Tuna, Nala, Toast, Harlow and Sage - these just a few of the hilarious, adorable and heart melting famous dogs and cats of Instagram who have become household names in the past few years. But how do they do it? I mean sure, Tuna has that overbite, Toast has her floppy tongue, but Harlow, Sage and Indiana are just regular dogs! And Nala is just a normal kitty, which just goes to show that the claim to Instafame often lies first and foremost in the hands of the pet owners. So how can you make your pet Instafamous? Here are a few practical steps to get you started!
Know Your Pet's Best Qualities - and Highlight Them!
Some pets have one or two striking characteristics that are unique and draw attention. For example, Marnie is a senior shih tzu with a lolling tongue and an adorable floppy demeanor. Winston is a rare white corgi. Hamilton the Hipster Cat just happens to have the best hipster mustache ever. But if your dog or cat is just a regular healthy pup, then find other things to highlight, like their personality or quirky behaviors. Take Maddie the coonhound of This Wild Idea for example, she loves adventure and can lounge on just about anything. Or do something unique with your pet's portraits. Like Rincon, who models with human models in his portraits or Menswear Dog, who sports some pretty fly outfits. Whatever route you take, just make sure it comes naturally for you and your pet. People can always tell if images or moments are forced. Act natural and let your pet act natural too!
Take Good Quality Pictures
You can get some great cell phone shots these days, but you want to make sure most of your posts look at least fairly professional. Avoid posting any images that look blurry, out of focus, too dark, burned out or otherwise not-so-great. Look at very popular pet feeds on Instagram and you'll notice they all have one thing in common - good quality images. This might mean you need to invest in a decent camera or a phone with an incorporated camera of good quality.
This point also calls for patience. Pets move around a lot (well, most of them anyway), so capturing them at just the right time and getting everything in focus just like you want can take repeated attempts. You'll probably get a lot of shots you have to trash, but when you get that golden shot, it will have been worth it.
So remember, to get the best possible shots:
- Make sure to shoot when your pet is comfortable and at ease.
- Use good quality equipment.
- Read up on tips for pet photography.
- Have patience. It might take several attempts to get that post-worthy picture.
Consistency is key! Once you start posting, you can't stop. Inconsistent posting can make you lose quite a few of your hard earned followers. For Instagram, plan to post 1-2 times daily for optimal results. Any more could be overkill. Also, if you can't post that often, then just make it a goal to be consistent. Maybe you can only post twice a week. No big deal, just keep it consistent!
If you find this part of reaching Instafame particularly difficult, there are a few tech tools that can help. There are a variety of social media management tools that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time and then they post automatically for you! Armed with a tool like that, you can set aside a few hours a month for photoshoots and then schedule the resulting images across several weeks at a time.
Engage with Your Audience
Once you post an image or story, keep your audience engaged. That means taking an active interest in how people respond to your photos. When people comment, respond or like their comments! Have fun with it and impersonate your pet's voice as you respond if you like. Just keep people having a good time when they engage with your feed.
Broaden Your Reach
There are a few ways you can broaden your reach on Instagram. First, utilize hashtags. Use both common pet-specific hashtags as well as hashtags that pertain to your pet specifically (i.e. your pet's breed or something about his distinctive feature) to reach new followers that might be looking for feeds using the search feature or following specific hashtags.
Second, reach out to others. Follow similar feeds that you enjoy and engage with them and their audience. Make and respond to comments, not in a salesy, "check out my account" way but in a friendly, conversational way. This will draw you closer to the community you are trying to reach out to.
Third, seek out opportunities for collaboration. If you find an Instafamous pet lives in your area, suggest a meet-up and then take lots of pictures. Go to events where Instafamous pets will be and do some meeting and greeting. If you find a cause you are interested in supporting - get in touch with the organizers and see how you can help. All of these things will connect you to the community and broaden your audience.
Have Clear Goals
There are several reasons you might want Instafame for your pet. You may want to make some extra money via pet-related products (check out Tuna's shop here) or you might just want to have some fun and share your pet with the world. You may want to help your pet become a furry philanthropist who uses their fame to help pets in need. Whatever your idea, make sure your goals are clearly defined. How you go about managing your feed and what other accounts you connect with should depend on what your end-goal is.
Don't forget to have fun! If you and your pet are having a great time creating fun, adorable images to share with others on Instagram - then you are already a success!