Leverage the millions of views animals get – An engaged audience is more valuable than a large reach. Just because an account has millions of followers doesn’t mean that is the right audience for your business.
If you’re introducing a pet product and you want to be sure you’re reaching pet owners and animal lovers, influencer marketing may be the way to go.
Social media platforms, especially Instagram, are overrun with famous pets. From Grumpy Cat (2.5 million followers) to Doug the Pug (3.4 million) to Jiffpom (8.8 million), active Instagram users often follow at least one celebrity animal. Imagine how many sales you could make if even one of these animals featured your invention in a post!
Pick the right Instagram partner
Begin your influencer marketing campaign by searching for influencers with whom you might be able to partner. There are multiple ways to go about this.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can use a free tool such as FollowerWonk, HootSuite or even Google to search for the top pet Instagrammers. If you have a bigger budget, you may want to use influencer marketing software such as Intellifluence or IZEA to begin curating a list of potential celebrity pets who can help promote your invention.
As you curate your list of influencers, keep the following in mind:
- Look for influencers that fit your brand. For example, if your invention is for dog owners, Grumpy Cat may not be the best account for partnering. Beyond that, influencers should have similar values as your company, because you want to ensure your invention resonates with their audience.
- Don’t focus on just the most famous pets or the most followed accounts. An engaged audience is more valuable than a large reach. Just because an account has millions of followers doesn’t mean that is the right audience for your business. Additionally, you’ll probably have an easier time working out the logistics of a partnership with a lesser-known influencer, as you won’t be competing with so many other brands and products.
- On that note, look for dedicated audience engagement. If you see tens of thousands of followers but only getting 100-200 likes per picture, that’s not a great engagement rate. Your ideal influencer will be someone with a large, engaged audience.
Working with social media influencers
Once you have a solid list of influencers you are interested in working with, you can begin to discuss potential partnerships and plan sponsored content. Suggestions:
- Above all, respect the influencers with whom you work. They’ve worked hard to build their brand, just like you. Don’t expect free promotion, and don’t ask them to sing your product’s praises if they don’t actually like it. Sponsored content and good influencer partnerships are built on mutual trust.
- On a similar note, give your influencers control over their content. Feel free to suggest content ideas or work with them to generate a great post, but keep in mind that it’s their Instagram account, their brand, their story. It is up to them to decide how they want to share content. This is good news for you, too; they likely know their audience very well, meaning they know how to create content that will resonate with them, giving you the boost you desire.
- Always begin an influencer campaign with actionable goals. Just like any marketing campaign, it’s important to know what you are hoping to accomplish by working with influencers so that everything you do can help you reach that goal. Keep these goals in mind as you work with influencers to create content.
- Consider sponsoring a contest or giveaway, as nearly every Instagram user can appreciate a chance to win a fun product. Ask your influencers whether they would be willing to post about your product with a contest where followers can like the photo and tag a friend in the caption, and one will be selected to win. If you’d like to partner with more than one brand or influencer, you can consider sponsoring a loop giveaway—a contest in which multiple accounts join together and require those who enter to follow all of the sponsoring accounts’ Instagram profiles. Contests and giveaways will benefit you and the influencer, so if you have product to give away this can be a highly effective influencer marketing tactic.
- Offer special discount codes or offers to influencers who are partners. Providing promo codes to your influencers has benefits for everyone involved. If an influencer posts about your brand with a discount code, not only will you almost certainly sell product to his or her followers, you’ll be able to measure each influencer’s individual return on investment so that you can determine which influencers get the best results for you. The influencer will benefit, too; his or her followers will engage with their posts, hoping to continue receiving discounts for the products and brands that interest them most. It’s a win-win-win for everyone: you, the influencer and the followers.
Instagram’s Most Popular Pet Accounts
Instagram users love to follow animal accounts: dogs, cats, foxes, hedgehogs, raccoons, pigs and everything in between. The top five followed pet accounts on Instagram (as of the end of 2017):