Okay, this one is a fun one. I got an interesting email from a reader about the popularity of cats and dogs on Instagram and how to make your pet famous on Instagram and I thought I’d share my thoughts in a blog post. Here’s the email:
As a social media professional, what are your thoughts on the growing trend of pets becoming “famous” on Instagram? I see more and more Instagram accounts for dogs and cats and it seems like they gain a lot of followers, likes, and engagements on their photos. Other than just having fun and sharing photos of your pet, is there are business reason to create an Instagram profile for your pet that could attract a huge following? Do these accounts actually make money for their owners?
Just curious, thanks for any thoughts you might have.
It’s a great question and it does seem like the volume of pet-related Instagram accounts continues to grow.
Have you ever took one look at your dog, cat, bunny, or bird and thought, “How do I make my pet famous on Instagram?” Whether you own a hamster, chinchilla, or even a fox – there are several strategies you could implement to help them become Instagram’s next most popular pet.
And the short answer to David’s question is yes…Instagram accounts for cats, dogs, and other pets can make money. Just like human “influencers”, if you can attract a large enough following and there are brands that want to get their products in front of your following, there’s an opportunity.
Can your pet become Instafamous?
Did you ever catch one of those dog shows on television? You know… the ones that would have some of the most prestigious breeds known to man with owners would spend tons of hours and money to get their animals in tip top shape with looks that could turn heads for days.
That’s extremely close to today’s Instagram-famous pets. With a ton of pets having their own Instagram accounts, what are the best tips to gain exposure, followers, and engagement?
To be considered an Instafamous pet, your animal will need to have a few key things:
- A large following (typically enough to earn the title “pet influencer”).
- Really good engagement.
- Good-quality content.
- A reputable brand.
With these attributes under their belt, they’ll be one step closer to gaining some of the top spots on the famous pets of Instagram stats, all while bringing you some extra cash.
Speaking of which, when you have a pet that has become Insta-famous, you could be looking at a wealth of perks, such as: free products, sponsored posts, book deals, merchandise pitches, and more. In recent years, some of the most famous pets of Instagram have seen an upwards of $15,000 per post alongside landing sweet calendar and book deals!
Of course this raises the question – how can I make my pet famous on Instagram? And all I can say is, I’m so glad you asked! I’ve rounded up 5 of the best and most practical tips for getting your pet on the road to Instagram pet success.
Tips for Making your Dog, Cat, or Other Pet Famous on Instagram
While the most common pets fall between the dog and cat line, you may be shocked to know that there is a space for other types of pets. Yes, I’m talking as exotic as squirrels and foxes, but also monkeys, pigs, and even hedgehogs! Regardless of what kind of pet you have, use my strategies listed below and you’ll be well on your way to claiming a spot on the list of famous pets on Instagram.
Tip #1 – Be legit with your pet
In other words, be genuine in your relationship with your pet. There is a big (and noticeable) difference between someone who is staging their pet to be a certain way versus naturally vibing with him/her. Pushing your pet to take pictures or making him/her appear to be a certain way will show through more than you may realize.
When a person has a true connection with their pet, it shows up in how it looks, the way it takes pictures, and the overall vibe. Being legit also means taking great care of your pet.
Be mindful of their hygiene, the foods needed to maintain optimal health, what’s common to their breed as far as coat style (long versus short or shiny versus silky), and so on. Most pet owners who care about these things will have done the research to know what is needed so their pet has the best life.
Tip #2 – Understand your pet’s personality
The term “copycat” doesn’t stop with entrepreneurs, and the same can certainly be seen in animal land of Instagram. One of the worst things you could do is manipulate your pet to be a certain way or do certain things that are simply just not natural to them. A cat will be a cat, and a dog will be a dog. No need to try to get them to be anything else.
Beyond that, it will do your pet justice to understand their personality and find ways to naturally capture it. If your dog is lazy, capture that. If your cat thinks she’s the queen of the world, embrace that. When a pet’s true personality is highlighted, it becomes contagious and people will want to see more.
With these few housekeeping things in mind, let’s look at the social side of growing your pet’s name on the ‘Gram.
Tip #3 – Give your pet their own Instagram account
You may be tempted to start highlighting your pet on your own profile, and that’s fine until you realize that transferring the follows, pictures, and engagement aren’t so easy. If your goal is to make your pet famous then go ahead and create an account just for them. Give your pet a unique username and use the name space to give their actual name. Use the description section wisely as these are some of the most looked at areas when visiting people’s (or animal’s) pages.
Give your pet another one up by choosing a picture that truly catches their personality and persona. And make sure to take advantage of the business/creator profile. This will help you track statistics, which will be needed when going to pitch sponsors or vice versa.
Tip #4 – Give your pet a theme (or brand) that will stand out
This is where your pet’s personality will come back into focus. Be intentional from the beginning with using your pet’s natural personality as a way to pinpoint a theme or brand.
Does your pet like to play dress up? Snapping shots of them in different pieces of clothing can be the theme that would eventually build their brand (check out, @cat_cosplay). If your cat likes to monkey around, make this their theme.
Another angle to consider when it comes to choosing a theme is deciding the style of pictures that will be most commonly captured. Will you choose solid backgrounds, or natural landscape? Do you want more of a lifestyle feel or a photo shoot look?
Of course this could change over time; however, nailing something down from the beginning and sticking with it will work in your favor.
Tip #5 – Content, content, content
Of course you need content, but not just any content. It’s a great idea to have a content strategy plan as early as possible so you can show up confidently and consistently on behalf of your pet.
Figure out how your content will be unique and set your pet apart from all the rest. As you brainstorm content ideas, keep the following in mind:
- Your target audience
- Hashtag ideas
- Format ideas for feed, stories, reels, etc
- Caption ideas (sometimes less is more)
Keep in mind that the moment you go for making your pet famous, you will become their PR person, ghostwriter, manager, planner, organizer, and the like.
You’ll be responsible for helping them show up and show out. Use these strategies to help your pet claim their rightful spot at the top of famous pets of Instagram charts!
Tip #6 – Don’t force it
This one probably should go unsaid, but I’m going to say it anyway. If your pet doesn’t like having their photo or video taken, don’t force it. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your pets wellness or even their safety for an Instagram profile.
Don’t make your pet do things that make them uncomfortable.
Tip #7 – It’s not just about Instagram
If your goal is to gain a large audience so that brands want to engage with you, then you need to think beyond Instagram. You might consider setting up a Facebook page, Twitter account, or TikTok channel for your pet. If you’re feeling like long-form videos might be valuable to show off your pet’s personality, then consider a YouTube channel.
The more content you create, the broader reach you will have and the bigger the audience you can attract. Large, engaged audiences are what brands are looking for.
Tip #8 – Be part of the story
The magic of pets is often their engagement with their owners. Include yourself in the story as your pet’s “pet parent”. Be engaged and involved. Show your audience what it’s like when you interact together.
The more you showcase the relationship between you and your pet, the more well-rounded the content can be.
Tip #9 – Understand the value of engagement and hashtags
Creating an account and photos photos or video clips of your pet isn’t enough. You need to fully understand how Instagram works and the value of hashtags in extending your reach.
If you feel like you need to learn a little more about how hashtags work and how they can help get your pet photos in front of larger audiences, check out this guide to Instagram hashtags. It’ll help you understand the “do’s and don’ts” of hashtagging.
Tip #10 – Engage with pet-related brands
Once you have an established account/channel and your audience is growing, then next step is to engage with brands in your niche. Find brands that product products that your pet would use and show them in action.
Provide your users with a review of the product and be sure to tag the brand in your photos or videos.
The goal is to engage the brand so they re-share your content to their larger audience, which can help grow your Instagram following. Additionally, many brands seek out brand ambassadors, which can turn into revenue-generating opportunities for you and your pet.
There you have it! A few tips and tricks that can help you create a pet-focused account on Instagram and work toward making your pet Instafamous.
Do you have a pet featured on Instagram? Drop their handle in the comments below so we can check them out!