Pets, Social Media and Your Practice

With the immense popularity of adorable, unusual and downright peculiar pets on social media today, social networks might as well be called social “petworks.” Here’s why your practice should get on board.
Amy Jensen
Published: August 30, 2017
Pets have gone viral on social media. No matter which social platform you prefer, you’ll find a plethora of pet images, videos, memes and more without doing a single search. Pets make people smile and laugh without much effort and bring positivity to the day. Some people make profiles just for their pets, updating them daily with photos, posts and videos to entertain their ardent followers.

Veterinary practices that implement pet-sharing strategies on their social media channels could find their online following — and their client base — growing exponentially.

Social media is fun to play with after snapping pictures and videos of the pets that visit your practice. One caveat: Always make sure you have the pet owner’s approval before posting any images of patients. Some practices make a habit of having the clients of pets they see often sign a general photo release form. That way, the photos can be used for social media, marketing, newsletters and the like without having to seek permission each time.

Once you’ve created a system for acquiring images and videos of pets on a regular basis, give social media posting a try on your platform of choice and watch your followers grow.

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Clever Captions
As if we could read the minds of pets and hear what they’re thinking and saying, many pet posts on social media have clever captions that relate to our everyday lives. Captions imply that pets are talking, laughing, speaking, singing and having regular conversations with people and other pets. As if the videos weren’t entertaining enough on their own, clever captions create a sense of connection and make posts super relatable. These captions tend to be comedic, silly and true, all at the same time.

Peculiar Pets
While the social media world loves cats and dogs, users also get a kick out of unusual animals and peculiar pets. Pets with quirky characteristics, such as a three-legged cat, a dog missing an ear or a pet that has overcome huge obstacle, are among the most popular. Unusual pets also get a lot of attention—think pigs, turkeys, cows and exotic pets with attitude. On social media, it’s all about pets with personality. Check out a few of the unique pets that have huge followings on Instagram.
  • Marnie the Dog: This 15-year-old shih tzu, adopted from a shelter at age 11, overcame extreme health issues and today has 2.1 million followers. 

  • Tonkey Bear Max and Tonkey Much: These two dogs — the latter of which looks a lot like a cuddly teddy bear — have about 385,000 followers. 

  • Hamlet: This pet pig living in Los Angeles has 305,000 followers. 

  • MacGyver the Lizard: Listed as “Instagram’s favorite dog-sized lizard,” MacGyver has 170,000 followers. 


Viral Videos
Pet videos easily go viral, especially if filmed during an unusual moment. People get used to the quirky things their pets do, from backflips in the backyard and riding in play cars with kids to being scared by objects like cucumbers and spinning around in circles — the list is endless.

But the rest of us don’t see these pets every day, so each video is a surprise. Pet videos give us a giggle and we happily share them with our friends with the click of a button. Viral videos include footage of crazy cats, daring dogs, animals rescuing each other, emotional moments, cuddly faces and the overcoming of obstacles. If a video can pull on the heartstrings or cause a laugh, chances are that social media followers are going to eat it up!

Following Your Favorites
Social media makes it easy to keep track of your favorite pets online, especially with the option of “following” them on specific social platforms. Instagram, for example, allows anyone to follow you without requiring approval. Pet profiles have follower numbers that are through the roof, and hashtags related to pets are popular, too. Check out a few pets on your favorite platforms to see for yourself, and use these forms of social media to your advantage.

 
Amy Jensen is a freelance writer, blogger, social media manager and nutrition coach living in Tucson, Arizona. She’s always been a pet lover — her fur baby is a pit bull named River, whom she found at the river. She regularly manages social media for veterinarians through Beyond Indigo.

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