It used to be that a picture was only worth a thousand words. Then Instagram launched.
Capitalizing on our society’s insatiable appetite for visual stimulation, the social networking platform has helped revolutionize mobile photo- and video-sharing since its founding five years ago. Nowadays anyone can operate both as a skilled photographer/videographer and consumer of multimedia content.
Instagram encourages users to take photos and videos on their mobile phones, then convert each image/video into a memory by enhancing it with a filter and sharing it with their “followers” online. Compelling its users to “imagine a world more connected through photos,” Instagram is simple, fun, free, and wildly-popular – having amassed hundreds of millions of users during its brief existence.
Naturally, many pet owners have gravitated to Instagram as the perfect platform for showcasing the day-to-day of their beloved pugs, boxers, and Maine coons (among other breeds). Intentional or otherwise, Instagram caters to dog and cat owners by leveling the playing field (until recently, all photos were confined to square-shaped), accommodating short attention spans (videos cannot exceed 15 seconds in length), and allowing users to capture and share the best of their pets’ spontaneity in near real-time.
The result? Instagram is now flooded with pet-focused accounts, some of which have accumulated upwards of one million followers.
But does Instagram fame await your dog or cat? You won’t know for sure unless you launch an account. Here’s our nine-step guide for creating a popular Instagram account for your pet:
Step 1: Secure a Creative Account Name
What’s in an Instagram name? Plenty. While you can certainly keep it simple and name your account after your pet’s name or breed, strive for creativity by incorporating alliteration (“BobTheBeagle”) or humor (“FloppyEarsDontCare”). You can circumvent the obstacle of already-taken names by adding a dash or underscore to your account name.
Step 2: Add an Interesting Account Bio
The blurb beneath your profile photo represents one of the first items visitors to your Instagram account will see. Construct a bio offering insight into your beloved pet (age, location, uniqueness, talents, etc.). Make your bio interesting, but be sure to keep it short and sweet.
Step 3: Interact with Like-Minded Users
Once you’re done following your family members and friends, it’s time to reach out to fellow pet account owners who share similarities with your new Instagram account. Whether it’s the same breed or a similar rescue background, locate and follow those accounts with whom you share likeness. If you’re lucky they might even follow you back! It’s also worthwhile to follow generalized pet accounts that have achieved widespread popularity, such as @CatsofInstagram. But don’t stop at following – be sure to like and comment on posts by these accounts with regularity.
Step 4: Develop a Posting Pattern That Works for You
While there’s no magic number for posting frequency, it’s important to develop consistency with your posting of photos and videos. Pet accounts on Instagram have achieved mass follower success with posting schedules ranging from hourly to weekly. But whatever frequency you select, take an approach to emphasize quality of posting over quantity.
Step 5: Take Advantage of Filters
In one of its more brilliant ideas, Instagram enables users to apply “filters” to enhance and spice up their images. It’s like having a built-in Photoshop-like product linked to your account. When posting photos of your dog or cat, experiment with these filter options to determine which can best enhance your images’ styles.
Step 6: Make Effective Use of Hashtags
Adding hashtags to keywords or phrases accompanying your Instagram postings represents a great way to locate new followers and share your pet images with more people. To maximize the utility of your hashtags, make sure they’re specific and relevant to your pet account’s content. If your posting pertains to Bruce the bulldog, then hastags like #BruceBullDog and #BullDogsofInstagram would be appropriate.
Step 7: Submit Your Best Photos for WeeklyFluff
Instagram promotes pet-inspired social media usage with “WeeklyFluff” – a popularity contest of sorts by which the platform highlights one pet each week, often catapulting that animal to minor social celebrity status. You can draw attention to your pet posts and unofficially enter the contest by hashtagging your photos with #WeeklyFluff.
Step 8: Don’t Forget to Post Videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video might be worth two thousand. The majority of Instagram posts involve still photos, but the number featuring video clips is constantly on the rise. Have your smartphone primed to capture video footage the next time your cat chases a laser pointer around the house, as your followers are bound to enjoy this type of multimedia content.
Step 9: Become a Visual Storyteller
Ultimately, your success at producing a popular Instagram account for your pet will hinge on your ability to weave a story with the collection of photos and videos you post regarding your dog or cat. When you can captivate your online audience by providing consistently interesting content, humanizing your pet, and tugging on heartstrings, then you’ll be on your way to amassing a sizable social media following on Instagram for your beloved pet.