Pet owners take tremendous pride in their bundles of joy. Need proof? Just log in to your Facebook or Instagram account.
In addition to photos of babies and posts regarding sports and politics, you’ll see a plethora of pet images – and even social media accounts devoted exclusively to specific pets.
The social media phenomenon has transcended various aspects of life, impacting the continuing evolution of pet ownership. Whereas previously a pet owner might’ve stuck a photo of his bulldog on the refrigerator, now that image is posted online with a caption and hashtags for the masses to view.
While, for the most part, featuring your cat or dog in your Facebook and Instagram posts represents harmless fun, it’s important to establish some guidelines to ensure you show off your pet on social media with your animal’s best interests in mind. The following are five tips for incorporating your pet into your social media posts.
1. Post With Pride…But do so in Moderation
You’re lucky enough to have a dog or cat for which the feeling of unconditional love is mutual. You find your pet cute, endearing, and humorous all at the same time. You take pride in your pet and want the world to know. Naturally, one way this pride can be manifested is through social media.
There’s nothing wrong with creating social media posts depicting your adoration for your pet, or even devoting an Instagram account specifically to your Basset Hound. However, you should practice moderation when it comes to pet social media. When you become too consumed with conveying your pet’s cuteness on Facebook, you risk losing sight of what’s really important – like cultivating a meaningful relationship with your pet and ensuring your pet’s well-being.
Don’t let the focal point of you and your dog’s hike become achieving the perfect social media photo rather than simply enjoying the experience with your pup. Your pet couldn’t care less about his “selfie,” so don’t prioritize social media over your pet’s enrichment and happiness.
2. Never Put Your Pet in Danger for the Sake of Social Media
This may seem like common sense, yet it warrants being mentioned. Your pet’s safety and well-being should be your utmost concern, even when it means missing out on that perfect photo opportunity.
Seeking social media fame, some pet owners have resorted to dangling their dogs over a ravine or perching their cats atop a chimney, all in the name of achieving a memorable photo. Your pet’s safety simply cannot be jeopardized.
Creativity is encouraged when it comes to pet social media – just not at the expense of your cat or dog’s safety. Unless your dog is 100-percent obedient, you should even practice caution with removing your canine from his leash outdoors to stage a photo.
3. Use Social Media to Promote Pet Knowledge-Sharing
One of the perks associated with pet social media is that it brings like-minded pet owners together in a single virtual room through the establishment of groups. World of Labradors on Instagram and Maine Coon Cat Lovers are just two of numerous examples that exist.
Use social media to identify pet owners faced with similar situations, such as the same type of pet, same breed, same age, same health condition, etc. Once you’ve established your online community, you can utilize this forum to share stories, offer insight, and provide encouragement. Fellow puppy owners may have excellent advice to offer regarding the challenge of housebreaking.
Social media also serves as an ideal platform for spreading the word regarding a missing pet or finding a suitable adopter for a rescued animal. Instead of simply posting photos of your dog, consider using your social media accounts for the betterment of other pets. Connect with fellow pet owners and collectively champion an animal welfare cause.
4. Protect You and Your Pet’s Privacy When Using Social Media
Since your pet can’t demonstrate concern regarding privacy, you’ll have to do so on his behalf. Like it or not, when you share something on a social media site, it’s out there for the world to see. Even if you adjust your privacy settings to limit viewership, it’s difficult to guarantee a particular level of privacy.
What’s the implication regarding lack of privacy as it pertains to your pet social media accounts? When participating in social media on behalf of your pet, be wary about posting anything that would disclose your address or home location. This proves especially true if your dog or cat happens to be a purebred who could be perceived as valuable.
While it may seem unfathomable to think that your pet could be kidnapped or stolen on the basis of your social media usage, the bottom line is it never hurts to be cautious.
5. Have Fun with Pet Social Media
If likes and follows are your pet social media objectives, develop a plan to garner widespread interest in your pet’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Creativity and originality are king and queen when it comes to attracting an online audience.
Have fun with depicting your pet’s unique personality. Incorporate “caption this” photos or themed images, use appropriate hashtags (ie. #PugglesofInstagram), and embed short videos showcasing your cat’s ability to perform tricks. Cuteness counts a great deal. With consistent and effective management of your pet social media accounts, followers will flock. Who knows, perhaps your pet will become the next viral sensation like Grumpy Cat or Lil Bub?
Pets and social media are similar in that both can produce joy, laughter, and special connections. Just make sure not to lose sight of which is a cherished family member and which is merely an internet phenomenon.