How to Have a Famous Pet on Instagram
Who could possibly deny that they at least follow one page on Instagram that shines the light on their pet? Be it dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, or even fish. The hashtag #petsofinstagram is chock full of adorable, fascinating, and quirky pets for us to smile at. But the trick to these pets gaining their fame isn’t down to them, but down to their owners. Getting a famous pet on Instagram is no easy task. But if you’re wanting a taste of that fame for your furry, feathery, or scaly friend, we’ve put together a few tips that may help you along the way.
1. Separate Yourself From Your Soon-to-be Famous Pet
This means exactly what it says on the tin. Create a separate account for yourself, and one for your pet. People don’t tend to click on an account to see the pets with their owners. They just want to see THEM in all their glory! By creating a fresh account for your pet, you can start to design that page to look exactly as you want it to, from scratch.
A pet-exclusive account doesn’t only prevent you from bombarding your friends and family with pictures of your pet (unless they want to follow your new account). It also protects your privacy. Having an online persona means knowing how to keep your private life private. So try not to disclose where you are, unless you want people to know. Consider the fact that you will potentially gain tens, if not hundreds of thousands of followers. They will all be strangers to you, so try to keep your distance for your own protection.
2. Plan Everything Ahead of Time
You will need to go into this with a clear idea of what you want your pet page to be. Think about your pet’s personality, and how you want to make it shine. Every creature has its traits and quirks that make them, them. Is your pet inquisitive, silly, cheeky, dramatic, elusive, grumpy? Once you’ve got that figured out you can look to build up their image around their personality.
Always have this in mind when putting an image together. If your pet is high-spirited, it may look off-brand to photograph them looking forlornly over the horizon, unless your caption works in its favour.
3. Network and Build Up Your Famous Pet Brand
The ideal number of posts you should be doing a day is three. More than that and you start to look like spam. Less than that and people may start to lose interest. If you want to keep yourself in the people’s minds, then you can always throw up some stories in between your posts to keep your profile popping up at the top of your followers’ feeds.
Networking is also important. Not only does following other channels bring followers to you. But getting to know some of the bigger famous pet account holders will give you the opportunity to potentially suggest a collaboration that could cause an influx in your follower count.
Other bigger channels can also give you some great inspo in terms of ideas for locations, social media presence, photoshoot design, or even possible brand opportunities. always be on the lookout for the next big idea, and try to follow some of the famous pet trends making the rounds so that you can throw your hat in the ring.
4. Keep your Famous Pet Account Down to Earth
It is a common mistake among new Instagram influencers to feel like they have to give their channel a sense of grandeur. But the mistake there is that if you start to make your posts look too lavish, they become less relatable. Though quality is extremely important, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have your dog dressed in a diamond collar lying on a mink rug. Whilst the occasional over-the-top staged photograph can be fun, it’s important to keep it real.
Your followers will likely be your average pet owner, and with the lockdown causing a huge influx in pet ownership, your potential follower base has massively expanded. Don’t be afraid to give them a real glimpse into the life of a pet owner. Post those photos of your dog chewing on your new shoes, your cat giving you daggers across the kitchen table, or your lizard sleeping on its back under the heat lamp. They don’t always have to be perfectly poised, and in fact, the more natural shots that truly show their personality often give people the smile they need.
5. Keep it Creative and Mix it Up
Try to ensure that you don’t post the same type of photograph several times in a row. It can feel repetitive for your followers and potentially cause them to unfollow you. Variety is important, and don’t be afraid to take inspiration from your timeline. You don’t have to copy an image exactly. But it might give you that spark of creativity that you need.
If your pet isn’t a bit mover, it can be hard to add variety into your feed. Try switching up your camera angle, changing the lighting, moving them to a new environment, or adding props. Props can also help to flag to potential sponsors that you are capable of good product placement. A witty caption wouldn’t go amiss either, to really magnify your pet’s personality.
6. Start as You Mean to Go On
High-quality images are the ones most likely to get followers. People are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. So if you can afford to, get yourself a good camera, and do some research on the finer points of photography. This would include looking into image composition, lighting, props, and positioning. You may even want to research some basic Photoshop or editing skills just to edit any finer details – such as editing out the sock you left on the sofa behind them or bringing up the brightness if the image has come out a bit too dark.
If you’re worried about that last part, don’t worry too much. Instagram does provide you with a decent range of filters that you can use to your advantage. Just until you’re more confident in editing them yourself.
7. Hold Out For The Paid Promotional Work
Possibly the most tempting pitfall for wannabe famous pet owners is being easily bought. If you are wanting to turn this into a viable source of income, you need to be willing to hold out for the big bucks. You will likely find that before you hit 20k you will start being offered free products in exchange for advertisement and product placement – don’t do it.
Accepting free stuff from smaller companies will threaten your success later down the line. This is because once you hit 20k followers you will start to have real, paid opportunities. But if those brands see that you have been advertising in exchange for a £15 collar, they will assume you are easily bought and try to low-ball their offers to save money. You need to stay strong and resist the urge for free goodies until larger opportunities present themselves. It’s a hard road to walk, but one that will end in true financial success.
8. Give It Everything You’ve Got
If this is a true career goal for you then you need to go into it with everything you have. The famous pet Instagram world is a competitive market. Therefore you need to be sure you’re willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal. Remember the phrase “it takes money to make money”, so investment will be an unavoidable fact. Look towards the essentials to start with, and then work on anything you feel will improve your page and keep the followers rolling in.
But it’s not just a financial commitment, it requires a lot of your time if you’re going to do it right. The most time-consuming part of fame is promoting and networking – ask any celebrity promoting a new movie. So you need to be willing to get out there, talk to people, and be available for a quick response. There are no shortcuts, just hard work, and determination.
9. Some Simple Training for your Famous Pet Goes a Long Way
Even if you just teach your pet do something simple like look straight into the camera, or sit nicely whilst you get the right shot. Some simple training can go a long way to helping you achieve that perfect picture. We’d even recommend figuring out a signature pose, something that is easily related to your pet. But try to make this pose something they can easily repeat if you’re going to be taking several photographs of them in that position.
Once again, just be mindful of repetition. You don’t want the novelty of any fun poses to wear off. But when you do use them, make a big song and dance about it. Try to make sure that it sticks in peoples’ heads. Then mix it in with your more natural, candid shots for authenticity.
10. Get Your Hashtags Right
Hashtags lay the foundation for Instagram fame. Building a new pet channel means finding the perfect hashtags to get you on the map. Now, these will vary from picture to picture. You may take a photograph outside of Buckingham Palace, in which case you will need to create a hashtag for that location. But #petsofinstagram is always a good shout and one that should be used on every post you put up.
The main thing to remember with hashtags is that Instagram limits you to 30 per post. But that doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Try to aim for around 15-20 hashtags to start with, and then as your fame grows and you develop your knowledge of Instagram you will be able to whittle it down to 5-10 choice hashtags that get the best response.
BONUS TIP: Work Hard, Play Hard
Always remember that this is not just hard work for you, but for your pet as well. If they’re spending all day being posed, moved, photographed, trained, and doing tricks for the enjoyment of your many followers, then they deserve a good rest. You should always award them for their hard work. Keep treats on hand to let them know they’re doing a good job. Ensure that you play with them, cuddle them, and let them rest completely between photoshoots.
Do whatever it takes to make sure they’re happy. This should not be done to detriment of your pet’s physical or emotional well-being. If they appear to be struggling with keeping up with your schedule, consider adjusting it to meet their needs. First and foremost they are your pet, and your best friend. Don’t let them forget how much you love them.