Pet Influencers and the Pet Product Industry
Pet influencers – or pet accounts famous on social media – are becoming increasingly mainstream, with lots of articles tracking the “Instagram pets you should be following” or “How to make your pet famous on social media.”
What is missing is analysis of the role of pet influencers in promoting pet products for smaller or niche brands.
Chewy (owned by PetSmart) is the most active in the space, with a stable of hundreds (thousands?) of pet influencers it sends product to monthly in exchange for a review and social media posts. But other brands are active as well, especially brands that are looking to break into the market.
One of the primary benefits of working with pet bloggers who run their own websites is the SEO benefit. When someone hears about your product and googles ‘New Dog Food Review’, there is no substitute to finding pages and pages of positive reviews that lend legitimacy to the product. A smart brand then will use pet bloggers and require them to use specific keywords and search terms in the review, as part of an overall SEO effort to rank on google for those key terms.
Pet product reviews by bloggers are best used in conjunction with social media influencer posts. The posts by pet influencers on Instagram or Twitter should not be viewed as an ad that will result in direct sales. Consumers are more savvy than that and expecting people to click on a post and then visit your website to buy your product is unrealistic. What those posts do gain you is brand recognition. People who view the post may then search online for reviews of your product (see above: pet blogger reviews) or retail chains where it is sold.
Beyond the large and well-financed brands that work with hundreds of pet influencers and use it as a way to flood the market, what role can using pet influencers play for smaller brands?
According to Dear Mishu’s Dad, there are four reasons why a smaller brand might want to work with social media influencers. First, because they provide authority and a trusted voice to vouch for your product. Second, because traditional online ads are less effective when people increasingly use ad blockers on their browsers. Third, because influencers can create compelling content to promote your brand that you can re-purpose later for your marketing. Fourth because working with influencers is a way to target new audiences and last because influencers can help you target very specific niche.
This last point is most important. Large brands use influencers and bloggers to saturate the market and create the appearance of a brand following, Smaller brands can take a different approach and work with influencers to reach very specific markets based on the following and profile of the influencer. They can establish a real connection with that audience through the creativity and authentic voice of the influencer. In this case, for smaller brands should work possibly with smaller influencers who are trusted and loved by their followers.