Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet – and many of the most popular accounts belong to dogs! Here’s how to make your canine #instafamous.
If you’ve ever gotten sucked into row after row of beautiful images on Instagram, you understand the appeal. Scrolling this app has become a common pastime for billions of people around the globe — and many of these users are following at least one dog. In fact, the most followed Instagram dog, @jiffpom, boasts a whopping 9 million fans.
You might not be able to gain that many followers for your own dog – at least not anytime soon. But taking and posting pictures and videos of your furry friend is a fun pastime that can help you connect with other animal parents. And it’s a great way to document memories that’ll last a lifetime. Here’s how to start and grow an Instagram account for your animal companion.
Step 1: Download the app
If you haven’t already, visit an app store and download Instagram. It’s free!
Step 2: Come up with a “handle”
Your “handle” is the username that will represent you (or in this case, your dog) across Instagram. You’ll have to come up with a name that hasn’t already been taken by another user, so get creative!
Step 3: Create your profile
Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of your dog’s Instagram account! Now that you’ve joined over a billion other users, it’s time to create a profile that’ll help you stand out from the crowd. Hit the “edit profile” button, and input your animal’s name, your website (if applicable), and write a short bio to describe your beloved companion.
This is also a good time to add your profile photo. This tiny image is one of the first things other users will see, and will help them decide whether or not to follow you – so pick a good one! If you don’t have any photos yet, skip to the next step!
Step 4: Take some photos
This is the fun part! But taking a good picture of a dog isn’t as easy as it looks. Chances are, he’ll be squirmy and uncooperative. To snap a good shot, use his favourite treat to encourage him to “pose”. Make sure you’re either outdoors or in a well-lit room, and use the best camera you have at your disposal to make sure the final result is high in quality. Your phone should work just fine.
Step 5: Share your first post
Once you’ve managed to get a good shot, it’s time to post it. You can edit the photo in the app, and apply one of the available filters to make it “pop”. If you haven’t already uploaded your profile photo, you can use this one!
Next, write a caption for your photo. You’ve got space for 2,200 characters (approximately 300 words), so use it wisely! This is the time to determine any specific goals you have for your dog’s account. Do you want to use it as a way to educate others, raise awareness for a cause, or showcase your photography skills? Maybe you’re just hoping to make people laugh, or keep in touch with family and friends. Whatever you decide, use your first post to let others know why you’re there.
Adding hashtags to your post is a great way to be found by other users. To determine which hashtags to use, look at other accounts similar to yours. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a single post, but most experts recommend anywhere between five and 11. Try using hashtags that fit your niche, like #purebreddogswith and #instadogsfeature.
Step 5: Engage with other users
The key to growth on Instagram is engagement. Engagement refers to your interaction with other users — your likes, comments and shares — and their interaction with your account. Engagement also applies to the number of accounts you follow. Typically, the more accounts you follow that are similar to yours, the more followers you’ll get in return.
Step 6: Keep it up!
Consistency is another vital ingredient when it comes to gaining followers. Several studies on social media habits have revealed that to encourage “traffic” to your page, you should post a photo one to three times each day.
If popularity isn’t your goal, just continue posting pictures and/or videos of your companion whenever you find the time. This way, you’ll have a digital photo album to look back on in years to come!
Emily Watson is a staff writer for Animal Wellness Magazine and Canadian Dogs Annual. She is a certified yoga and medical Qi Gong instructor and has been writing — creatively and otherwise — for ten years. Off the mat and away from the keyboard, Emily can be found hiking, camping and travelling with her wife and fur babies.