Ellen Bieber started the popular Nala Meets World TikTok account after joining TikTok in early 2020.
She shares, “I was seeing a ton of people post these videos with millions of views, so I made a couple of videos here and there of the two cats. I had just moved in with my boyfriend, who brought two cats into our relationship, and I had two dogs.”
Initially, her content wasn’t getting a lot of attention. However, in April, she found Nala, a feral cat, outside a restaurant and immediately fell in love with her. Ellen and her boyfriend decided to take Nala in and domesticate her.
Ellen’s social media account flourished after her first million-viewed video featuring Nala and her other ginger cat, Diggle, meeting and starting their sweet relationship.
The State Of The Pet Influencer Industry With Pet Influencer Nala Meets World: Ellen Bieber
Brainstorming Content Ideas
Ellen allows her cats to dictate the content based on their moods and funny moments with the other cats and, occasionally, her dogs.
Ellen now works from home full-time, creating content, providing her with plenty of time with her pets to capture cute or hilarious moments.
She shares, “What I find really resonates the most is storytelling. For instance, just yesterday, I posted a video because I had been away from home overnight. I had to leave unexpectedly, and when I came home, Nala was terrified and would not come out from under the bed… I’m telling the story of how we overcame that. That video did really well, and it seems like that’s the kind of content my audience wants.”
This post featuring Nala overcoming her fear received over one million views on Instagram and 3.3 million views on TikTok.
Ellen adds that the storytelling format her audience loves makes preplanning content challenging because you never know when a good story could emerge.
Striking a Balance with Her Cats
As anybody creating pet content knows, it can be difficult to balance showing off your pet’s dazzling personality and keeping them comfortable during your photo shoot.
This balance is critical when taking into account popular trends. For example, Ellen shares that she has recently seen videos of pet parents intentionally leaving items on the floor to scare their cats. She doesn’t condone this trend and would never do it to her own pets.
She explains, “I meet them where they’re at and take things at their pace, which isn’t always easy to do, especially when we’re filming a sponsored post or something, and they’re just not feeling it that day.”
When this happens, Ellen will step back for a few hours and try again later or the following day when her cats are more excited to perform.
Pleasing the Algorithm
The algorithm is largely unpredictable, and Ellen shares that most of the advice about pleasing the algorithm hasn’t worked for her.
She notes, “I feel like everything I post is just a chance of will it go viral or will it not? I’ve been doing this for almost two years, and I don’t know what the secret is. I’m just throwing this out there and seeing if it sticks.”
One thing that has worked for her is going live with her audience. Ellen loves answering questions and interacting with her audience in real time, strengthening her community bond.
Her lives are typically in Q&A format, featuring Ellen’s cats interacting, playing, and eating plenty of treats.
She adds, “Consistency is super important, which can be very hard to do and very discouraging when you go through spells of not being super successful as far as virality goes, so just keeping consistent and trusting that even if things are not looking awesome at the moment, any video that you post could be the one that changes things for you.”
The biggest challenge for Ellen has been staying consistent and not comparing herself to other creators, especially when she’s not gaining as much traction as she’d like to see. She adds that reminding herself everything is relative and working on her mindset have been very helpful.
Partnering with Brands
The Nala Meets World brand has partnered with other companies before, but Ellen is very selective about who she works with.
She shares, “It has to be a brand that I use or would use and something that really resonates with our audience, and something that pays well. We get a lot of brands that reach out to us, and they’re like – we’ll send you a bad of cat litter for you to make two videos for us.”
Her favorite brand partnership has been with Basepaws, a company providing cat DNA and oral health tests. The Basepaws collaboration was one of Ellen’s first partnerships, and she created eight videos for them.
“I really loved that the brand [Basepaws] gave me full creative control. They gave me ideas… but they were extremely laid back and responsive as far as what kind of content I was putting into the videos and I feel like that flexibility really gave me the creativity that I needed to create engaging content.”
Since then, Ellen has worked with other brands that didn’t give her as much creative control or shot down many of her ideas. This experience was discouraging, often leading to content she felt her audience wouldn’t engage with as much.
As a result of these experiences, Ellen strongly recommends that brands looking to work with influencers give the creator more control to make engaging content.
Remember, the influencer knows what will and won’t resonate with their audience best.
The Rise of Pet Influencers
The pandemic fostered explosive growth in the pet influencer industry as many people turned to comforting topics, like pets, during this challenging time. The rise of short-form content platforms, like Tiktok, has also helped this growth.
Ellen adds, “Instagram has a long history with pet influencers, but most of those were photo-based rather than video-based. I think short-form content is really the perfect sweet spot for animal content because you can capture these really hilarious or cute moments with animals that just give everyone watching a serotonin boost.”
However, the rise of pet influencing has its challenges.
Ellen shares that she has experienced people thinking she doesn’t have a “real job.” However, influencing involves a lot of work, from filming, planning sponsored content, uploading, setup, keeping up with admin work, and much more.
Ellen shares, “I feel like people are moving from, at least from what I’ve seen with my peers, from typical cable TV to more user-generated content… I feel like brands should be moving their advertising budgets to creators doing this content, so I feel like the industry can only grow from here.”
As for her brand, Ellen plans to continue growing the Nala Meets World platforms. She also has dreams of writing a children’s book and launching cat products in the future, though she feels this is far off.