Chillin’ with My Peeps: How Social Media Led to Backyard Chicken Success

This is the story of how social media saved my dream of having fresh eggs from the backyard of my new home.

A New Community

Long before “Covid” entered my vocabulary, I’d planned on getting backyard chickens in the spring of 2020. I turned to the internet for inspiration as I started planning my build from the ground up.

What I found was so much more – a global community of over 400k members devoted entirely to backyard chickens!

That community is (BYC). I was delighted to find such a wealth of information all in one place. This once unknown community quickly became one of my largest influences. I spent large amounts of my time looking through the seemingly endless discussion boards, articles, and galleries from around the world.

Inspiration From Others

The inspiration I yearned for finally came from the Wichita Cabin Coop. This design had everything I was looking for, and I wasn’t alone. This coop was so popular after being posted on the forum that the originators built a small business around it (selling plans and material lists) with its own Facebook page:

In addition to what is available on BYC, the Wichita Cabin Coop Facebook page provided even more variations of the original design as people put their own spin on it or adapted it to their own needs:

When the ground thawed this past spring, I started building my version of the Wichita:

An Unwelcome Surprise

As the build progressed I eagerly went to the farm supply store to place an order for my new friends. You can imagine my surprise at what came next: SOLD OUT!

I think we have all heard stories about the run on toilet paper at the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, but did you know there was also a run on backyard chickens?!

‘Chickens are the new toilet paper’: People flock to backyard chickens, gardens amidst pandemic

The Kingston Whig Standard

Coronavirus: Lockdown rush for hens prompts supply concern

BBC Wales News

Panic buying has consumed toilet paper, guns – now live chickens


I was told that at best I might be able to get some birds in the fall. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Now what?!

The Support to Succeed

To keep a long story short, I returned to social media.

I acquired eggs from a local farmer and borrowed an incubator from a friend-of-a-friend’s-neighbour. With my trusty BYC community for support, I embarked on hatching and raising my own chicks for the first time. It was a success!

Here are some pictures of our “little peeps” from their first week:

I now have a beautiful coop (not quite finished):

Healthy, happy birds:

And soon, I’ll have fresh eggs 🙂

Social media proved to be an invaluable resource over the past few months, but in ways I never would have imagined! By getting creative and learning from those around me, I was able to fulfill my dream of having backyard chickens.

Has social media helped you in unexpected ways?

*Note: All photos are my own unless otherwise indicated.

Promotional Posts:


Chillin’ with my peeps thanks to all the support I found @BYChickens. Here’s how they helped me succeed: #COMM0011 #BYC #chickens


Chillin’ with my peeps in their @WichitaCabinCoop! Want to know how social media helped me succeed in raising my backyard chickens? I’ll tell you all about it here: #COMM0011 #WichitaCoop #chickens

The Power of the Petfluencer

Photo By: Kamille Sampaio

Pets are taking over social media and earning big bucks for their petfluence over us. Read on to learn more!


The term “influencer” has become increasingly pervasive in recent years. Defined as someone with “specialized knowledge, authority or insight into a specific subject” (SproutSocial), an influencer builds a following through their expertise and experience (Sideqik).  This following gives them the ability to sway or impact the decision-making of others – in other words, to have influence over them.

This concept isn’t new. As SproutSocial explains, marketing and advertising have long worked with influential people to endorse or promote products and services. It wasn’t unusual to see your favourite athlete in a TV, radio or print ad.

Kermit the Frog and Stone Cold Steve Austin, 1999. Retrieved from: FastCompany

Marketing has evolved with the technology, and we now see influencers across social media platforms. Anyone can be an influencer from Hollywood stars to online gamers to the person next door – and I mean anyone.


Many pet owners consider their canine a member of the family, so naturally every member of the family needs their own social media account! Initially, pet accounts were typically set up for fun or as a simple means of separating people vs pet content (Likeable). Their presence online has gained “unforeseeable momentum” (Likeable), and a recent study by Mars Petcare US concluded that one in six pet owners has created a social media account just for their pet.  And we can’t seem to get enough.

Enter the “petfluencer.” 

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A post shared by j i f f p o m (@jiffpom) on

@jiffpom has over 10M followers

Some family pets have gained such online adoration that their followers go into the millions – turning them into influencers in their own right.

Is it really any real surprise? Pictures of adorable animals “are one of the few areas of the internet with universal appeal” (3GMedia) and “our animal companions have long played “a significant role in making our lives – and our worlds – better” (BetterCitiesforPets).

It’s that universal appeal and expansive reach that has had brands of all sorts take notice and want to partner up. It’s not just pet-related products either. Pet-career companies such as The Dog Agency have popped up to help manage the demand for “the most influential animals in the world,” who can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars through promotional deals (3GMedia).

The list of positives of working with petfluencers goes on. Not only do brands have the ability to reach the millions of followers, but pets are also cheaper and easier to work with than their human counterparts. A pet may certainly have it’s own personality, but they “tend to be more malleable to just about any situation” (Digiday). Pets also pose less of a risk. As the owner of @sometimescarl puts it “they have virtually nothing but adoring fans, are never going to show up in the tabloids, and will never badmouth your product.”

Here are just a few more of the internet’s most influential pets:

@Nala_cat is one of the internet’s most influential felines with 4.3 million followers
Crusoe the Dachund was the “spokeswiener” of Super Bowl 2016
Esther the Wonder Pig has 1.5m Facebook fans.

Influencers aren’t just people anymore. Even our pets can have a massive impact online and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Big brands are jumping on board with our adoration for animals and working with petfluencers.

Do you follow any famous pets?

Promotional Posts:


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Pets are taking over social media and earning big bucks for their petfluence over us. Read on to learn more! #COMM0011 #influencer #petfluence #pets


Cosner, L. (2019. Aug. 26). Inside the world of dog influencers. Likeable.

Ifeanyi, KC. (2018, Jun. 13). Got milk? How the iconic campaign came to be, 25 years ago. FastCompany.

Mars Petcare US. (2016. Apr. 27). New survey shows pets are social media’s top dogs (and cats). BetterCitiesforPets.

Montgomery, E. (2020. Jul. 8). How to turn your loveable pet into a social media star. 3GMedia.

Rothman, N. (n.d.). What is an influencer. Sideqik.

Sampaio, K. (2019. Dec. 25). Close-up photo of man and dog. [photograph]. Pexels.

SproutSocial. (n.d.). Influencer.

How Instagram Transformed the Tattoo Industry

From spiritual and status symbols, to criminal markings, to mainstream forms of art, tattoos have a long and evolving history. That evolution is perhaps no more obvious than when the Tattoo Industry paired up with Instagram.

The Evolution

For a long time, the tattoo industry relied heavily on word-of-mouth and local reputation to grow (InkedMag). An artist’s “big break” might come from being featured in a magazine, on a TV show, or landing a celebrity client (CNBC). Now, the whole way the industry communicates has changed, with artists gaining an international following by using a popular app. And business is booming:

“Every style of tattoo in the world is now at our fingertips. Since the introduction of Instagram, the number of tattooed Americans has nearly doubled.”

“Tattoo” Explained S:1 E:13 16:23
Photo By: Ana Paula Lima

According to Market Research, that translates to an increase of nearly 10% a year over the last decade, and the industry (which includes tattoo removal and piercings) is now worth an estimated 3 Billion USD.

The Benefits

As an industry, the whole bar has been raised.

For artists, Instagram has been instrumental in showcasing their work, building their reputations, and growing their businesses. Some artists noting:

70% or more of their clients are now a direct result of the app.


A powerful example offered by tattooist Jason Elliott in an interview with CNBC drives the point home. Elliott shared how this post, which got 65 shares when it was posted back in 2018, translated into 6000 new followers:

For potential clients, Instagram has been equally beneficial. The online portfolio broke down barriers and “made tattoos more accessible and less intimidating” (Nylon). Tattoos, artists, and people getting inked all became more visible and more relatable. With an endless array of ideas from around the globe, so you can quickly find what fits you.

Managing Expectations

Similar to the fitness and beauty industries, the push to continually be better and do better can be exhausting. In order to keep up with the competition, artists are expected to constantly innovate and redefine the tattoo (CNBC). Their work life becomes a reflection of their skills not only in tattooing, but in technology, photography, and clever caption writing.

Potential clients also have to be weary of what they see online. Like any other image, tattoos can be photo-shopped to enhance their colour and depth, something InkedMag points out was hardly an issue before Instagram, and warns that if a tattoo looks too good to be true, it probably is!

Just like “a tattoo is forever,” Instagram is here to stay. This social media app has permanently changed the face of the Tattoo Industry and there’s no looking back.

Tattoo Studio @bangbangnyc has over 2.4 million followers worldwide

Do you have tattoos? Has social media influenced your decision to get ink?

Promotional Posts:


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Just like “a tattoo is forever,” Instagram is here to stay. Find out how this social media app has permanently changed the face of the Tattoo Industry: #tattoo #instagram #COMM0011


Bidwell, Kevin. (2019, Apr. 12). Photo of Left Arm With Tattoo [photograph]. Pexels.

Bryant, Taylor. (2018, Aug. 24). How Instagram Has Changed Tattoo Culture. Nylon.

Kawasaki, Guy. (2018, May 9). Person Carrying a Kitten [photograph]. Pexels.

Lima, Ana Paula. (2015, Oct. 24). Person Using Android Smartphone [photograph]. Pexels.

LaRosa, John. (2018, Sept. 12). Tattoo Parlors & Tattoo Removal Is Now a Booming $3 Billion Industry. Market Research.

Piacquadio, Andrea. (2018, Aug. 16). Woman Sitting on Couch [photograph]. Pexels.

Preston, Devon. (2018, Oct. 30). How Instagram Changed Tattoo Culture. InkedMag.

Rodriguez, Salvador. (2020, Jan. 19). How Instagram Revolutionized the Tattoo Industry. CNBC.

“Tattoo.” Explained, season 1, episode 13. Vox Media. (2018, Aug. 1). Netflix.

3 Social Media Lessons From The Food Bank

With limited time, tight budgets and small teams, social media for nonprofits can be a tough gig in the seemingly pay-to-play realm of digital marketing. Here is what social media looks like for nonprofits and a local example that has taken it to the next level.

What does social media look like for nonprofits?

According to a survey by HubSpot, most nonprofits see the value in leveraging social media and try to use it beyond the solicitation of donations. It is an opportunity to share news, tell stories, and engage with supporters and like-minded people.

But nonprofits also struggle. The same survey highlights that social media is often a one-person show. This lack of time and resources can have a negative impact, coupled with the fact that the majority of nonprofits have no documented social media strategy or established goals.

What’s that classic saying, a goal without a plan is just a dream?

So what’s a nonprofit supposed to do?

You may be a nonprofit, but you’re still in the business of selling – selling your brand and selling your cause. So some key principles still apply:

  • Be clear in your vision, mission and goals (write them down!)
  • Understand who your audience is and what platforms they use
  • Provide good, relevant content, consistently

A nonprofit you should aim to emulate – The Ottawa Food Bank

Marc Pitman’s article 21 social media tips for nonprofits, touches on the fact that “nonprofits don’t always ‘get’ social media” and asked experts to weigh in on where nonprofits could do better.

The Ottawa Food Bank has 1000s of followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. You don’t have to use all of these platforms to glean three valuable lessons from a local nonprofit that gets it right.

One – Be more than a broadcaster. While it may be tempting to use social media as a way to repeatedly shout out your message to the world, don’t. Aim to be interactive, engaging and entertaining.

Here is a recent post on Twitter that is just that:

Two – Be a useful, trusted member of the community. While your goals might include using social media to get donations to support your cause, don’t let it be your only focus. Be a resource to your followers.

Here is a Facebook post aimed at educating on a related topic:

Three – Harness the power of others. Don’t underestimate the connections each volunteer, donor or followers can bring. You don’t need visits from the Prime Minister or celebrity endorsements (although they certainly don’t hurt!) to have an impact.

Here is a short Youtube video posted from Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to the Ottawa Food Bank farm:

And an example of how one supporter’s tweet…

…can lead to a BIG impact:

Having a successful social media presence isn’t to be taken lightly. It takes commitment and your “efforts can’t just be a side venture or a task randomly assigned to an intern” (Missionbox). This is especially true for nonprofits that really can’t afford to waste time and money.

By developing a solid, sustainable plan of making people happy with your content, providing useful information, and tapping into the passion of those around you, your nonprofit can get noticed!

Do you have other tips for nonprofits on social media? Tell me about them!

Promotional Posts:


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Is your local food bank better than you at social media? Check out the 3 things you can learn from a nonprofit that “gets” it: #nonprofit #charity #rockingsocialmedia #COMM0011

Image by Timur Saglambilek


Dopson, Elise. (2018, Sept. 6). Social Media for Nonprofits: How to Make an Impact with Little Budget. Sendible.

MissionBox Staff. (2020, Apr. 1). Why Social Media Matters to Nonprofits. MissionBox Global Network.

Pitman, Marc. (2014, Feb. 18). 21 social media tips for nonprofits.

Saglambilek, Timur. (2016, Mar. 1). Man Wearing Black Apron Near Two Silver Metal Cooking Pot [photograph]. Pexels.

Shattuck, Steven. (2017, Jul. 28). Where Nonprofits Spend Their Time With Social Media Marketing [New Data]. HubSpot.