When it comes to achieving Internet fame, dogs are totally crushing it on Instagram these days. From pup-culture icons like Doug the Pug to famous floofers like Jiffpom, pups are being propelled into social media stardom at an unprecedented rate. Yep, it’s not hard to see that “fame” is now a four-legged word.
However, the fact that pooches are outperforming many people on the ‘gram shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Because let’s be real, nothing makes you smile quite like an Instagram feed full of adorable puppies. As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them you might as well join them.” So, there’s no better time to hop on the furry fame train and transform your own pooch into the next social media sensation.
If you’re wondering what it takes to unleash the star-potential of your pup and turn them into an Instagram influencer, you came to the right place. We put together a list of tips and tricks on how to make your dog Instagram famous. Just don’t forget to send us a pawtograph when Fido becomes an Instagram A-lister.
Celebrate the Things That Make Your Dog Special
If you want someone to hit that follow button, your pup is going to have to stand out from the pack. Figure out the characteristics that make your pooch unique and grab people’s attention. Maybe your dog has a striking appearance, a knack for showing off impressive tricks, or a quirky personality that makes you laugh. Whatever it may be, embrace the things you love most about your four-legged friend and share them with the Instagram community.
Create High-Quality Content
Posting beautiful, high-quality images is a must when it comes to competing with the big dogs on social media. While most smartphone cameras have come quite a long way, DSLR and mirrorless cameras still reign supreme when it comes snapping those top-notch images for your feed. However, your smartphone camera can come in handy for capturing all the impromptu adorableness of your dog’s daily adventures for Instagram Stories.
In addition to using a good camera, you’ll also want to make sure that each shot has ample lighting (natural light is always best) and good composition. After you get “the shot,” simply slapping a Valencia filter on your dog selfie and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it, either. To get those truly jaw-dropping images, you’ll want to use post-editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop to bring your pup’s photos to their full potential.
Be Prepared to Take a Lot of Photos
To get that money shot you must be willing to take a lot of photos. No really, like A LOT. For example, you might get one good image for every 20 photos you take, so be prepared to snap away. Try shooting in sport mode or use the burst setting on your iPhone to maximize your chances of capturing that one perfect shot for Instagram. It’s also good to keep a camera on hand at all times since you never know when your pup might strike the perfect pose or pull some antics that are Internet gold.
Be Patient with Your Pup
Working with animals is by no means an easy task, especially if your dog is still a puppy with a relatively short attention span. As the saying goes, you can’t rush perfection...or the perfect dog selfie. Since dogs don’t always want to cooperate with your artistic vision, it’s important to be patient with your pup and avoid getting frustrated if your photoshoot isn’t turning out as planned.
Make sure your pooch always feels comfortable and happy while taking photos and don’t forget to give them lots of breaks to play. Never force your pup to do something they don’t like for just for the sake of the ‘gram. If they feel scared or upset it will come across in their photos and let’s be real; no one likes to see a sad pupper.
Treat Your Pup
To get an Insta-worthy photo, you’ll probably need something to help your pooch stay focused on the task at hand. That’s where the treats come into play. You can use your pups’ favorite snack, a special toy or even a sound that your dog likes, such as a squeaker or crinkling paper, to encourage them to sit, stay and look into the camera. There’s also new dog gadgets (link to new dog must-haves) like puppy selfie sticks that can bribe Fido to stay focused on the lens. After all that hard work, your dog definitely deserves a little treat for being such a great mutt model.
Write Clever Captions
In addition to great content, you’ll also need to add compelling captions to all of your dog’s photos. Since your pup doesn’t have thumbs or basic grammar skills, you’ll have to act as their voice and bring their Instagram persona to life. When crafting your captions, it’s essential to have a unique voice and a captivating story that resonates with your followers.
Try to create a narrative that embraces your pup’s personality, whether they’re a sassy diva, a quirky goofball or a lazy couch potato. Then, imagine what your dog might be thinking and translate those thoughts into a tone of voice that matches their persona. Captions give you the opportunity to let your pup’s personality shine, so just be yourself, or in this case, your dog’s self, and have fun with it.
Don’t forget to use hashtags that are relevant to your content in all of your posts. Hashtags can help you attract attention from new potential followers using the Discover feature, get noticed by popular re-post accounts, or make a name for your pup with a signature branded hashtag.
Theoretically, the more hashtags you use, the more people will see your content. However, be careful not to go overboard, as using too many tags could make you seem desperate. A good place to start is 10-15 hashtags per post. If you’re not sure which tags to use, do some research and see what hashtags other dog accounts are using.
Finally, make sure you avoid banned hashtags at all costs. To tell whether or not a hashtag is banned, go to the Explore page and search for the specific tag. If the hashtag does not appear in the search results or links to a broken page, don’t use it. Using banned hashtags could result in your account being penalized or even blocked by Instagram.
No matter how cute your furry little friend may be, your followers will get bored if you post the same old dog selfie day after day. Therefore, it’s important to get creative and mix things up. You can keep your feed full of fresh ideas by experimenting with different poses and camera angles, switching up the backgrounds, or showing off a stylish doggy #OOTD.
Playing around with props and product placement in your photos is also a great way to show brands that you have potential as an influencer. By mixing and match different visual elements, you’ll make your feed appear more interesting and attractive to potential followers.
If you’re running low on IG inspo, don’t worry. Each time you’re scrolling through Instagram and find a photo that catches your eye, save it to an inspiration board that you can use to get those creative juices flowing. You can also get ideas from wacky holidays like #NationalHugYourDogDay, weekly hashtags like #TongueOutTuesday, or trending events. Instagram is a great place to unleash your artistic side and show off your personality, so don’t be afraid to let your creativity shine.
Consistency is key when it comes to achieving celeb status on social media. If you’re looking to grow your account, it’s important to post regularly, keep your photo quality consistent and maintain the same voice throughout all of your posts. In the beginning, you should aim to post at least one or two photos per day.
It’s also a good idea to experiment with different time windows to determine the best hours to post your pictures for maximum engagement. Consistently posting stories is also a great way to give your followers a glimpse of your pup’s everyday life and build a loyal fan base.
Engage with Your Fans
Another crucial part of growing your dog’s ‘gram is engaging with the Instagram community. The more you engage with your followers, the more loyal they will become. Reciprocate the Insta love by following the accounts that regularly engage with your pup and make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes every day to like, share, and comment on other dog’s accounts.
Growing your account requires a lot of time and commitment. However, let’s be real, liking and commenting on cute AF dog photos isn’t exactly a punishment. Not to mention, as you increasingly interact with the Instagram dog community, you may find that some of your followers turn into great furiendships both online and in real life.
If you want to achieve puppy superstardom, you’ll have to promote the heck out of your dog on Instagram as well as in person. As a dog momager or dadager, you’ll need to hone in on your PR skills and do whatever you can to get your dog’s account on people’s radar.
Bring your pup to as many dog meetups, branded events, pet conventions, and social media conferences as possible. Don’t be afraid to name drop your pup’s account when people stop you on the street and ask to pet your dog, either. If someone is captivated by your pooch in person, there’s a good chance they’ll follow them on Instagram as well.
Train Your Dog to Be a Star
Having a well-trained pup can make the journey to Internet fame at lot easier. Get your pup acquainted with the camera from an early age and create a positive association with the camera by rewarding good behavior during photo sessions. Practicing obedience commands and fun tricks both on and off camera can also help your pooch stay focused and follow directions better.
Establishing a foundation of good behavior will also come in handy when you have to bring your pup to all those networking events we just mentioned. Every Insta-famous dog should be friendly and well-mannered around strangers, other dogs and crowds of people. When climbing the canine social ladder, the last thing you want is for your pup to do something embarrassing or off-putting in important social settings.
Just Have Fun with It
If you ask us, the best accessory a dog can wear is a smile. Happy pups tend to take the best photos, so make sure your dog is having fun and enjoys being in front of the camera. Otherwise, it’s not going to be a good experience for anyone involved.
It’s important to remember that every dog has its own personality. While some dogs love the spotlight, others could be a bit more introverted and not like all of the attention that comes along with Internet fame. Always consider your pup's personality and make sure your number one priority is to have a good time with your fur baby.