Our favorite pet influencer: she had blue eyes, a striking appearance, and rose to fame after becoming an internet phenomenon. As a result, her likeness was printed on every type of merch possible. She appeared on tv shows, became a household name, and quickly earned millions of dollars. When she died, she was mourned worldwide. We’re talking about Grumpy Cat.
Tardar Sauce – yes, that was her real name – suffered from feline dwarfism and an underbite. This outspoken look led to her becoming one of the first memes in the early 2010s, which made her an overnight sensation. Her fame quickly rose to crazy levels, and so did her owners’ bank accounts: they are rumored to have earned up to 100 million thanks to lil’ Tardar.
Grumpy Cat wasn’t the first animal to become famous, but she certainly was one of the pioneers of a new kind of animal celebrity: the pet influencer.
Suddenly, turning your four-legged friend into a five-figure earner became a realistic possibility. More than ‘just’ being our loving, loyal, and cute sidekicks, they could now provide us with a lucrative side hustle as well.
It’s no wonder then that pet accounts started popping up left and right. Plenty of them soon followed in Grumpy Cat’s footsteps, gathering millions of followers and some even allowing their owners to quit their day jobs. The power of the pet was, and still is to this day, undeniable.
Be authentic, B-E authentic
Why do pets work so well online? It’s simple: they’re cute, and they have a genuine feel-good factor about them. In contrast to (some) humans, pets are innocent and honest. They simply cannot lie or be problematic. This falls perfectly in line with the fact that people nowadays are looking for more authenticity.
Consumers connect with animals, so it didn’t take long for brands to catch on to this influencer niche. There are even full-on animal managers seeking out and representing the best ‘talent’ in the – now heavily overcrowded – pet influencer kingdom.
Pretty, particular, or pretty particular?
Say that you’re interested in launching your pet’s career, the first question you need to ask yourself is: what can make him/her stand out in the crowd?
Although cute looks and photographing well can already get you far, it is not a requirement anymore. On the contrary, at present, some of the most viral pets are an elderly chihuahua with distressed vocal cords called PudgyWoke and ‘vibing’ Ivy, a precious dog with short spine syndrome.
And it doesn’t just have to rain cats and dogs: one woman is conquering hearts with her humoristic portrayals of the donkeys, lama’s, and emus on her rescue farm, and a parrot called Hamlet is making everyone giggle with his sass.
So your pet doesn’t need to be particularly beautiful or cute; it just needs to be particular, whether that’s in appearance, personality, noises, etc. Or even through your interaction with them, in your editing, or your copy.
From viral video to calculated career
All of the examples mentioned above have the particularity that made them amass millions of followers in an incredibly short amount of time. And that’s on TikTok alone. From there, followers look for even more adorable content on their Instagram and so on.
So take it from us: include TikTok. Animal videos have always worked well everywhere, but TikTok has recently made the genre explode again. One viral video has the power to launch a whole career, and on TikTok, the possibilities and opportunities to go viral are there for the taking.
Before and after you’ve launched, it’s important to stay consistent. Consistent in your message, but also in posting. By building a steady brand around your pet, you will quickly attract the right brands.
But most importantly: do it for fun. It’s an entertaining hobby that might even earn you some money, but it always has to stay fun – for both you and your pet.
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