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How Friskies outplays Wellness Natural Pet Food on social

Wellness Natural Pet Food and Friskies are each tapping pet enthusiasts on social media to promote new lines, with Friskies' corporate social responsibility angle gaining the upper paw.

Friskies is rolling out its Pull ?n Play toy line by donating one package of snack food to cats in shelters for every #MostPlayfulCat hashtag mention on Twitter or Instagram. Meanwhile, Wellness Natural Pet Food is celebrating its TruFood addition by asking consumers to upload their pet?s photo onto social media, which the brand will then turn into a watercolor illustration.

?Pet lovers use social media to the share pictures and updates about pets,? said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. ?The majority of that information, particularly the images, are posted and consumed through mobile devices.

?This makes mobile a pivotal focus for anyone trying to engage pet owners,? she said. ?Getting consumers to post branded content is valuable for any company.

?Not only does it generate added impressions, as the average user is connected to hundreds of people through social media, but it also is more likely to resonate with the consumer base. It means a lot more when social media users see a post about Friskies posted by a friend than when they see one coming from the brand itself.?

Corporate social responsibility
Friskies is engaging in corporate social responsibility by ramping up its donations to animals in need. The brand is collaborating with Petfinder to create an interactive play space where kittens and cats up for adoption can interact with potential owners and use the Pull ?n Play product.

Each time someone wins a game, Friskies has promised to donate one bag of cat food to an animal shelter. Additionally, the pet food marketer is turning to social media to catch the attention of on-the-go mobile users.

It will donate one Pull ?n Play package, up to a total of 2,500, to cats in shelters each time someone uses the #MostPlayfulCat hashtag on Twitter or Instagram through July 2. This is an optimal way of ensuring that consumer traffic on the hashtag stays high.

If the brand sees social media mentions exceed 2,500, it will give another 2,500 string pouches and 5,000 bags of Party Mix food to shelter cats.

This tactic will likely resonate positively with many pet enthusiasts, as it provides a great way to organically promote the brand while helping the hundreds of thousands of orphaned cats in shelters across the United States.

Friskies is also encouraging owners to share personal photos of their pets in an effort to find the Most Playful Cat in America. Users are asked to upload a post featuring their furry friends onto Instagram or Twitter with the #MostPlayfulCat hashtag through August 10.

The grand prize winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize and Wobbert toy, in addition to a year?s supply of Pull ?n Play strings. Fifty first place winners will not get the cash prize, but will receive the Wobbert toy and Pull ?n Play supply.

Wellness?s photography angle
Meanwhile, Wellness Natural Pet Food is employing a different social media strategy by asking their customers to upload their pet?s photo onto the TruFood Watercolor application, which will turn the images into watercolor illustrations.

Proud owners will no doubt appreciate the transformed photos and may be compelled to share them with family and friends on social media, leading to an organic mobile moment for the brand. Photos are encouraged to be shared via the #TruLoveIs hashtag.

Anyone who uploads a post will automatically be entered to win a year?s worth of Wellness?s new TruFood line.

More brands are asking consumers to upload specific imagery onto social media for a transformative experience, but also must be cognizant of the pitfalls that may occur if technology malfunctions.

In February, Coca-Cola was forced to suspend a campaign in which it responded to negative Tweets with the hashtag #MakeItHappy and turned posts into cheerful images after accidentally Tweeting out several sentences from Adolf Hitler?s Mein Kampf (see story).

?It?s not easy to get consumers to share branded content,? Ms. Lowy said. ?One of the easier ways to get people to do that is to tap into something which they are already prone to share.

?Most social media users who own cats love posting pictures of their pets; encouraging them to do so is therefore likely to go over well,? she said. ?There is a direct correlation between the visibility of the call to action and the level of participation in the campaign.

?The more people hear about the sweepstakes, the more submission Friskies will see. Brands should always engage their loyal enthusiasts first.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York