What it Takes to Make it as a Pet Influencer on Social Media

Written by: Nicola Taylor Content Coordinator, Asda Money 01 Jul 2021

Here in Britain, we love our pets! We love playing with them, cuddling them, taking them for walks - and sharing their antics, their glamour shots and their personalities on our social media feeds. Our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram pages are packed with adorable pictures of pets.

Our recent survey with 3,000 UK cat and dog owners shows that over a quarter of UK pet owners (27%) have set up social media pages dedicated to their pets, and of those 801 that set up those pages, a quarter did so in the hopes that their furry friends would become a pet influencer.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a ‘pet influencer’ is someone’s pet that has an account with a large following on a social media platform. With video and photos of the pet, and sometimes the owner, pet influencers bring in tens of thousands of likes with every post, and are some of the most popular accounts on social media.

For an idea of just how popular pet influencers are with people in the UK, we’ve whipped up this table of 29 of the top UK pets on Instagram with some of the largest social followings along with the interaction they get from their followers – take a look:

So these adorable and unique creatures are a big deal, but what goes on behind the scenes to make a pet a bona fide internet star? In light of our recent pet influencer study, this blog takes you behind the camera to see how the animal companions of today turn into the internet celebrities of tomorrow!

Getting to know their audience


As with any social media account, the key to getting a pet influencer page noticed is to understand who the audience are and what they’ll want to see from a pet account. There are a lot of pet lovers out there ready to engage with a pet influencer’s profile, with over 17% (516 responses from the 3,000 surveyed) of the British public following famous pets on social media. Over half of these (51%), enjoy pet influencer content, and 40% shop at brands recommended to them by influencers they’ve seen online; and a lot of pet influencer owners find out what kind of content other followers enjoy by taking a look at popular pet influencer accounts and using them for inspiration – 38% of pet influencer followers were inspired to create their own accounts from existing pet pages, and 29% recreate the posts of famous accounts for their own feeds.

Following the success of other accounts is one of the most direct ways to get a pet page off the ground, but often, the most successful pet influencers use original ideas to keep things fresh and unique to their pet.

Keeping the cameras rolling


With photos and videos consistently coming out as the most popular format for social media content, many pet influencers take every opportunity they can to catch their pet and its unique personality on film. Nearly a quarter of the public take pet photos several times a week, while one in ten have multiple photo sessions with their pet every day. Catching the right pose at the right time is important too – though it might be harder than it looks! Just 19% of people think their pets willingly pose for them, while up to 42% of people say they try to distract their pets to get a good shot for their social media. Only 7% of pets are thought to enjoy wearing costumes for their shoots according to their owners.

Deciding whether to edit or not


When it comes to the photos themselves, pet influencer owners often have to make the decision of whether to edit the photos they upload of their animals, or rely on their natural cuteness. There are benefits to both. For some, keeping things natural, without any editing or filters, makes them the truest representation of their pet and adds a nice layer of authenticity. For others, some small editing here and there can bring out and highlight the best bits of their animal pals, whether it’s their dreamy eyes, their cheeky expressions or their unique fur patterns. As for the rest, 39% of us don’t tend to edit our pet photos before they go live, but 8% always edit, and almost a quarter (23%) of us decide to edit now and then. There are no real rulebooks in place for how much pet influencers should edit the pictures they upload, and often, it can be trial and error to see which option is best to make their pets feel paw-tiful.

Celebrating the big moments


Pet influencer audiences love to follow the life of a pet, from the adoption at the start through to every birthday and anniversary. These individual moments really serve to tell a pet’s life story, and we all get to watch them grow up alongside their owners and experience their adventures for ourselves. After all, most of us love to make a big deal of our pets on their special occasions: to celebrate their special days, 42% of us will buy presents for our pet’s birthday, 8% will throw a party and 13% fork out for a birthday cake. Outside of birthdays, over half (59%) celebrate Christmas with their pets, but only 10% celebrate Valentine’s day and 17% celebrate their pet’s adoption anniversary. A lot of pet influencers will take advantage of these big days to create a buzz around their pet for their followers, with parties, pictures, cakes – going all out to create the whole package, and celebrating their pets as they deserve!

Taking good care of the social media star

The pet influencer life may be a fun opportunity for influencers and their furry pals, but for most influencers, their pet’s health, safety and happiness always comes first! Generally, most people like to treat their pets as well as they possibly can – 68% think their pets lead comfortable lives and a further 45% ‘spoil their pets every now and then’. 10% go a step further and say their pets enjoy a lifestyle that even the Kardashians would envy (hello VIP pet bed!), while just 11% of owners say they don’t like to spoil their animal friends all that much.

Most social media pet pros know, a happy pet makes for a good influencer, so they’ll go above and beyond to provide theirs with all the affection, food and healthcare they need to live full and healthy lives while they fulfil their influencer stardom dreams. If you’re planning on taking your pet to influencer fame, it can be a good move to take out pet insurance too for any cats or dogs – a  policy can help with any nasty costs that can arise from any unexpected illnesses or injuries (pre-existing conditions are excluded).

Looking for a bit more detail? Here’s a more in-depth look at the top five!

Pet Influencer top trump - Wilfred

So that was the Asda Money rundown on what goes into turning a household pet into a social media superstar!

Thinking of giving your pet a shot at internet stardom? Layla Flaherty, Director & Pet Detective from the animal modelling agency Urban Paws UK, has this advice for any budding pet influencers out there:

“Our advice to anyone looking to become a pet influencer would be to engage with your audience and other influencers as much as possible.

“Also, do your research; if you want to set up a page for your own enjoyment, that’s great! However, if you want to become a professional pet influencer, you’ll need to understand the intricacies of social media management, including working out what times/days you get the strongest engagement, what makes your content stand out, and what tools you can use to be noticed by the various social algorithms.”

If you’re looking to buy dog insurance or cat insurance for your pet’s meteoric rise to fame, or just for their low-key everyday bumps and scrapes, we can help with pet insurance that offers different levels of cover for different needs and requirements. Find out more about our pet insurance policies here.

 

All figures are correct at the time of release. Any social media accounts featured were contacted prior to this research – if you have been featured and would like to change your permissions please get in touch.