Ever wonder why Kitty Cats are such a phenomenon on the internet? There you are, cruising the Facebook or Pinterest and a cute picture of a Kitty pops up and you can't help smiling…and you hate cats! One of the big mysteries of social media marketing is why pictures of cats work so well, let's try to break it down.
Disclaimer…while I am trying to be “scientific” about my research, most of these observations about Kitty Cats and social media marketing are anecdotal and should not be considered factual or used in any journals or reports!
The kitty cat phenomenon first came to light for me when the “LOL cats – laugh out loud cats” showed up on I Can Has Cheezburger. According to this article, the first I Can LOL cat appeared January 9, 2007. Back then there wasn't as much kitty competition BUT they did a great job of pairing funny cat pictures with funny sayings, spawning 6 years so far of funny cat pictures.
What they did right…so I think that the nerve they hit was based entirely on the fact that we all love small furry creatures who are beholden to us. In my home I have a dog (who has me wrapped around her finger) and a cat who rules the home. As my husband and I didn't have kids right away, our pets became our children and receptacle for all my baby talk, “whose a good dog, whose a good dog?”
This picture says it all, I KNOW not a cat but, what cold hearted bastard can look at this picture of a tiny creature with a cute saying and NOT have that “awwwww” reaction.
Kitty Cats and Social Media Marketing
Now, cats are cute and all, but how do they help with social media marketing? For this I have to turn to my partner in crime, the Media Monster Rebekah Welch!
I have grilled this woman relentlessly about why, as a marketing company, B2B business, heck even as a hair salon or lawyer, should ANYONE for business use kitty cats in their marketing. Sigh, it just doesn't seem to make sense that you would want to brand yourself with a little cat instead of posting something “serious” that relates to your business.
Okay here is the scoop…people like cats, dogs, funny monsters, babies, bunnies, monkeys and panda bears. We also like cars with faces, sweet flowers with faces, heck anything on the site Cuteoverload.com is a candidate to post on the “cute-o-meter”.
According to this article about Neoteny from Princeton, we are predisposed genetically to liking creatures with big eyes and “cute” features so we will put up with our babies who depend on being cute for us to care for them.
In some really creepy bits, it is also why old guys like young girls better, they still have the big eyes disproportionate to how how large their faces are (like in the anime pictures – this one is from fanpop.com).
So now we know WHY cute pictures work, now tell us the HOW!
Here is the whole scoop…you find a cute picture of a kitty or ducky or other thing that people will “like” and “share”. You make sure to attribute the picture ON the picture so you don't mess yourself up and then you post a link under the picture to whatever you are trying to drive traffic to.
This example shows that I am trying to remind people to like our facebook fan page which has NOTHING to do with a cute puppy picture BUT which will follow that picture around Facebook as it is shared and liked by other people.
Unfortunately social media is about more than business and marketing (I KNOW, that is just wrong but a fact). People go there to find cute stuff, get a smile or connect with their friends and acquaintances and the more things you can share which will spark a viral sharing frenzy the better.
That said, I would NEVER put this on my business pages, and feel a little funny about doing it on my profile…BUT should I get 5 or 10 more likes and increase my edge rank in Facebook, I will probably get over it!
What are you still doing here, head on over to the google and find some cute stuff to post RIGHT NOW!