Instagram Zoo: The Rise Of Pet Influencers
Original article by Stephan Rabimov (Forbes) | July 2018
Move over cats with your videos! The influencer race is taking over the pet kingdom. Accounts for animals now often outperform verified humans on Instagram. However, it takes more than a devoted owner with a smartphone to get Instafamous. The rise of furry superstars on social media began more than a decade ago.
Today, pet influencers merge the perfect formula of clickbait and memes and tie that with branding knowhow.
Tartar Sauce a.k.a. Grumpy Cat was one of the pioneers when she became an Internet sensation after the now-iconic photo was posted on Reddit in 2012. Today, she has over 2.5 million followers who love seeing her permanently “grumpy” face on Instagram. She also has book deals, #Grumpmoji and a thousand-plus different items of merchandise.
Doug the Pug is another pet who is leading the celeb-pet chart with more than 3.5 million followers. He is racking up hundreds of thousands of likes by posing in cute costumes, often next to pizzas. Doug makes bank with an estimated net worth of $500,000. He also appeared in Katy Perry’s Swish Swish and Fall Out Boy’s Irresistible music videos! If you are a pet owner who wants to get into the influencer game, here are six ways to make your pet Instagram-famous.
1. Have a unique voice and tell a story
What makes your pet “extra” unique? All pet parents know that each pet has different personality traits. Their characters will set the tone of voice for your Instagram account. Is your pet a troublemaker, they a fashionista, a natural performer, or a people person? Meet Dolly Pawton, the LGBT activist. When you see her account, you get her platform right away.
The fashionable Chihuahua, who has been seen in Vogue, continues to support her Mums and spread the freedom message through various campaigns. She had a partnership with Starbucks and J. Crew and even made an appearance at London Pride!
To get your message across, work with your pet personality and share genuine, authentic stories of your pet’s quirks and cute antics in your captions so that the world could fall in love with your pet just like you did.
2. Be consistent in every way
After you know your tone of voice, make sure all your content follows a theme. This way your followers know what to expect when they see your pet in their Instagram feed. Be consistent with the tone of your captions, the quality of your photos/videos, the filter that you use, and the color palette of your posts.
If you check Mr. Pokee’s account, the Hedgehog is often portrayed with beautiful flowers and nature in the background. His signature pose is lying on his back and posing as a pineapple. Consistency in posting frequency is also essential, especially with the new Instagram algorithm.
Posting once per day on Instagram and three times per day on Instastory like Mr. Pokee is a good amount that won’t overwhelm your followers.
3. Use third-party apps to make your posts stand out
Raise your Instagram game by taking advantage of nifty apps out there. The visual aspect is crucial on Instagram. Loki the Wolfdog is known for gorgeous images that capture his outdoor adventures. Imagine National Geographic meets GQ with wolf dogs as models.
Each post has high resolution, cohesive cool color palette, and story captions that inspire you to get outside with your pet. For your pet to get noticed, put a little extra effort into making high-quality content. Third-party apps offer multiple tools to create and edit your photos and videos to utmost eye-popping perfection.
Check out this post to get you started. You have no excuse left for posting boring posts!
4. Pick the right #hashtags
Using hashtags that are related to your pet and the content of your post is a great way to get organic likes and followers. When you are getting started, analyze your hashtag choices, based on popularity and relevance. For inspiration, look at similar accounts and see which hashtags they’re using.
Pick five to nine trending hashtags like #petsagram or #adoptdontshop. Weekly hashtags like #tongueouttuesday or #mondaze are a good call. Mixing up less popular hashtags makes it easier to for your pet get featured in the top posts section and make them more discoverable.
Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags on each post. However, tagging every single of your posts with too many hashtags can make you look desperate and dilute the message. Moderation!
5. Tag and DM to get featured
Being featured on bigger accounts is a way to gain followers. Many channels are curating posts from elsewhere on the ‘gram through specific hashtags for a chance to get featured. Try, #Pupflix or #TheDodo. Tagging brands or products that your pet use daily is another way.
The companies gain user-generated content and your pet might reach millions of their followers in return! It works! The famous designer Jeremy Scott himself reposted pictures and videos of my friend's dogs after she tagged him in her Instagram posts. Barkbox and Daily Harvest accounts did the same! Direct message the accounts for an even higher chance to be discovered.
Keep doing this step by step and soon enough your pet will be the next brand ambassador influencer.
6. Network and be social!
In the end, be social on social media to build a following. Engage to gain engagements. Interact with like-minded pet owners, follow similar accounts or others who follow you and like recent posts under popular hashtags. Set aside time to comment on others’ content and they will do the same for you.
I know this seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you are having fun doing it as quality time with your pet.
Now put these tips to use and make your pet #Instafamous!