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Old Dog, New Tricks – Influencer Marketing & Furry Friends

4 MINUTE READ | June 3, 2016

Old Dog, New Tricks – Influencer Marketing & Furry Friends

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Elizabeth Birdsong

Elizabeth Birdsong has written this article. More details coming soon.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting one of the internet’s most famous furry friends, Marnie the Dog. I stood in line for four hours (yes, four hours) to meet her… four hours in line to meet a dog. You can’t even have a conversation with a dog, and, if I’m being honest, I’m not a huge dog person. But I stood in line for 240 minutes anyway. My entire interaction with Marnie lasted about fifteen seconds. Those fifteen second included: a huge gust of wind blowing my hair in every which way, terrible quality lighting, me saying something along the lines of, “wow, this dog smells awesome”, and, eventually, a picture with Marnie. Were the 14,400 seconds of standing in line worth it? Absolutely.

And, in case any #haters out there don’t believe me, here is a picture to prove it:

Marnie is a part of a subset of internet users who work in influencer marketing. According to TapInfluence, influencer marketing is “a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire/hire/pay influencers to get out the word for you.” Some of the most famous influencers include Viner Jerome Jarre, YouTuber PewDiePie, and beauty blogger Zoella. The common thread between these people?

To boil it down:

Who are influencers? – Influencers are trendsetters on social media platforms (think tech bloggers, YouTube beauty gurus, Vine comedians)

What do they post? – Influencers will:

Why will they post? – They’re either paid by your brand or so inspired by your brand that they want to post about it

How does this work? – According to Forbes, “audiences are skeptical of advertising and will often tune out messages from brands they’ve forgotten they’d followed on social media. But when they see content from an individual they like and trust, they are much more likely to accept the content and buy.” People, especially teenagers and millennials, trust influencers, in fact, 60% of teens are more likely to believe and buy from YouTube stars than mainstream celebrities (source: Variety)). Influencers aren’t celebrities, they aren’t paid endorsers, they are simply authentic people on the internet who post what they want to post.

Okay, so at this point you might be wondering, “Wait, how can Marnie be an influencer? She’s a dog, she can’t talk, how can this work?”And I’ll tell you: Our internet furry friends are some of the most beloved (and most followed) social media users. For example, Grumpy Cat has 1.5 million followers on Instagram – that’s more than Martha Stewart, Bob Saget, Mandy Moore, and Rachel Bilson have PUT TOGETHER. Brands began to catch on to fame of internet pets and have started using animals as influencers – Grumpy Cat was the face of Friskies, Boo the Dog worked for Virgin America, Sir Charles Barkley the Frenchie influenced for Aesop/Nordstrom, and our old pal Marnie was featured in a JetBlue Instagram post.

To bring it back around, would I stand in line for four hours to meet household name, television celebrity, AND spokesperson/endorser Bob Saget? No, probably not. Would I be tempted to purchase from JetBlue if Bob Saget was the spokesperson? Again, probably not, and like, y’all, he was the dad on Full House… But would I do those things for millennial-adored, Instagram famous Marnie? Heck to the yes, and that’s the power of generation-inspired and social-media-driven influencer marketing.

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