what do all of these adorable animal pictures and videos have to do with your agency? Their popularity presents a wonderful opportunity for brands looking to increase followers and boost their engagement. A study from Portland State University found that ads containing animals perform better, resulting in better recall and engagement. It stands to reason that this would hold true not just for ads, but for social media posts as well.

So share away! There are many ways you can incorporate animals into your social media marketing plan. (Especially if many of the employees in your agency are pet owners.) One possible strategy might be to have a featured “Pet of the Week.” Hosting a “bring your pet to work day” could yield plenty of great photo opportunities for your office as well. You might even consider starting an account just for sharing pictures and videos of employee pets; Instagram is the perfect outlet for such an experiment. Try a few test posts, and see if they result in higher engagement with your followers.

Everyone loves seeing adorable animals in their news feed. Will you be sharing some pet photos during Pet Appreciation Week?

–By Mallory DuPuy

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