What Life Is Like When Your Pet Is a Social Media Star
Herman is a 1-year-old Maltese Yorkie.
He loves running in the park, snacking on his favorite treat of boiled chicken, wearing hooded sweatshirts and getting his picture taken, of course.
Herman is what you’d call a doggie influencer. Pictures of him posing in adorable little hoodies have garnered him more than 40,000 followers on Instagram, sending him into social media stardom and making him the furry face of big name sponsors like Iams, Cesar and Vans.
owner 37-year-old sales manager David Yip, the experience has been nothing short of life-changing.
“He's the first dog I've ever had. It started pretty innocently, actually. I was in a client's office last year, last summer, and long story short, they asked me to dog-sit for a couple weeks when they went on family vacation and I agreed, like any good sales person,” Yip told ABC News’ “Nightline.” “When he had to go home, I was a little bummed out. I was used to having this little dude around. … I found a breeder and I got very lucky. He was the last one left out of the litter.”
Yip said he started taking photos of Herman, which were very popular with his friends. He started an Instagram just for Herman.
“Then that kind of snowballed into people … liking it online and in social media. We just kept going,” Yip said.
In the world of big-time animal influencers, social media stars like Grumpy cat and Jiffpom can fetch major deals for their owners.
Kyla Brennan runs the HelloSociety, an agency that represents social media-famous animals and their owners.
“We represent people and animals on social media, who have [a] massive audience, and we connect those pets and people with brands who want authentic spokespeople,” Brennan told “Nightline.”
Brennan’s team discovered Yip and his dog Herman and flew to meet them in Toronto.
“That's one of the things we see a lot in pet influencers. Their owners are incredible photographers. They put all this work into making sure that the sets and the stories ... and every photo is really different. If you look at Herman, it's not just Herman sitting on a couch every time. It's Herman on a sidewalk, it's Herman at a party, it's Herman wearing some insane outfit, right? There's always something new to kind of tune in to,” said Brennan.
One of the secrets to social media success for pets is having a good caption.
“Good captioning is really important. It's telling a story. It's still giving somebody else that extra reason to tune in. It's using hashtags the right way, so when people search for things you come up to multiple audiences and it's engaging with your audience too,” Brennan explained.
Pets with an impressive social media following can translate all those followers into big business for their owners.
“One that is in the works right now -- as in the content that is being created -- is a $150,000 campaign. We have six animals involved … sharing a portion of the $150,000. One is making, I want to say, $17,500,” Brennan revealed.
Though, he’s just starting out, Yip said Herman’s Instagram presence has brought in close to $10,000. But Yip said that it wasn’t his goal initially to make money.
“When I got Herman, it brought back that love of creating things and sharing my ideas and sharing, whether it's funny captions or funny photos. You know, just my style of things,” said Yip.
Yip said Herman has helped enrich his life.
“Herman definitely helped me get away from my workaholism,” said Yip.
But Brennan warns, it’s not easy to make your pet famous on social media.
“There are some people who are doing that. Don't ever own an animal just because you're hoping you can make it famous on Instagram,” Brennan said. “You'd hopefully wouldn't have a kid to do that, please don't go and adopt an animal to do that. It's very hard to make an animal famous on Instagram.”
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Snapchat 'Spectacles' launch prompts change to new name - Snap Inc.
Social media app Snapchat is introducing video-recording glasses called Spectacles and is changing its company name to incorporate the new product.
The glasses can record video 10 seconds at a time by tapping a button on the device. The video is then uploaded to the popular image-messaging app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The glasses are the first hardware from the Los Angeles-based company.
The glasses record so-called "circular video," meaning it plays full-screen on any device in any orientation.
They will be available in the U.S. in the fall on a limited basis and cost $130.
In a way, the Spectacles recall Google's venture into eyewear, Google Glass, which took photos and video. But that device also had a screen that let you surf the web as well and cost $1,500.
Google shuttered that venture in early 2015 after it received a tepid response from users.
The company says it's changing its name to Snap Inc. since it now has more than one product. The app will retain the name Snapchat.
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