Pets rule social media. A survey by Mars Petcare found that one in six people create a social media profile for their pet, and a third of people post about their pet as much as they do about their human family.
Based on all this pet love, talking about the pets who visit your business could help draw attention to your social media channels and get your customers even more excited to visit.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Post often about pet visitors
- Pet of the Week — start capturing photos of furry visitors and post your favorite or a collage once a week.
- Caption This — post funny photos of pets at your business and invite followers to write a caption for what’s happening in the shot.
- Voice of the Pet — post cute photos of pets at your business, with a funny quip about what they’re thinking.
- Fill in the Blanks — same as above, but provide a thought starter, e.g. “Fido, when he saw ___________________________ at our store today!”
- Pet Tales — ask willing customers to participate in short videos, Facebook Live broadcasts or Instagram Stories answering one or two questions like, “How do you feel about being able to bring your dog to pet-friendly businesses like ours?”
- Quotes — post humorous or inspiring quotations about dogs and cats, accompanied by photos from pets who visit your business.
- Pet-menities — highlight the amenities you have onsite to help make pets comfortable.
- Product or service features — highlight something your business offers that is pet-focused.
- Action shots — sometimes it’s fun to see pets in action, even if the photo doesn’t turn out perfectly. If a joyful pet comes to visit, capture that joy!
- Videos or gifs — thanks to smartphones, we can all capture cute short videos of pets. A great one is a pet walking toward you, shot at eye level. Use a gif-making tool to turn it into never-ending adorableness.
- User-generated content — watch for mentions of your business and retweet, share or repost mentions that include pets.
Remember, you aren’t limited to dogs and cats inside your business — you can get great content by stepping out to the sidewalk too!
Pet photography tips
- Shoot pictures near windows or outside where you’ll have the most natural light.
- Don’t use a flash, which can scare the pet and create red eyes.
- Get down on their level for a “pet’s eye” view.
- Be patient. Sometimes you have to wait to get the best expression.
- Take lots of photos in a short time. Thanks to digital photography, you have the ability to shoot many, so do that to give you plenty of options.
- Let pets be who they are — don’t try to pose a pet or force them into a particular position. You’ll get the best pictures if the pet is relaxed.
- Think about what’s in the background. The less going on behind them, the more the focus of the photo will be the pet.
- That said, if you’re looking to promote your business with the post, think about how to get a subtle hint of it into the frame — a part of your sign in the background, a logo’d item in a corner, etc.
- Holding a treat or toy by the camera is a great way to keep a dog or cat focused on you for the photo. Just be sure to follow through by handing it over when done — teasing a pet can upset him or her.
- Sounds can be helpful too. Whistle, use a squeaky toy or shake a treat jar to get them focused on you and the camera. But save the sound for the moment you really need it, as it will distract the pet, too.
Keep responsible pet ownership in mind
Pets should always be safe and secure. To avoid encouraging unsafe behaviors, don’t post pictures of:
- Pets that aren’t leashed.
- Pets wearing choke chains, pronged collars, head harnesses, shock collars or muzzles.
- Pets whose leash is tangled in a potentially dangerous way.
- Pets wearing clothing, hats or other items that are tight, dangling or otherwise potentially unsafe.
- Pets in precarious positions.
- Pets eating people food (since some people foods are dangerous for pets).
- Pets playing with inappropriate toys such as sticks or raw bones.
- Pets riding unsecured in cars.
- Pets fighting.
- Pets playing with kids without adult supervision.
- Pets with dyed hair, which can be unsafe.
More ideas for pet-friendly promotions
- Set up a selfie space in or near your business where pet parents will want to snap a picture with their pet.
- Create a “wall of fame” where you post pictures of pet visitors.
- Invite a pet influencer to visit your business and share social posts about their experience.
Want more tips? Check out the Pets Welcome Toolkit for info about how to launch a pet-friendly business initiative that can benefit businesses, pet parents and pets.