community

Ever heard of social petworking?

boo the dog

Social petworking – believe it or not it’s a real thing. Not only is it real, it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.

If this is as new a topic as it was to me a few months ago, then let me introduce you to some of the sites leading the way.

First of all we have My Social Petwork – the Instagram of the animal world if you like. This network is based on our love for those cute doggy snaps and the videos of kittens doing crazy things that we just can’t take our eyes off of. Users rate photos and videos of people’s pets (and there really is a whole array – giant snails feature on the home page…) with the aim to become the highest rated photo or video of the day. If we look at the activity all over our Facebook feeds, it is quite clear there’s an audience for this type of community. And I’m just talking about the owners – thats not including the 1 in 10 social profiles that are actually for pets themselves. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at Boo’s profile – the most popular dog on the planet, or so the 7.3 million likes would suggest.

Then we have the interestingly named Yummy Pets – the self proclaimed Facebook for pets. This takes it up a level – owners are no longer owners but indeed ‘pet parents’. I think there’s a lot to be improved on the branding (‘click here to discover yummy pets’ seems a somewhat strange invitation), but with 150,000 members, there’s no arguing its popularity. The community is very much built around what we are used to seeing on the ‘human side’ of social – profiles, status updates, photos, and lists of friends and fans. Having started life in France and launching this year in the UK, it’s certainly a booming business.

Now I’m no huge animal lover, but I do love social media, and I get where this adds value. There’s clearly a lot of pet owners with a whole lot of time on their hands, and that’s no bad thing for the petworking community, but where the value is really added is when these communities can be used as a resource for improving pet care. As examples, the sponsored ads within Yummy Pets take people to practical pet services, the blog provides helpful updates on keeping your pet healthy and of course the VIPets section – it’s always vital to keep up to date with celeb pets…

So my conclusion on the trend that I was initially pretty skeptical about is that it makes complete sense. As a generation we love social media, as a global population we love our pets, ergo we love social petworking. And if you’re still not sold – take a look at this infographic on the top social networking stars (the numbers are a little outdated, but they are still very much stars). Engagement numbers we could only ever dream of!

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