Erin Seilhan runs a popular Instagram and Facebook account for her cat, Shelby. Erin describes Shelby as a spoiled diva who loves food, alcohol and fashion – just kidding of course. Erin incorporates humor into all her posts featuring Shelby. It all started when Erin adopted a cat and named her Shelby. Erin didn’t want to spam her friend’s social feeds with cat pictures so she created dedicated accounts for Shelby. Shelby the cat now has a combined reach of over 50,000. Take a minute and let that sink in…
When was your ah-ha moment when you discovered influencer marketing was a viable revenue stream? Or at least a way to get some pretty cool products from brands in exchange for your-err Shelby’s review?
Okay so a lot of the things I first started posting were just generic. Like “oh look how cute she’s sleeping or she’s in a funny outfit and then one day I posted something that just related to everybody. It was not necessarily a cat type post it was just something funny and the post ended up trending and I was like okay this is what I’m going to do from now on.
So from then on I changed the content to that and I developed this persona for her online where she is like a diva and she likes to drink wine and she’s sassy and she says what everybody is thinking so that way she could appeal to different types of audience instead of just cat people. From there I would say it took about ten months to get to ten thousand followers and then after that it doubled to twenty thousand in just two months so that’s when I knew like okay this what I need to do with it from now on.
Shelby has approximately 25 times the Instagram followers that you do and more than 300 times my following. What are some things Shelby is doing that we can learn from? I brought a pad to take notes.
She’s real, she says what we all don’t want to say out loud, and she’s not afraid to say it. I don’t know. I think that’s what really appeals to most people just that sassy attitude and that’s pretty much it.
What are some of Shelby’s favorite brand partnerships to-date?
Actually we did do something with Tito’s Vodka a while back and that just went right hand in hand with her personality or, you know, the character I created. I got a lot of offers for cat products but I really wish that I could actually just team up with someone like an alcohol brand or really anything because putting her with cat toys and stuff it’s like she’s really above that because she doesn’t know she’s a cat.
I have to ask – what are some of the weirdest requests you have received from brands?
I’ll get a random invite for offers just pertaining to – it can be like an outdoor product, like a hose or something like that. It’s like I don’t know what to do with that so.
What are your plans moving forward as it pertains to the pet influencer niche?
So lately I haven’t posted too much I need to get more consistent with that again. Just busy with work and stuff has taken me away from posting as often as I used to, but I really just need to stay consistent with posting every day. Sometimes posting her with a particular random line or something maybe that could eventually lead to some kind of attention from that company for her. Also we just moved to Dallas from Louisiana last year and so I’m thinking maybe something in the Dallas area can come out of all of this. Maybe she can become like a famous Dallas pet or something.
Do you have any advice for prospective pet influencers?
Yeah so don’t just do more. Like if you have a pet don’t just be like here’s my cute dog, it’s sleeping or whatever. Come up with a personality, post every day, and then get hashtags that are relatable to the type of audience that you are trying to attract. And then once it does grow bigger that’s when hashtags really come into play and that’s when your post start appearing at like the top nine post instead of the order that they are posted.
I think a lot of people get in to it looking for overnight fame or hoping that they’ll post one really cute photo and it will become viral, but for most people that’s now how it works. So it’s really just consistency over a period of time and not giving up because what you have to do is just post really great content and at first it feels like you are talking to a wall. It feels like no one is watching but if you keep with it it will eventually pick up.
Do you have plans for any other pets to join Shelby or right now are you content with how it is?
I would love to get another cat but I don’t know. I’ll hold off for a little while but that would be ultimately – like I don’t know if you’ve seen but she has like a cat boyfriend named Seymour. He has fifty thousand followers and he lives in Houston and they actually met one time because the family travels to Dallas. And so I know that we want to collaborate with them more when they come back to Dallas and take more pictures because that was a big time hit.