When I first started Cali’s Instagram page back in 2017, I never thought that I could make my dog Instagram famous.
At the time I had seperate accounts for both myself and Cali, but as time went on, I found it much more fun to run her account than my own.
When it comes to Instagram for people, I just feel like there is so much competition and extra work that comes with being an Instagram influencer.
As a woman, that means investing in clothing, makeup, hair, photographers, etc. My personal Instagram was also starting to take a toll on my mental health.
I would feel guilty if I didn’t get a certain number of likes or if I couldn’t come up with anything interesting to post about.
Most female Instagram influencers seem to have this super active, all healthy, always out on the town, perfection kind of vibe. I just felt like I didn’t want to become a fake version of myself like I’ve seen so many women do.
So in 2018, I deleted my personal Instagram and started focusing on Cali’s instead.
Fast forward to 2020 and we’ve gained a puppy in the family: Archie. Instead of making him his own Insta I decided to add him into Cali’s account and officially changed the name to @your_two_favorite_pits.
Their account shows the everyday life of two dogs living the suburban lifestyle. By looking at their photos you will see lazy days on the couch, rough play in the backyard, and camping trips on the weekends, all from a dog’s point of view.
And just like the human world of Instagram, there is a whole other side of just dog accounts to like their profile!
Though Cali and Archie are two of the cutest dogs on the planet, it still took some time and effort to grow their 8K following.
Today I will be sharing with you 11 tricks I used to make my dogs Instagram famous, as well as how to attract an engaged audience, which is critical for working with sponsors and professional brands.
Set Aside The Time
Like any goal in life, if you want to massively grow your Instagram following, you’re going to have to set aside the time to make the systems and put them into play.
Growing an Instagram account is like growing a small business. The more you put into your account, the more organic followers you will receive.
The goal is to grow a super engaged fanbase that is hungry for your content, as this is what companies look for in influencers to work with!
Make a Business Account
If you’re planning on making your dog Instagram famous, you’re going to need to see the data behind your account to figure out a direction to take. By changing your Instagram account from a personal one to a business account.
Once you do this, you’ll be able to see the demographics of your audience such as gender and age. This will help you with marketing and the style of posts you make in the future by tailoring to that audience, resulting in increased engagement.
Stick to a Theme
If you look through any popular account on Instagram, you’ll notice that each account seems to have it’s own theme.
For example, Cali and Archie’s Instagram’s theme is “a day in the life of a dog” which shows them playing in the backyard, going for hikes on the weekends, and snuggling on the couch with each other at night.
Color and filters are the other important factors in your theme. Cali and Archie’s Instagram photos usually feature natural earthy tones like green, tan, and brown.
As for the filter, we use VSCO’s app because of their photo editing and their top notch filters. We usually use the M5 or E4 filter depending on if the shot is inside or outside. Choose a filter that fits the mood of your dog.
By keeping a consistent theme, your profile looks more professional to brands and your followers.
Use Your Caption Space
Even though Instagram is a photography based platform, your caption still matters a lot when it comes to making your dog Instagram famous.
In fact, more and more influencers are starting to use their Instagram account as a “mini blog” where they share advice and personal stories. Sometimes their captions are paragraphs long!
It turns out that your followers really love when you open up to them and they can get an inside peek of your life.
For your pet’s account, this means you can share stories about puppy training, medical conditions, adoption stories, product reviews, and more!
Just make sure that all of your captions have the same voice to stay consistent with your theme.
Hashtags are a critical part of growing your instagram.
First off, try to use mid range hashtags. Mid range hashtags are hashtags that are popular on Instagram, but not the most popular.
The reason for this being that there are too many posts under the larger hashtags. And your posts are likely to be crowded out by other posts using the same hashtag.
By using a semi-popular hashtag with under 1 million posts, you are more likely to get your post noticed.
Secondly, as part of your engagement building you’ll want to engage with the posts that have the same hashtags as you. This way you are more likely to gain followers with the same interests and intentions as you.
Even though Instagram started out as a photography platform, video content is becoming a great way to get noticed on the platform.
With other visual apps like Tik Tok emerging, people are getting used to moving visual content, and are more likely to engage because of it.
If you want to just have photography on your profile, try adding videos to your Instagram story. This will also increase your engagement.
Work With Your Dog’s Personality
If you’re having trouble coming up with content for your dog’s Instagram page, think about their personality.
What do they love and what can’t they stand? Is your dog an energetic puppy learning everything for the first time? Or are they a middle aged dog that’s lazy and has lots of sass?
If you have multiple dogs to work with, even better! More personalities to work with!
Archie definitely has the energetic puppy vibe. While Cali is a little older and is more of a loner, choosing to play by herself than interact with dogs at the park.
By using your dog’s personality, you create a sense of consistency, making you more memorable to your followers.
Learn the Rules of Photography
Since you will be using Instagram, a photography based platform, you’ll want to take the best shots possible.
Do you know the difference between a good photographer and a bad one? Good photographers know the 10 rules of photography. These rules are critical in making great content and will boost your chances of making your dog Instagram famous. These rules are:
- Shoot Both Vertical and Horizontal
- Use Leading Lines
- Don’t Get Stuck Using Vertical and Horizontal Lines
- Keep It Simple
- Fill the Frame
- Think About the Background
- Offset the Subject
- Give the Subject Space to Move
- Watch Your Colors
- Don’t be Afraid to Break a Rule
Instagram, like most other websites, rewards you for posting consistently.
Most famous dog accounts post 1-2 times per day. I would say at a minimum you should post at least once every other day in order to stay relevant on feeds.
However, keep in mind that it is possible to post too much as well. If you’re not a huge brand, (think PETCO or KONG) posting more than twice a day is a little excessive.
Lastly, try not to post too many similar photos after one another. Your followers want variety, so give the people what they want!
If you feel like you don’t have the time to post every day, you can use an Instagram post scheduler like Hootsuite or Tailwind. I used Hootsuite for years but recently just switched over to Tailwind, since I use it for Pinterest anyway.
Be Social & Engage
This one should be obvious. But when people are so focused on making their dog Instagram famous, they forget what the purpose of Instagram’s platform is. Social media!
Companies look for influencers that have a good engagement rate. Since Instagram has a higher engagement rate than Facebook and Twitter, you should be aiming for a 3-6% engagement rate.
That means if you have 5,000 followers, you should be getting at least 150-300 likes per post if you have this kind of engagement.
Schedule out 15 min blocks of time throughout the day to specifically engage on Instagram.
This means liking others posts, responding to comments on your posts, and commenting genuine comments on other posts that you see.
I first underestimated the power of giveaways when my goal was to grow my followers. But it can really pay off.
I got two benefits from doing this. The first was that many of my followers ended up buying my product on Etsy. Which was a great financial win!
The second was that I gained literally thousands of followers in only a few days. The reason that this works is because you make the rules of the giveaway as follows:
- They must follow your account
- They must tag a friend
- Each comment they make with a friend tagged is an extra entry into the contest
By doing this, more people will be tagged and as they get notified about your post. They will also follow your account and tag more friends to enter the contest.
Take Care of Your Pet!
Last but most importantly, it is critical that while you are doing all of these things, you are still putting your dog first. They are the star after all!
I’m disappointed when I see dogs with nails that are too long or dogs that need grooming.
Sponsors and Followers are looking for people who are passionate about their dog, including keeping them healthy and properly groomed.
With a little time, effort, and planning on your part, you’ll be on your way to making your dog Instagram famous!
What Instagram tricks do you use to increase followers and engage your audience? Let me know in the comments!
In addition, don’t forget to follow Cali and Archie on their Instagram @your_two_favorite_pits!