So there are a few ways to work with dog influencers (a.k.a. dogfluencers) that are pretty low-hanging fruit. Of course, there are other ways to do this, but I'm speaking for 99% of the brands out there that are looking to take notes and get started on this tomorrow.
First, let me clarify something. We're not just talking about influencers—those creators with a ton of followers and influence. In this email, we're also discussing creators who are just starting out. If you're confused, don't worry about it. I'll say it again at the end of this email and you'll understand by then!
Let's talk about traditional influencers, first. Here are 8 super easy ways to work with them.
8 ways to work with dog influencers
You've most likely seen ads as you tried falling asleep on time but couldn't stop scrolling Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, or even Twitter. With whitelisting, brands create content with an influencer, aligning themselves with the content created by the influencers as well as their values, ethics, morals, etc.
For example, when Smoofl partners with Golden_Lewis, they're not just getting content from it, they're also borrowing the trust that Lewis has built with his content around what he consumes, and how the dog owner does her own diligence for dog products. With all of that, they also get a piece of content that is run as an ad, coming from Lewis' account, and blasted to the audience of their choosing.
TL;DR: Ads that come from an influencer to sell a product — that's influencer whitelisting.
If you have a dogfluencer involved on your cap table (they're an investor or advisor) or they're a huge fan of the brand, it can create an opportunity to send products out to their friends (aka, other influencers). You also don't NEED to have an "influencer" or celebrity in your reach to do this… if you have a super well-connected investor or advisor, work with them to create special shipments that go out. The costs of doing this is basically the COGS + any special packaging you want to include.
If creating a new product is not a massive (costly) lift in your supply chain, then this is a great option. Essentially, create a new product/SKU/variant of a product with an influencer or celebrity (at this point, they're the same thing), and then blast that out to this celebrity's network of influencers or famous friends.
Dog influencer giveaway.
If you have a dog influencer who's a huge fan of your brand, there's a good chance they already have spoken about it to their dog parent audience, and would be interested in a giveaway on Instagram.
While these work for boosting followers (since a part of the rule to be entered to win is to follow the brand and the influencer, leave a comment, and maybe something), the quality of the followers is usually not that great.
Similarly when doing giveaways where you're collecting people's emails, the quality of those emails is generally bad — they bring down your overall revenue per user, open rates, click-through rates, etc. I'm not a big fan of these, in 99% of instances, but if you have an influencer who you feel is super aligned with your brand, this could work well.
Create a contest
This can be done in a couple of ways.
One way to do it is to work with a dog influencer where the dogfluencer would announce the content and encourage people to create content to contribute to the contest.
Another way would be for the brand to announce the contest, but then have a bunch of dogfluencers ready to contribute to the contest. You mainly see this on TikTok when brands announce hashtag challenges, and they'll have 20-50 influencers ready to put up paid content they've already approved, and it tricks their (the dogfluencer's) audience into contributing to the contest as well. This is more of a brand play, unlike the whitelisting where you're running pretty much a mid/lower funnel customer acquisition campaign.
Dog Content Creators
Ok, so those are some easy ways to work with dog influencers. Now, let's talk about creators.
Aussie unboxing a themed box from the dog brand Snuffelbox.
Creators are quite literally anyone who's good at creating content, regardless of their following size. Generally, creators who are pretty good at content creation (as a freelancer) also have a small following of their own. For the record, we love to see the validation of a small following, because it means in addition to creating content, they do know what seems to work on the social platform — hence, why they have a following. Here are some low-hanging fruit ideas:
Even if someone doesn't have a huge following, you can still whitelist content they create, especially if it's authentic and good content.
What matters is that someone is really good at articulating the benefits of a dog product, why the person loves it and why you might love it as a random dog person scrolling Instagram. It drives clicks, sales, and revenue, and it's not coming from the brand's page, so it feels natural (aka contextually native) in the feed.
Commercials or Testimonials
Dog owner films a customer testimonial.
Similar to whitelisting, getting testimonial-style videos or stories outlining a lot of the things you see in customer reviews, creators are a great way to fill this. Most commercials you see on TV do the same thing — they figure out what people love about Verizon, then they pay some family to come and say the same exact thing, they record it, put it on TV, and you go pay for Verizon.
Creators who have 10k to 50k followers on a social platform are generally not seen as influencers, so they are usually down to create content, like a product review or product-in-action video, in exchange for free product.
If you've ever wondered how dog brands are able to create, launch and test new content so quickly, it's because they have a network of creators they've built themselves, or they leverage a network like Dogfluence.com.
Why we love dog creators?
We love all dogs, but the exception with creators vs. influencers, is that they're generally an all-in-one production company, meaning you're not paying for a wardrobe person on set, a hair stylist, makeup, etc.
You pay (or barter with) the creator and you get pre-production, scripting, content, editing, post-production, and (in most cases) posting to their socials.
That said, make sure you pay your creators properly and very fairly. If paid sponsorships are not facilitated by a platform, make sure to sponsor a decent amount of products. Word travels fast about which companies compensate fairly and which ones try to rip creators off. You absolutely do not want to be a company known for not paying creators properly, in fact, you should do everything to make sure you treat creators better than any other company can. You're playing a long game here. Once a post or campaign is done, it doesn't end the relationship. You'll likely work with creators for years to come.
Check out Dogfluence.com
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas. In case you are still looking for dog influencers to collaborate with. Register your brand on Dogfluence.com and connect with thousands of potential brand ambassadors for your dog brand.