Welcome to the ultimate destination for dog enthusiasts and social media mavens alike. At Dogfluencers, we're passionate about showcasing the best and brightest in the world of four-legged fame.
Whether you're looking for adorable photos, heartwarming stories, or expert tips on how to turn your own pup into a social media star, we've got you covered.
Today we got the honor of interviewing Canan (Simba's Human). You can find a direct link to their Instagram here.
Here is their story:
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a dog influencer? What inspired you to start sharing your dog's adventures on social media?
Bilgin Keciciler:Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a dog influencer? What inspired you to start sharing your dog's adventures on social media?
Simba and I embarked on our journey as dog influencers when we welcomed him into our family in 2020 as a 45 day old little lion. Being an avid dog enthusiast and a devoted “crazy” dog mom who is a physician, I've always been passionate about researching and sharing valuable information with fellow dog lovers. From documenting Simba's dog-friendly adventures and compiling health related insights & snack recipes to sharing our adventure recommendations, I aimed to create a comprehensive page that caters to the diverse needs of our furry babies.
Simba faced health challenges during his initial weeks with us, and after his full recovery, I felt compelled to share not only our triumphs but also the valuable lessons learned. Thus, our social media journey began with the purpose of disseminating helpful information and fostering a sense of community while we were living in Istanbul, Turkey.
In a span of just over six months, we cultivated a vibrant social media family, connecting with individuals not only in Turkey but also in the United States. Amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, we relocated from Istanbul to San Francisco for work reasons when Simba was around six months old. Remarkably, our online community, comprised of friends we had never met in person, extended a warm welcome and played a crucial role in making our relocation smoother.
This experience ignited my desire to continue nurturing this social media family we had built and to savor every moment of this unique and fulfilling journey.
What do you think sets your dog apart from other dogs on social media? What makes them unique or particularly interesting to your followers?
Bilgin Keciciler:Our dog, Simba, stands out in the realm of dog accounts social media due to the unique blend of cultures that defines his and our identity. Originating from a multi-cultural background, with roots in both Turkey and the United States, Simba is not only bilingual but also genetically Turkish, being a delightful mix of Golden Retriever and Anatolian Shepherd (Kangal). This distinctive heritage allows us to offer a dual cultural perspective, showcasing the best of both worlds to our followers.
Our social media presence is characterized by a transparent representation of our daily lives in the U.S., capturing the essence of living abroad. Simba becomes the ambassador of our cross-cultural experiences, sharing dog-friendly adventures, international travels, diverse cuisines, and the ups and downs of our everyday lives. By providing this authentic glimpse into our bicultural journey through Simba, we aim to offer our followers a unique and enriching perspective that sets us apart in the vast landscape of dog-centric content on social media.
How do you come up with ideas for your dog's posts and content? Do you have a specific creative process?
Bilgin Keciciler: My approach to creating content for Simba’s posts is tailored to the specific theme or occasion. When curating content around our adventures or travels, I aim to strike a harmonious balance between recommendations, daily snippets, and cherished memories. Essentially, I view the page as Simba's personal diary.
For special holidays, I focus on awareness-raising posts, catering to our diverse audience encompassing both Turkish and US holidays.
Additionally, when planning collaboration or partnership posts, I take significant steps to ensure authenticity. It's crucial for me to partner with entities that align with our values, and I make it clear from the outset that I prefer showcasing our personal experiences in an unbiased manner on the content I will be preparing. I believe this approach sets us apart, emphasizing the genuine and personal nature of our content.
Throughout this creative process, I center my efforts around Simba's unique personality, ensuring that the content authentically represents him, rather than adhering to a predetermined template.
Have you ever faced any challenges or negativity on social media, and how have you dealt with it?
Bilgin Keciciler: Certainly, we have encountered challenges and negativity on social media, which is not uncommon for any public account. I recognize that everyone has an equal voice, with some expressing their thoughts more prominently. However, I make a conscious effort not to let negativity affect us.
From the outset, I understood that maintaining a cross-cultural social media account, even if it's centered around a dog, may not resonate with everyone. This awareness helps me navigate and cope with any negativity that arises. I choose not to engage in negative interactions and trust social media algorithms to mitigate such instances.
Ultimately, the goal of my account is to spread love and happiness through sharing Simba's joy with those who appreciate it :)
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own dog influencer account or share their dog on social media?
Bilgin Keciciler: Oh this is a tricky question :) Navigating the path of starting a dog influencer account or sharing your dog's life on social media requires careful consideration. I think, it's crucial to decide whether you aspire to become a dedicated dog influencer or simply wish to document and share your dog's daily life.
If the goal is to establish a dog influencer account, be prepared for a commitment akin to a second full-time job. Finding a distinctive perspective for your account is essential, and building a unique voice requires time and effort. This endeavor involves strategic planning to create content that resonates with your target audience.
On the other hand, if your intention is to share your dog's life more casually, resembling a diary, the process may be more straightforward. Embrace authenticity, be yourself, and revel in sharing the joyous and loving moments of your dog's life with others. This approach allows for a more relaxed and genuine connection with your audience.
Choose the path that aligns with your aspirations and enjoy the journey of connecting with fellow dog enthusiasts on social media.
How has your dog influenced your life outside of social media?
Bilgin Keciciler: Well Simba is more than just a dog; honestly, he is the center of my universe, my heart and soul. Our entire existence is intertwined with his presence. Through thick and thin, he stands by my side, offering a listening ear and a unique understanding of what’s going on that goes beyond words.
Before his arrival, I was not particularly an active person, I did enjoy traveling and seeing new places but not necessarily engaging in regular exercise kind of activities. However, his influence has transformed my lifestyle. Now, I find joy in hiking, and our adventures are centered around discovering new trails, woods and hiking spots not only within our country but across the globe. Mud and water sports have become integral aspects of our shared experiences :)
In essence, Simba has not only changed my life but has elevated it to an extraordinary level, introducing me to a lifestyle filled with excitement and newfound passions.
Can you tell us about a particularly memorable or funny moment you've had with your dog during one of your photo shoots or adventures?
Bilgin Keciciler: Certainly! I have very funny memorable moments with Simba, but one of the funniest occurred recently during a hiking adventure in Half Moon Bay after a rainy day. We found ourselves stuck in a semi-cliff-like area while trying to descend to the beach. The slope was too steep, forcing me to use my hands to slide down without sitting. With my partner in front of me, I jokingly suggested he take a selfie capturing me struggling in the background.
What I had forgotten was that we had trained Simba to respond to the command "selfie." Without hesitation, Simba, our 80-pound furry baby, rushed over and jumped on my back just as the photo was being taken. The unexpected extra weight caused us both to slide down the entire cliff, ending up covered in mud, grass, and sand by the time we reached the beach. It was undoubtedly the dirtiest but also the most amusing moment we've experienced together! :)
What is your favorite thing about being a dog influencer?
Bilgin Keciciler: I truly cherish the experience of being a dog influencer because it has gifted me with a second family, connecting me with wonderful individuals from across the globe with whom I engage almost daily. The ability to exert a positive influence on others and contribute to enhancing aspects of their lives is immensely gratifying. However, the ultimate joy stems from sharing the boundless happiness that Simba brings to my life and receiving heartwarming responses like, "This brightened my day during a tough time" or "We followed your advice and discovered a new hiking spot that we loved – thank you." Knowing that our journey has brought smiles and inspired new adventures in the lives of others fills me with immense happiness and fulfillment.
Lastly, what's next for you and your dog on social media? Any exciting plans or projects in the works?
Bilgin Keciciler: Absolutely, there's never a dull moment for us on social media! Our perpetual wanderlust keeps us on the move, especially during long weekends and holidays – we're always exploring new