Going viral on TikTok with Houndsy
The final Houndsy kibble feeder.
Recently, we caught up with Houndsy co-founder, Pavan Bapu, about how they’re using TikTok and social media to grow their audience.
When Luke Wilson shared his rudimentary prototype of a kibble dog feeder on TikTok, he wasn’t expecting it to go viral. But 15 million views later, he realized he may be on to something.
Following the wild success, Luke reached out to Pavan Bapu to help bring his vision from a rough idea to a reality. With Luke’s background in engineering and industrial design and Pavan’s background in sales and marketing, the two complemented each other well.
Once Luke and Pavan started working together, they came up with a design more similar to the Houndsy we know today — a kibble feeder with a mid-century modern aesthetic. A video of this new iteration went on to get over 100 million views.
During this period of design and testing, Luke and Pavan continued to post videos of their product on TikTok. Pavan shares, “In some ways, it was like TikTok was a glorified focus group for free, and we’re very grateful to the community for helping shape and refine the product.”
They used the feedback from these videos to drive some of their innovation. For example, commenters brought up how a dog may learn how to move the lever to get more food. This led to the addition of a locking mechanism that requires the user to lift the lever before pushing or pulling.
Reply to @i_know_how_to_english We’ve created an auto-locking system that should help mitigate clever dogs and toddlers from unintentional servings.
By the time Houndsy was ready to launch their Kickstarter, they had an email list of over 70,000 interested people. This engaged audience caused their $100,000 Kickstarter goal to be greatly surpassed within 30 days.
Since that first TikTok, Luke and Pavan have continued to use social media to help grow awareness for Houndsy. Beyond TikTok, they’re currently expanding into YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. To this day, they’ve spent minimal money on paid marketing, leaving it almost entirely to organic social media.
For those looking to market their own product, Pavan shares, “I advocate for an organic first approach. Try to create organic content. Put it out on social channels — try all of them.” Paid may seem easier, but it’s not always better. Sometimes, a little elbow grease and a phone camera can bring more success than you can buy.
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