Instagram influencers are usually beautiful, poised and stylish. Except if they’re dogs.
I swear, I’m not being mean – dogs actually are getting in on the action, and they’re becoming Insta-famous in the process.
Like their human counterparts, these hot dogs are getting tens of thousands of dollars using their carefully crafted brands to push content out to their fans. They’re part of marketing plans for everything from pet food to luxury hotels.
Such empires require proper management. Enter Loni Edwards, founder of talent management firm The Dog Agency. For several year, Edwards has used her legal and entrepreneurial background to manage “the most influential animals in the world.” Her own famous fido had the hugely popular Instagram account, @chloetheminifrenchie. Chloe’s death even made local news.
Edwards knows how much work goes behind the scenes to get the follower numbers needed to bring in the bucks. She told Vox she started an Instagram for Chloe because she was so cute and she wanted a casual way to share photos without bombarding people. Within months, Chloe had thousands of followers.
People really liked her personality because I dressed her up and had her sitting next to me in business meetings. She was always smiling and was a sweet, adorable ball of love, and her personality translated through the photos and by the way I wrote the copy.
Pet-based brands, like PetSmart and Purina, began sending products and inviting Edwards and Chloe to parties. From there, her network grew. Other owners of celebrity pets asked her for legal advice regarding contracts and a cottage business was born.
Edwards’ services include negotiating between brands and her clients, and deciding if and when clients should branch out to book writing and other opportunities. The key to fame lies in finding what it is about each dog that will grab an audience’s attention and exploiting it.
Edwards says, “As long as there’s something, whether it’s that they are insanely cute or really not cute, that make people go, “Oh, my god,” and tag their friends.”
Edwards doesn’t limit her services to dogs either. She also works with pigs, monkeys and hedgehogs!
Edwards says the biggest challenge with working with pets is explaining to brands that these animals can’t work for hours at a time like people. Nor do they take direction on a set. But brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Sony and Ralph Lauren are paying top dollar to get their product pushed by photogenic pets.
Looking at pictures of cute animals promotes a sense of well-being by boosting endorphins. Naturally, brands want to harness this power. Nobody is envious of dogs either, so that barrier of unapproachability is removed.
Edwards says she only wants to work with people who love their pets and she can tell in an instant those who are only looking to get paid. Yet, even though it seems the playing field is full, she believes that people will always want to look at cute dogs and cats. So, grab your camera and a couple of props and see if you can get your fur-baby to pout, baby, pout.