If you’re familiar with social media superstar pets that have millions of followers on Instagram – Tuna, Doug the Pug or Jiffpom – you might be thinking that your dog deserves attention just as well as them. The good news is that you're probably right, but how to make your dog Instagram famous? Below are some steps for success.
Why Make Your Dog Famous on Instagram?
It's not just the prestige, fame and the celebrity status that may change your and your pet's life forever. It's also about the free products, invites to events, meetings with other celebrities and, of course, money. So many famous Instagram dogs enjoy all this and so much more.
For example, the emerging dog influencer community is having many pet supplies brands, movie studios and other companies reaching out to these online furry superstars with request for sponsored Instagram posts and advertisements. A famous dog on Instagram can earn anywhere between $1,000 to $16,000 per single post, say talent agencies.
An influencer strategist Brittany Hennessy says that dog influencers earn even more than people influencers. In an interview, she said that one of her clients paid $32,000 for only one tweet, one Instagram and two Facebook posts from a famous dog superstar. In her book on social media influencers, Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media, Brittany reveals even more details on how rich famous Instagram dogs can get.
Insiders and social media influencer experts project that this industry will grow to $10 billion by the end of 2020. These projections and the speed of growth for famous dogs on Instagram is bigger than any other TV, print or online advertisement industry to date.
Pet owners of famous dogs on Instagram can start earning as soon as their following reaches close to 50,000 followers, but the big bank is when you hit the 1 million followers milestone. And with such huge potentials on the horizon, it's no wonder many pet owners are now looking for ways how to make a dog Instagram famous.
How to Make Your Dog Instagram Famous
Step 1: Your Pet's Social Media Account(s)
The first step in making your dog famous on Instagram is obviously to set up the social media account that is specifically for your pet. Branding is crucial here, so don’t use your old accounts and do put enough thought for long-term possibilities for when your pet becomes famous.
Instagram is your main social media platform, but don't ignore other social media networks to supplement and increase your dog's exposure. Having your pet set up on multiple social media websites also stops others from capitalizing on your famous dog's success later on and increases your earnings potential.
There are various social network platforms that you can use to showcase your pet and each social network has its own benefit. The three most used social networks by pet stars are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all of which provide desktop access and mobile apps to make posting on the go fast and easy. But which one is best for what?
Instagram – This is your first go-to platform. It's easily the most popular network with highest earning opportunities and exposure for future famous dogs. Instagram is completely image based but users combine their images with captions and hashtags which allows them to present products in the best way possible. Hashtags on Instagram are as influential as they are on Twitter and serve to attract new followers. If your dog is photogenic and you're into taking his photos constantly, this is by far the best social platform for you to start with and focus on the most.
Twitter – Twitter is one of the easier social media platforms to utilize and one of the easiest platforms to gain followers through. Twitter relies greatly on text and visual stimuli and the use of targeted hashtags. However, there's less and less engagement going on on Twitter and more people are moving towards Instagram now, and use Twitter to promote their Instagram posts.
Facebook – Facebook is a harder social media platform to gain new followers on, especially now as Facebook has been changing a ton of their rules after recent privacy issue events. However, it's one of the better platforms if you want to have your content shared by your followers and it allows most versatility. Facebook users regularly share content they see on their Facebook news feed with friends who then share that same content with their friends. Facebook is very much a visual network and relies on picture content, comments and captions, and to a much lesser degree than Twitter, hashtags.
Step 2: Instagram Username Is Your Brand
The success and popularity of your dog on Instagram will largely depend on how good you are at branding. When setting up your pet’s Instagram and other social media accounts, put time and effort into coming up with a username that’s both memorable and brand-able. Your pup's username/brand needs to be short enough but also unique and interesting so it's easily recognizable. Extra points if it's funny.
Similar to choosing a company name, a dog's username will play a significant role in the future of their Instagram fame and how recognizable they become. When choosing your pet’s social media username, think about and get inspired by other famous dogs on Instagram and their usernames and brands. What is it about those names that make each pet memorable?
Tuna (of @tunameltsmyheart) is a particularly memorable name because it’s unique and silly, but it’s also short enough to be brandable and is easily remembered.
Grumpy Cat (of @realgrumpycat) is a longer username, but it’s memorable because it’s simple, funny, and accurately describes the characteristic that makes the pet and and the theme of most photos and posts stand out.
Earl the Grump (of @earlthegrump) is a slightly different approach to picking a username as it plays on the character of Grumpy Cat who preceded Earl. We don’t recommend using a name like this that seems to “rip off” another popular social media pet not only because it may lead to a legal battle, but also because it can start off your pet’s social media career in bad blood and will be harder to brand. Fans of the original namesake will automatically shun your pet simply because it seems as though they are “riding the coattails” of the original namesake, and it'll be less memorable because people already associate “grump(y)” with the original Grumpy Cat.
In addition to considering what makes your future famous Instagram dog official name memorable and brandable, you should also carefully consider the following criteria when choosing a good brand title for long-term success:
- Can the name be easily misspelled or is it something that everyone can spell easily?
- Is a dot-com domain name available for the name you choose? (It should be.)
- Is the name you choose easily misinterpreted? For example, see these domain names that became unintentionally inappropriate. If so, keep searching.
- Does your name have something to do with your dog or what makes them unique? Make sure that the username you select is relevant to your dog, your pup's unique characteristics or talents, or how it will reflect the theme of your photos/posts.
- Does the name you are considering infringe on any trademarks or copyrights?
- Is the name you choose spelled correctly and does it make sense? If you choose a name that is in a language you are not fluent in or are unsure of the meaning of a word you want to use, have someone else proof it for you.
Thinking ahead of time and planning the future of your dog's Instagram fame success will save a lot of hassle and regret once your following starts building up.
Step 3: Prepare Before You Start Sharing Instagram Posts
Speaking of preparation and planning, before you start posting photos of your dog on Instagram and other social media accounts, make sure that you are ready. Making a dog famous on Instagram and earning from this is essentially a new business venture for you, and like for any other business, you need a business plan for best results.
When growing a dog influencer brand, momentum is important and will do half of the job for you. So other than planning for a good username and brand, you need to know where you're going and how you're going to get there. Be sure you're prepared to keep posting on your dog's social media accounts without the momentum slowing down.
Consider these things:
Good photos. Take plenty of instagram-ready photographs and videos that showcase your pet and highlight what makes them unique. Note that you'll need to maintain consistency here and preferably start with good quality photos without any “half-effort” pictures.
Logo and tagline. If you intend on building a recognizable brand around your famous Instagram dog, come up with a fun, unique or funny memorable logo and tagline that will make your dog's Instagram profile immediately recognizable, potentially quotable and help you two stand out in the sea of pet influencers.
Legal stuff. Again, if you intend on building a brand for a long-term success, consider trademarking and copyrighting any necessary material, logos, taglines, usernames or whatever else you come up with.
Posting plan. What type of photos or information will you be promoting on your dog's Instagram account? Will it be your pet, or your pet's food pictures, or something else entirely? Do you have a posting schedule set out? (3 times a day is the sweet spot.) What do you intend to gain from posting a certain type of pictures? You cannot possibly know how to get to where you are going when you don’t know where you are going.
Design. Come up with or have a designer come up with a graphic design for your dog's Instagram and other social media profile pictures and header banner that stands out, are professional in design and are easily recognizable, associated with you and your pet's brand.
Website. If you intend on running a website for your famous dog as well as maintaining an active social media account presence, make sure that your website is well designed and fully functional before you begin advertising it through your social media accounts. The more platforms are out there for your dog, the better. And a website makes it easier for future brands to get in touch with you, read more about your dog and what business collaboration they can expect from you.
Some of the above things might be optional, but the more you can prepare and plan ahead, the higher are your chances of making your dog famous on Instagram quickly.
Step 4: Know What Makes Your Dog Stand Out
Once you start posting on your dog's Instagram account, focus on what makes your dog unique, memorable and helps them stand out.
Having a theme and keeping that theme going can be extremely helpful (for example: funny dog, scary dog, dog food reviewer, dog movie goer, angry dog, etc.) because it narrows down your audience and makes it more effective at the early stages.
In order for the dog to be recognized on Instagram and elsewhere, your pet should offer something fresh and something that “hooks” your followers and makes them want to follow you. This is essentially a business pitch for your future clients.
Some examples of this include:
- Grumpy Cat who is recognized for his constant grumpy expression which makes him unique in appearance and very relate-able and thus memorable.
- Tuna who is recognized for his adorable overbite, unique expression, and the reference to a speech impediment he would undoubtedly have if he were human.
Not sure what makes your dog stand out? Below are some things to consider.
- Does your pet have a unique physical characteristic?
- Does your pet have a strange talent?
- Does your pet behave uniquely?
- Does your pet excel in a particular field such as dock diving?
- Has your pet overcome extreme adversity?
Every pet is unique but it’s up to you to identify which unique characteristic makes them most appealing and most memorable to social media fans, and then bring those parts of your pup into attention through posts and photographs. This will be one of the most crucial steps in how to make your dog Instagram famous.
Step 5: Post to Instagram Regularly and on Schedule
Once you have worked through the four steps above and have a direction in mind for your dog's Instagram profile, it’s time to start posting. Before you do, figure out what your goal here is. In majority of cases, the goal is to gain subscribers/followers/fans.
Ask yourself, what makes people “follow” your pet's Instagram and other social media accounts rather than just glance through them and then leave, never to return? What's your hook here? You need to aim for regular posts that audience wouldn't want to miss.
When posting to your pet’s social media network (and website) it’s important to have a schedule; that way followers know when to expect new posts and this ensures that they will return often. And because you post regularly and they don't want to miss it, they are more likely to subscribe. If you don't post regularly, they're likely to assume that you may have abandoned the account or don't care as much.
When you do post dog photos on Instagram, be sure that what your post holds some significance or appeal, maintains the intended tone of your and/or your pet's personality.
Carefully proofread what you share to avoid embarrassing mistakes (unless that's your theme), revealing personal information, or misspeaking and offending your loyal followers. Your photographs and/or posts should offer something to people who expect them, whether it's a laugh, a story, a tear-jerker… anything.
Step 6: Follow Other (Famous) Dogs on Instagram
As you begin posting on your dog's Instagram, make an effort to follow others: celebrity and new(er) accounts both. Search for Instagrammers that have something in common with you and follow them whether they have 20 followers or 20,000 followers. In these early stages, your success on Instagram has everything to do with building relationships and reciprocity, so the sooner you start, the better.
As your dog's social network grows larger, you may become one of those “celebrity accounts”. If this does happen for you, be sure not to forget the “little guys” who helped you to flourish and pay it forward by supporting other “little guys” who aim to follow in your footsteps. This isn't only the right thing to do, but it will continue to benefit you, too.
Instagram stardom is full of ups and downs, and when you're up, you can help lift others, and then when you're down, others will help and lift you up. Building that network around yourself will only benefit everybody around.
It's best to seek out people in similar positions like yourself, who are just starting out with passion and planning to turn their dogs famous on Instagram. When you follow others, do not be a “silent follower” and don’t spam them with your content. Recognize them for their contributions, provide genuine comments on their posts, support their accounts by sharing them with your followers, and be a good social media citizen. The same will be returned to you.
Step 7: Use Instagram Hashtags and Use Them Properly
One of the most important parts of making a dog famous on Instagram is knowing how to use hashtags. Hashtags are keywords that social media users follow because of an interest in that topic. For example, #DogsOfInstagram recognizes dogs and their owners who are active on Instagram, so using this hashtag ensures that your Instagram post is seen by many users who follow this topic hashtag.
When you first start using hashtags it can be confusing to know what hashtags are active and which are not. The best way to determine this is to use the search function on Instagram (at the top) to search that hashtag and see how regularly that hashtag is used.
It's recommended to study other people's social media skills and how they use hashtags effectively rather than haphazardly. Similar to the above note on planning your Instagram posts, you need to implement a specific plan for hashtags that helps with getting your dog more exposure.
Finally, it's crucial that you don’t overuse hashtags. Stuffing a post with many of them isn't going to help and overusing hashtags is akin to spamming; it can cause your original message to be lost or be shown to people who have no interest in your posts.
What you want to do with hashtags is be as specific as possible. Limit your social media posts to two or five hashtags that are most relevant to your current Instagram post to avoid annoying your followers, and to ensure that only people whom you want to see your posts will see them, that way increasing the chance of gaining more followers.
Step 8: Marketing Agencies and Pet Influencer Networks
If after a short while of being active on Instagram, if you decide that you are ready to make your dog social media famous and dedicate more time to this as a proper business venture, consider looking into professional marketing agencies and influencer networks to further boost your efforts and increase the dog's exposure.
Similar to making your dog a model/actor, these agencies can boost your dog's level of fame and help get your pet out there, find more followers, business opportunities, introduce you to brands that may want to pay for your dog to advertise their products.
Some legitimate influencer marketing and creator agencies and apps are the below:
Marketing agencies like the above can be a good resource for taking your pet’s Instagram profile to the next level but it will cost you extra money. Different agencies use different techniques to achieve their goals, so you'll need to do your due diligence to choose the one that fits your current marketing plan.
In the example of #Paid or BabbleBox, they share tips and leads with followers that can help get your foot in the door in a variety of niches and product markets. These agencies have links to pet influencer networks and should you become a part of one of those networks, you will be presented with even more opportunities to speak out to a large audience for social issues, brands, products, and more.
Do you need to use marketing agencies and influencer networks? No, it's not essential at all. These services do not offer anything that you can't achieve yourself. So only use them if you'd prefer to save time and speed up the process, and if you have the extra cash to spend on marketing efforts. Otherwise, you can do it all by yourself to make your dog famous on Instagram, organically, with just a little more patience, time and dedication.
READ NEXT: 6 Dog Photography Tips – How to Take Great Photos of Your Dog
Disclosure: We may earn affiliate commissions at no cost to you from the links on this page. This did not affect our assessment of products. Read more here and find full disclosure here.