How To Make Your Pet Instagram Famous

Who doesn’t spend most of their downtime browsing Instagram for cute cat pictures, or funny dog videos?  I know I do!

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With all of the developments with the internet, one thing remains consistent – bored people love cat pictures.  It was only a matter of time before the adorable animals begun to take over on a celebrity status.  Enter, Grumpy Cat!

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Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) started out with a simple post on Reddit, and has since EXPLODED all over the internet.  She currently has over 2.5 MILLION Instagram followers!

Not to be outdone by cats, the dogs stepped up with a mega-star of their own, Boo!

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This adorable little Pom has over SIX MILLION Facebook fans!  Can you even imagine having that level of popularity?!

So, inspired partly by their fame and partly by my incessant need to constantly post pictures of my pets, I created Burger his very own Instagram account!  You can follow him here.  With over 2,000 fans, he’s clearly not as famous as other internet celebrities, yet chances are that he has more followers than many of you do.

How does one go about creating a successful Instagram page for their pet?  These are some of the tips that I used:

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First and foremost, you need excellent photos.  I am no professional photographer, and my hunch is that’s one of the biggest reasons that Burger’s fanbase is in the thousands and not the hundreds of thousands or millions.  The photos I take are with my iPhone, and luckily I am able to get some pretty decent photos with that.  If you have a newer iPhone, portrait mode is AMAZING for capturing stunning photos.  My phone isn’t equipped with that, however, I’ve found that the Focus mode on Instagram takes pretty great photos as well.  Other tips are making sure that your pet is as comfortable as possible, choosing the right lighting, and making sure that the background isn’t cluttered.

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The next step is to establish a fan base!  You can’t have a famous pet without them having followers!  Start out by following other human and animal social media influencers.  Like and comment on their posts, and check out their fanbase.  Something that helped Burger get his few hundred fans was paying attention to the most active fans on other insta-famous pet pages.  By that, I don’t just mean the person who always comments “FIRST!”.  I looked at people who consistently liked their posts and commented thoughtful comments — especially comments related to the caption or theme of the post.  After pinpointing those active followers, I started following them!  Probably 30-40% of the people I added followed me back, and to this day are some of the most active fans on Burger’s page.

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Posting regularly is extremely important.  This is also something that I struggle with.  If you check out pages of any influencer, they are posting consistently – if not every day, at least every other day.  Along with posting, utilize hashtags!  They are one of the biggest ways for people to find your page – especially if you wind up on the Discover page for one of those hashtags.  I always try to use a combination of hashtag popularity – popular, less common and those in between.  For Burgers page, every 500 fans or so, I’ll search out cat related hashtags.  I’ll pick out a few of those super common, popular tags, such as #cat and #meow.  Those hashtags have MILLIONS of people that use them, which can be great for exposure!  However, your chances of being featured on one of those discover pages is slim unless your post engagement is huge.  I’ll then ,pick out a few hashtags with under 10,000 or so uses (you can find these uses just by clicking on the tag itself – it will show you how many people have used that tag!).  Tags such as #themostinterestingcatintheworld and #catchat.  The chances of your getting featured on those pages are much more likely, because there simply isn’t as much competition.  Lastly, I’ll look for some hashtags with anywhere between 100,000 – 500,000 uses.  These tags, such as #igers and #pamperedcats have a high number as people using them, yet it’s not completely impossible to be featured on their discover pages.  When Burger’s page jumped from 500 fans to 2,000, it was because he wound up featured on one of these pages.

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Endless creativity is SO important.  You could have the worlds best looking dog, but no one is going to want to see the exact same photo of him sleeping day after day after day.  Have some fun with the photos.  Use inspiration from different locations, take photos at different levels, take pictures of your pet in costume celebrating a holiday!  Also, this is a great time to start experimenting with product placement.  Ideally, some day you will be able to make a profit (or at least receive free items) from your page.  This is a great time to play with different ways to showcase products you’re already using – your cats favorite food, your dogs favorite toy.  Be sure to tag the brand who makes that product – occasionally companies will share those fan posts, and that alone can cause your page’s popularity to explode.

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Last but definitely not least, HAVE FUN!  For all of the millions of animal accounts out there, only a handful actually make it big. If you’re doing this only for the fame or the money, you’ll get disappointed fast.  On the flipside, if you’re already taking dozens of pictures of your pets anyway, why not post them and see what happens?

Does your pet have an Instagram page?  Post the link below, I’ll be sure to follow!

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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Just a few short years ago, I NEVER thought I would be one of those crazy people taking a walk with their cat on a leash.  Until one day…I suddenly was.  All of my life, my cats had done so well living inside, never setting a single paw outside of the house after moving in.  When I first got Burger, it was hours after he was diagnosed with FIV.  The couple taking care of him had tried many times to convince him to be an indoor cat, but he would always escape – even going as far as breaking through windows to get out.  With the other stray cats in their neighborhood, it wasn’t fair to let him roam outside, potentially exposing countless other cats to his disease.

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Lucky for me (and for Bug!), after moving in with me, Burger was suddenly content living as an indoor cat.  However, there were times when I would take Oreo out for a walk that Burger would try to sneak out with us.  I couldn’t help but feel a little bad, but the thought of letting him join us outside never crossed my mind.  I couldn’t take the risk of him running off and getting hit by a car, eaten by a bigger animal, or simply just getting lost.

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The first time Burger got really sick after throwing his blood clot, he wasn’t very active at all – all he wanted to do was lay in the window.  I mentioned to a friend that I wondered if he would want to go outside for small amounts of time, just to lay in the sun with his dog.   That friend mentioned that she had a leash and harness from when she used to let her cats go out with her, and she gave it to me to try out.  Burger adjusted to being out on a leash almost immediately, he was soooo happy to be outside!

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I don’t know what it was about being outside, but Burger started recovering pretty quickly after that first time outside with me.  I still didn’t think he’d have very much longer with me, so seeing him perk up so much after his outings, I started taking him out just about daily, we’d lay in the sun after work until the sun would set.  To this day, whenever he isn’t feeling good, I take him outside for a walk on the beach with me, and it provides an immediate boost to his spirits – and to his health!

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I did have one scare with him, back when I was living at my parents’ house.  A super loud car went by and terrified Burger.  He wriggled right out of his harness and took off in (luckily) the opposite direction.  He tried to jump through a fence to get away from the sound but got stuck in the fence instead.  Trying to get him out of a fence in the dark at 3 am was definitely an adventure!  After that, I realized that after his weight loss, I needed to find Burger a harness that fit!  I wound up going with this one after seeing the good reviews it got on Amazon.  Thus far, he hasn’t been able to escape from it.  A lot of the time at my current house, I’ll shut the gates on the fence and let him walk around the yard without a leash on – he stays right by me until he finds the perfect patch of sun to lay on.  I would never try that when he’s out walking the beach with me, though – too many things could go wrong, so he is always in a harness for those trips.

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Part of the reason that I think Burger did so good when he first started going on walks with me is that initially, I would only take him outside when I was taking Oreo out.  Oreo was his best friend and his protector, I think it helped him feel safe and confident.  He would observe as Oreo rolled around in the dirt and the grass, and then mimic him by doing the same thing himself.  When Buddy moved in with me, most of Burgers walks were with him – Buddy moved more slow-paced, which helped Burger meander and explore more things, watch the birds flying overhead, and smell all of the new scents.  Buddy always let Burger dictate the direction they would walk, and the pace at which they would do it.

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It may seem silly, but I really do think that a huge reason Burger keeps fighting off all of his health issues is because of the outdoor time I give him.  He gets to soak up the sights and smells, and I think that it really helps to enrich his life.  What do you guys think?