Entrepreneur: Matt Hobbs
Biz: Puppy Songs
Channels: TikTok (428K) YouTube (1.13K) Instagram (25K) Spotify
Rev Streams: Patreon, TikTok, Instagram, Cameo, Merchandise
Our Favorite Actionable Advice
- Think people, not numbers: Matt responds to comments and direct messages to form genuine connections with his fans.
- Stick to your niche: Though he’s a talented musician, Matt says he only publishes songs about dogs on his platform.
- See TikTok for what it is: Puppy Songs has been a huge hit on TikTok, but Matt sees that audience there as fleeting. He spends most of his time interacting on Instagram.
Matt Hobbs wasn’t thrilled at his 9 to 5. Fading interest in the corporate grind often leads individuals to important, creative life changes, but without the pandemic, Matt may not have discovered how impactful his music career could be online.
He left his job in 2019 and then found all of his contract work on hold due to COVID-19. So, in his free time, he produced more of the silly songs he sings to his dogs and uploads to Instagram. What followed was a big response from audiences, leading some of his songs to become TikTok memes..@HeyMattHobbs sings original songs to his dogs. Now, @PuppySongs is a #contentbusiness with its own @TikTok #memes. #contententrepreneur Click To Tweet
Matt launched the Puppy Songs accounts on Instagram and TikTok in 2019. He says it was a miracle that the simple name was available on every platform and even as a domain name. Whether fate or good timing, Matt’s musical talent, combined with his love for his dogs Leni and Mar Pup, made him a top contender for seekers of animal content. His product is unique, well-crafted, and incredibly catchy. Not to mention, the name “Puppy Songs” is hard to forget.
Each piece of content brings a wholesome, animal-loving tune to the forefront. Matt writes and produces each piece of music. They center on his own pups or the dog of a Puppy Songs fan. He’s published 96 original melodies that reflect the unique nature of the dogs close to his heart.
While many new content creators gifted with overnight success on TikTok see it as a quick way to gain followers, Matt prefers Instagram. He wants to build authentic connections with his audience and says Instagram guarantees his content will be seen by those who really care about it.@PuppySongs found viral success on @TikTok, but creator @heyMattHobbs prefers @Instagram to build his audience. #contententrepreneur #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet
He uses Gary Vaynerchuck’s $1.80 Instagram strategy. He follows the most popular relevant hashtags, leaves one valuable comment, and starts conversations. “I started building our network of people who are into dog Instagram: middle class, working, dog Instagram. I wasn’t rubbing elbows with Doug the Pug.”
Matt takes building genuine connections seriously. “I think it’s the only way to do it. I don’t think you can hide behind what you create. You really do have to constantly be talking to people, learning from people, replying to comments. You build relationships,” he explains.
“There’s no way to say that that doesn’t sound cheesy,” Matt continues, “but you get these messages from people saying, ‘Me and my daughter who is 6 years old listen to your songs. She loves to sing Gimme Da Beef.’ That never gets old. If someone takes their time to send that to me, I’m going to reply with a picture of Leni because Leni is their favorite. Bonus content straight to them.”
The Puppy Songs Instagram account has over 25K followers (a smaller audience compared to its TikTok’s almost 430K.) But the number isn’t what matters to the success of the brand.
“Our audience is smaller there, but I recognize almost every handle I see who comments or interacts with us,” Matt explains. “I have friends. I message people. I respond to every message. The view count is lower. The whole machine is lower. But it’s all higher quality.”@PuppySongs audience is smaller on #Instagram than #TikTok, but @heyMattHobbs knows almost every handle who comments or interacts. #contentbusiness #contententrepreneur Click To Tweet
Matt’s TikTok followers may have been hooked by just one song and not follow the content religiously. In the Puppy Songs world, TikTok equals a larger audience but less dedicated fans.
“TikTok is bananas to me because it’s not really about building an audience. I think that’s where things are going. It’s about longevity and how far an individual piece of content can travel regardless of your audience,” Matt says.
Though TikTok is worth it sometimes despite its often randomly generated audience. The “comment games” of some viewers can result in witty and genuinely insightful conversations, Matt says. It is a great way to gain new viewers and build connections with followers. The TikTok account also inspires conversations among fellow musicians who truly appreciate Matt’s expertise in the music world.
Even with so many eyes, Hobbs doesn’t take giant risks with the content. “If you promise people something, you have to give them that and only that consistently,” he says. “I can speak now as being Puppy Songs who delivers songs about puppies. It’s a treat to get to do that.”
The Puppy Songs brand is dedicated to quality. Each song takes Matt somewhere around eight hours to produce. His unique formula differs from many because he delivers authenticity, both in personal interaction and the scope and depth of his content.
Regardless of Puppy Songs’ viral success, Matt has found monetizing his content and getting verified to be difficult. His current income streams include Patreon and Cameo, which allows Matt and his dogs to interact most closely with individual fans. His advice for new content entrepreneurs? Be patient for revenue streams to manifest.
About the author
Kelly Wynne is a journalist and creative writer living in Chicago with her pet dachshund. She's an advocate for women's rights, mental health, and chronic illness.