By Bob Cargill
People love their pets, not necessarily their elected officials. And the savviest social media marketers should try to take advantage of this fact.
It was absolutely hilarious, if you ask me.
It was just a few weeks ago, on a Tuesday night (October 4). Two men vying for the second highest office in the land, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, were debating each other before an audience of millions and frankly, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
I was looking at a Facebook Live video being broadcast on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s Facebook page that was showing the television broadcast of the event.
However, in front of the screen was a large pen full of cute, little kittens divided by two separate carpets, one red and the other blue, with a box of kitty litter in the middle labelled, “Undecided.”
I was literally laughing out loud.
If you’re looking for attention from the masses, you can’t go wrong by hitching your social media wagon to anything to do with this year’s tumultuous election season, of course. All eyes have been on that runaway freight train of a news story. It’s been a perfect newsjacking opportunity if ever there was one.
But the time and circumstances have also been quite rare. At least let’s hope so.
What’s always in vogue are cats and dogs.
After all, pretty much anything to do with politics is a hot-button issue. Cats and dogs? Not so much. People love their pets, not necessarily their elected officials. And the savviest social media marketers will try to take advantage of this fact.
For instance, here are 10 ways businesses and brands – excluding any pet-related brands, per se – include cats and dogs in their social media to attract an even bigger audience…
1. TODAY Show on Instagram
Charlie was very excited for #KingsOfLeon! #TODAYShow #KingsOfLeonTODAY (photo via @photonate)
A photo posted by TODAY (@todayshow) on Oct 14, 2016 at 12:13pm PDT
What a cute picture! What a great idea! Add a puppy to the cast of regulars and you have a win-win all-around.
Charlie follows in the paw prints of his predecessor, Wrangler, who left the Today Show to “work” as service dog for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Charlie is being trained to be one of America’s VetDogs. In the meantime, he’s taking advantage of more than his fair share of photo ops on the set.
2. Boston Red Sox on Twitter
Tomorrow is Dog Day at Fenway presented by NutriSource! You & your best friend can be there: https://t.co/2jIko7tuax pic.twitter.com/AVsJfYtDyF
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 27, 2016
Not that the Red Sox need any help in filling seats, but this sure is a great way to attract a few fans, including those of the four-feet variety, to the ballpark. If every dog has his or her day, what could be better than spending that day at Fenway Park (even if there isn’t a game being played)?
3. Best Western on Instagram
“This is your 38th selfie this morning, John… Ok, one more!” Leave a hilarious caption for this travel dog. #TravelCaptionSaturday
A photo posted by Best Western® Hotels & Resorts (@bestwestern) on Sep 17, 2016 at 10:53am PDT
I love the fact that Best Western made the dog the star of this photo. How can you resist looking at it, never mind wanting to caption it? Man’s best friend is a marketer’s best friend, too.
4. Ralph Lauren on Twitter
Happy #NationalDogDay from Ralph Lauren, with family dog Rugby, rescued near the Double RL Ranch in Colorado pic.twitter.com/LeEBPB1fRM
— Ralph Lauren (@RalphLauren) August 26, 2016
Thanks to the emergence of social media and the ubiquity of pop culture, every day is a holiday. And the savviest brands among us make sure they’ve included themselves in that celebration, newsjacking the conversation about it on social media in some way, shape or form as Ralph Lauren so smoothly does here.
5. Katy Perry on Facebook
She’s a big rock star and a huge brand who, according to Trackalytics, has the 25th most-liked page on Facebook.
She’s Katy Perry, her fans are KatyCats and this is a purr-fect example of how well felines play on social media.
6. Target on Twitter
Pups in costumes. #MakeMeSmileIn3Words https://t.co/2ooeZh4NvK pic.twitter.com/o7yYUrP5bM
— Target (@Target) October 12, 2016
Demonstrating a knack for newsjacking, the team behind Target’s Twitter account does a great job of taking advantage of a trending hashtag not only to be cute, but to drive traffic back to the store’s pet costumes for sale before Halloween.
7. 29 Sudbury on Facebook
Happy Hour may be illegal in the state of Massachusetts, but no one said anything about Yappy Hour. What a great idea!
Not only is this a very clever way for 29 Sudbury to attract customers, it’s an excellent example of cause marketing, promoting your business while also raising funds for a good cause.
8. Volkswagen on Twitter
— Volkswagen (@Volkswagen) August 8, 2016
It’s the International Cat Day –the fluffiest day of the year! #internationalcatday #volkswagen pic.twitter.com/TYHu66T73c
— Volkswagen (@Volkswagen) August 8, 2016
In this clever video, Volkswagen jumped on the International Cat Day bandwagon and used a handful of fluffy felines to demonstate how its Driver Alert System works, showing them springing to attention whenever the warning bell sounds.
9. American Express on Instagram
The moment when your @barkbox brings all the dawgs to the yard. Get there faster by checking out with #AmexExpressCheckout. Learn more: amexexpresscheckout.com. #dogsoncomputers
A photo posted by American Express (@americanexpress) on Jul 29, 2015 at 7:58am PDT
Blending in nicely with the Instagram environment, American Express includes a clever, colloquial caption along with this picture of a dog and his or her shipment of treats, toys and Tchochkies from BarkBox.
This post has got it all going on – product placement, hashtags, URL, you name it – and nearly 1,000 likes to show for it.
10. Gemmyo on Twitter
Vous avez dit #Gemmiaou ? A consommer sans modération ! #startup #metro #jeuneetjoaillier #bijou #love pic.twitter.com/ZkoAuMXAeC
— Gemmyo (@GemmyoParis) July 8, 2016
I don’t know what a pink cat has to do with precious stones, but apparently this French company’s advertising is as innovative as its phenomenally popular line of personalized, made-to-order jewelry.
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