If you landed here, you want your dog to be popular online or you are in some way curious about what to do to make it happen. I can relate: My dog is the face of this blog and his life is lived out loud through the words, images, and activities encountered in our travels. The American Pet Products Association estimates that 70-80 million dogs live in homes within the United States. Couple that with more than 1 billion people on Facebook, and yes, there are indeed masses of mutts and parades of pedigrees gracing social media pages. If you have a dog and a social media account, why not create a social media following to rival the likes of someone like Boo? Here are some tips to make it happen:
Time to Walk the Blog
People start dog blogs for a variety of reasons, including giving their pooch a voice, showcasing her latest travel adventures, or even to share pet-friendly restaurants. With pet bloggers representing a big part of cyberspace, you’ll hardly be alone if you start a blog.
According to the Washington Post, prior to social media, when blogs stood on their own, bloggers were counted by tool use. A 2009 estimate put the count at 452,000; by July 2012, a survey had the number at 31 million. Once you didn’t need to log on to a blog tool to blog, those counts became difficult.
Let’s go a step further: Want to know how many blog posts are written every day? Visit WorldoMeters.com for a real-time count. Hint: It’s staggering.
So how can a dog mom or dad stand out and get started?
Come to the BlogPaws 2015 Conference: It takes place yearly, and this year’s event is in Nashville, Tennessee at the Sheraton Music City Hotel from May 28-30. This pet-welcoming extravaganza unites 500 of the pet industry’s top influencers and key bloggers from around the country (and world) convening for a yearly conference of networking, learning how to make money, learning, and more. Founded in 2009 by three dedicated pet lovers and bloggers, BlogPaws helps pet bloggers and pet enthusiasts connect digitally, build their online presence, enhance their social networks and support animals and shelters/rescues across the world. BlogPaws works year-round to connect bloggers and micro-bloggers to the brands they buy every day. Limited tickets at this stage.
In 2010, I walked into the very first BlogPaws conference in Ohio and found a kindred connection with hundreds of other pet bloggers: This was a new concept: to actually blog about pets, but there we were and here we are. My dog and I have attended all six conferences to date and would love to meet you and show you around in Nashville in a few weeks.
Drop any sense of being intimidated at the door: This year, over 60 percent of attendees are newbies. The number of folks who attend is capped at 500, so when tickets sell out, they are gone. Imagine talking to big name brands face to face where they want to get to know you. Consider that you will meet people who have “made it” and are blogging for an income and loving it: From the comfort of home (present company included). These people are approachable, helpful, and it all happens in an educational and fun environment. Rather than ramble on about it, here’s a video of what happens at a typical BlogPaws Conference:
P.S. Did I mention the media covers it, too?
Get On Instagram
My dog and I will be presenting a session at the BlogPaws Conference along with Facebook rock star, Positively Woof aka Larry Kay, titled, “How to Rock Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.” If you like taking photos of your dog and wish you could share them with the whole world beyond Facebook where your circle of friends can see them, Instagram is the social media platform for you. It’s easy, fun, networking at its finest, and with about 10 minutes of your time a day, your dog can be the next social media superstar (or at least be on his or her way). However, there are some do’s and don’ts for properly using Instagram.
Get a head start on making your dog an Instagram rock star by clicking here, then come meet me and Dexter in person in Nashville this month.
It can happen, and overnight, especially with a targeted plan of attack. I interviewed the humans behind Instagram dog rock star, Manny the Frenchie, at the BlogPaws Conference on Lake Las Vegas last year.
“It all happened fairly quickly,” Amber Chavez remembers. “Manny had 1,000 followers within a few weeks and then it just exploded. He went to 10,000 followers and landed on the popular page.”
Amber Chavez and Jon Huang have had Manny share their lives since he was 4-1/2 months old. This pint-sized dynamo just recently turned four years of age. Manny does do public appearances, but most of his “business” is online via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Most of Manny’s life is content based so we are always trying to document what Manny is doing when he is out and about,” Chavez shares.
Manny is not a solo dog, as Chavez and Huang share their lives with Leila and Frank. The antics of Cooper, one of Manny’s pals, are documented online as well.
Of Note: Instagram is not Pinterest. You don’t have to separate your pictures into “boards,” and there are no categories to build. Instagram is not something you have to worry about building and following and gaining new followers unless that’s your thing. If you love your dog, want to show the world, and see pictures of other people who love their dogs (amongst other things), Instagram is all that and then some.
Twitter Is a Dog Park with Billions of Followers
Twitter is more lax when it comes to animals having their own accounts. Facebook frowns on animal accounts and unless you register your pet as a business page on Facebook, you risk having the page shut down by the powers that be at Facebook headquarters. On the other hand, Twitter is fine with pet accounts. Have you been to a “pawty” or participated in an online animal chat? Businesses and brands host Twitter parties where the atmosphere is pet friendly — because oftentimes the pets do the talking. Millions of dollars are being made in the name of dog. Brands have become savvy to what dog parents want, and as a PR and social media guru in the pet industry, I can attest firsthand (and paw) that tweets by pets are being watched.
Jump in with the #BlogPawsChat three-times-a-month on Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 pm EDT. Follow hashtag #BlogPawsChat.
How can you get your dog noticed? Above all, follow other pet people. It might seem time consuming and daunting, but if your plan is to create a doggie diva, Twitter needs to be a part of it.
Here’s a step by step of how to partake in the #BlogPawsChat: It’s easy, fun, and there is no need to feel overwhelmed:
Take an Interest in Pinterest
We’re a visual and socially connected society, and dogs are very social beings. Dog moms and dads fill their smartphones with photos of their canine family members. Pinterest encourages, fosters, and helps grow your furry obsession into something connected to other dog lovers.
Pinning is a form of micro-blogging, very much like Twitter and Facebook, but without the heavy verbal commitment. If getting your dog recognized is your goal, give Pinterest a try. You need not be on every single social media platform – but if Pinterest is on the list, make a concerted plan of how you plan to capitalize on it. There is a session at BlogPaws on this topic.
I Sniff You, You Sniff Me
Growing an online presence takes time. Think like your dog: He meets a new dog, and in most cases, an exchange of sniffs occurs. The same philosophy should be applied online. You know that person who talks nonstop at a party, rambling about me-me-me? It works the same way. If you want a following, be a good follower. Reciprocity rules; I sniff you, you sniff me.
Stow Your Electronic Devices
Experience life. Go for walks, engage in face-to-face banter, and then infuse those experiences into your dog’s social media presence. I have a “rules of writing” poster here in my office, and one of the basic principles is to stop writing and go do something. I find humor in things my dog does when on play dates, traveling, going for walks, and meeting new people. I am able to write about those experiences. Probably 80 percent of my inspiration happens within a 10-mile radius of my home, but thousands of followers know about it. It’s amazing how dogs can bring us together, isn’t it? We’re one big happy dog park, in a sense.
Finally, take your camera wherever you go. If you have a smartphone with a camera, use it. Snap pictures at the pet supply store, the dog park, the vet’s waiting room, and wherever your dog goes. No need to go pup-arazzi style, but the funniest and most engaging visual moments I’ve shared have been when my dog is doing sweet and innocent nothings — which can turn into big somethings online.
There you have it. It might not happen overnight, but social-media stardom can be done. Be sure to never put a dog in harm’s way or make her do anything uncomfortable or upsetting in order to get a good photo or post. Most of all, avoid pitfalls by having fun and bonding with your dog. It worked for Timmy and Lassie in the well, and it works for Boo and his mom on Facebook.
Does your dog have a social-media presence? Bark at me below and share your links. I love making new friends as much as my dog does. You can follow my Dexter on Facebook and Fidose of Reality on Instagram and Fidose of Reality on Twitter.