Cats & UnicornsWhy Fluffy Social Media Content Works and What Marketers Can Learn From It

Having trouble getting attention on social media? Why don’t you just add cats? What sounds like a flippant remark is actually a pretty solid assessment of how social media works.

Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Lolcats… Cat content makes people happy and makes them laugh. And positive emotions like that are partly responsible for making people share content they see on social media.

Cat content ranks high for shareability. But it’s not just cats! Other types of images work as well — and most of them can be classified as “cute”. Cats, fluffy animals, unicorns, etc. are also being employed by brands to get their content seen and shared and even their products sold.

Here are 3 cute content types that simply work and which you can try using in your own marketing!

1. Cat content works

Whether it’s Grumpy Cat or just anyone else’s house cat, cat images are being shared and reshared with vigour all over the internet.

Grumpy Cat, dashing through the no

Cats seem to work on everyone. I’m not even remotely a cat person and even I can’t resist retweeting a dorky looking cat.

While some say that dogs on the internet just don’t have the same pull as cats, I would argue that quite generally, anything that’s fluffy will work. There’s a reason after all why our post about #llamadrama is one of the most read articles on our blog.

Two llamas on the lam went viral on Twitter in 2015
Llamas! The internet can’t resist them either!

2. Unicorns, the rarest of breeds

Unicorns are perhaps the newest trend, turning the internet into a rainbow-coloured place of happiness. But unicorns don’t just help along with shareability. They can influence product strategy as well!

Tarte Cosmetics is selling a “magical” set of make-up brushes shaped like unicorn horns. And the Austrian tea producer Sonnentor has created “Unicorn Tea”, a limited edition blend marketed with the tagline “always be yourself, unless you can be a unicorn”.

Everyone knows unicorns are pretty rare, so a limited edition associated with the creates makes sense. Unfortunately, Ritter Sport took the rarity thing a bit too far. The first edition of the brand’s unicorn chocolate pretty much flew off the shelves, crashing the online shop. They released a second edition, but even so, someone was ready to plonk down £26k on Ebay for one bar of the chocolate!

And then there’s Squatty Potty and its ad from 2015: Proof that unicorns can even make the sales of pooping-related products palatable. 😉

Squatty Potty’s humorous and educational video went viral, boosted sales by 250 percent and ended up strongly influencing their brand. At the end of 2016, Squatty Potty released a second video about pooping and unicorns.

3. Memes are your friends

Memes can also help with the shareability of social media posts, even if their content isn’t always as fluffy as Grumpy Cat. Take the wonderful Obama/Biden memes that delighted the internet in the time around Trump’s move into the white house.

After Trump’s election a variety of Obama/Biden memes went viral on social media.

As a brand, you can, of course, use popular memes and infuse them with meaning tailored to your content. Be funny! The whole point of memes is that you can adapt them so well to your own content. Take the Success Kid, for example: The meme was used by Virgin Media in 2012 in a marketing campaign.

However, keep in mind that, much like the practice of trendjacking, memejacking can be risky and make you look like you’re trying too hard. So before you jump on the use of memes, make sure they’re not offensive and still current (or choose long-life memes).

“Cats are your competition”

Fluffy animals, mythical magical creatures and memes — they all have a common denominator. They work because they’re funny and/or cute, creating those Awwww moments that are so shareable.

Let’s be honest, companies and brands are always going to compete against fluff content on the internet, so they’d do well to simply embrace it. According to Oonagh Murphy, who researches how arts organisations can learn from the success of cat videos online, “cats are your competition.”

“When you realise you’re competing against cat videos and memes, it challenges you to create more interesting and engaging content,” she says.

Smart brands take cats and other viral imagery into account when they’re setting out their social media strategy. Social media managers stay up-to-date with what works by keeping an eye on what you see shared on social media.

Why visual works

It’s really all about visual content. It’s appealing, it catches the eye, it makes information more easily digestible — something that is especially important with limited post length on Twitter. Images are more memorable than plain old text, and a good way to add humour to your postings.

So go forth, and enjoy building cat content, unicorns and memes into your social media strategy!