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May 1, 2013

The value of social media is being realized by more retailers in the pet category—many businesses are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even their own blogs to regularly engage their target audiences online.

Amanda LeGaux is a social media specialist at Trone Brand Energy, a leader in blogger engagement, particularly in the pet space.

However, a relatively untapped opportunity in the digital landscape lies in the pet blogosphere.

The pet blogging community has proven to be a valuable platform for companies to both engage with and learn from pet loving consumers, and it is an essential driver of online sales and product recommendations.

Retailers have the opportunity to harness the power that pet bloggers wield in the pet owners’ purchase consideration journey to better promote and sell products online while garnering key purchasing insights from their target consumer audience.

Of the national pet owning audience, 30 percent spend more than 30 minutes per week consuming pet-related information, according to Trone Brand Energy data from 2012. This segment of individuals, referred to as pet information seekers, is researching topics including pet health and nutrition (77 percent), pet behavior, safety and life stage issues (69 percent) and most important for retailers, new products (67 percent), according to Trone Brand Energy data.

More than one third of the pet information seekers audience turn to blogs for this information.

Here are some of the top ways that retailers can leverage pet bloggers to grow their business.

Guide consumers in their purchase decisions and increase sales.

Pet bloggers are committed to sharing their opinions about products and services that they use. Many of these influencers have weighted audiences representative of specific regions and regularly promote local products and companies.

Retailers can engage bloggers and work with them during their review writing process to provide information not only about a specific product but also on where to buy it. The pet consumer who then turns to that blog while seeking content or researching a product will gain valuable product insights that also direct them to a purchase destination.

Retailers, especially those with an e-commerce platform, should consider incorporating blogger engagement into their overall strategy, in order to maximize sales via the peer-to-peer recommendation model that pet blogs foster.

Check the pulse of important issues in the pet community.

Pet blogs provide retailers with something that is somewhat difficult to attain—instant insights into the most relevant issues in the pet community. Trends in the pet category emerge quickly. Retailers can turn to blogs to get a pulse on hot topics, buzz-worthy products and audience interest.

Retailers can then use this information to direct their content push strategies. For example, if a blogger provides insights about their audience’s overwhelming interest in biodegradable and nature-friendly products, retailers can then distribute social media content about their company’s product offerings in that category. The relevant and immediate nature of this information can potentially lead to more targeted product awareness and purchase.

Increase SEO. Bloggers can help to increase a brand’s visibility in online search by sharing posts that contain both links to a brand’s Web properties and keywords that identify a brand’s product offerings. Engaging bloggers to regularly distribute brand messages helps to strengthen a company’s online reach and consumer availability.

Amanda LeGaux is a social media specialist at Trone Brand Energy, a leader in blogger engagement, particularly in the pet space.  She works to grow relationships with influencers in the digital space and drives the content strategy for influencer engagement for various clients in the pet category.  Blogify, Trone Brand Energy’s blogger engagement resource, helps brands to easily connect with bloggers to increase sales, online mentions and brand advocacy.

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