How to Have a Successful Dog Instagram: A Guide to Making Your Dog Famous

If you have a dog, you may be wondering how to have a successful dog Instagram. Beyond adding yet more cute animal photos to the internet (a laudable goal), you can earn money from your dog account via an influencer marketing model. If you think your puppy has star potential or you just want the internet to appreciate your dog as much as you do, here are five tips to get your dog headed toward Instagram stardom.

1. Decide What and How Often to Post

When you’re getting started on Instagram, you have to decide what to post and how often. Obviously, you want to post photos of your dog, but will your dog account have a polished look or a more casual vibe? Will you focus on posed images with props and outfits, or will you take candid shots of your dog just being a dog? There are no right or wrong answers here, but keep in mind that you may eventually face a choice between quality and quantity. Do you want to post more professional content less frequently or the opposite?

You don’t need to be a photography pro in order to have a successful dog Instagram: as long as you find some decent lighting and have a smartphone, you should be set to take Instagram-quality photos of your pup. There are some professional photographers who take quality pictures of their pets and spread them out over less frequent posting, but you may find that posting once a day works best for you.

Here’s an example of a photographer-styled dog account that posts less frequently, but has a cohesive aesthetic and professional-quality photos in each post:

A photographer styled dog account such as this posts less frequently but has a cohesive aesthetic and professional-quality photos in each post.

@wat.ki on Instagram

By contrast, here’s a less professional account with more frequent posting that still generates high engagement and a high following:

A less professional account such as this posts more frequently and still generates high engagement and a high following.

@garththegolden on Instagram

When it comes to deciding how often to post, remember that consistency is key. It’s more important to keep posting than to post every day, so if posting daily will cause you to burn out, aim for posting two to three times a week consistently instead. 

2. Videos Are Even Better Than Photos

We all know video content is key to a great social media strategy, and taking videos is easier than ever when you have a smartphone in your pocket. Taking short-form video of your dog will really help to boost your reach and create content more likely to be reposted by other larger accounts, which in turn can drastically increase your following. An Instagram account like Pupflix, which has over one million followers, pulls its favorite videos from submissions that tag it, and reposts them to its followers. 

You don’t need a super high-production-quality video to spark engagement. If you’re trying to figure out how to have a successful dog Instagram with video, our best advice is just to capture your dogs being themselves. However, the Instagram algorithm may show a higher quality video to more users, so try not to post anything blurry, with poor resolution, or that you have just copied over from another platform such as TikTok. Also keep in mind when posting videos that many viewers watch without audio, so it is best to include on-screen text to make your point. 

A relatively recent development on Instagram is that it favors video and in particular Reels, which are short vertical video clips that often include music. If you’re a regular Instagram user, you’ve probably noticed a lot more Reels in your feed. Take that as a hint and start making Reels with your dog to get them the attention they deserve.

3. Focus on What Makes Your Dog Unique 

Dog accounts, like any social media accounts, should cater their content to their audience, even if that means sillier photos, such as this dog in a baseball hat.

Running an Instagram account for your dog can be a lot of fun (for you and your dog)! The people who engage with dog accounts are dog lovers, looking for humor and cuteness to brighten up their day. The popularity of cute dog photos also means that there are a lot of them on Instagram. The dog account Dogs of Instagram, which curates some of the best dog posts from around the platform, has over five million followers and over 7,000 posts. So how can your dog stand out from the crowd? 

Think about what makes your dog happy and what makes your dog unique. Does your dog love wearing hats? Instagram followers will love that too! Maybe your dog has a quirky behavior, like sleeping cuddled up with a stuffed animal. Post those pics!

A beautiful thing about an Instagram dog account is that it can encourage people to rescue from a shelter instead of purchasing a dog, and even to adopt a dog that they might not have considered in the past, such as a dog with special needs or a senior dog. If your dog has a great rescue story, make sure to share that! Dogs with visual impairments, amputations, or a lot of dog years behind them have found success on Instagram while bringing awareness to the needs of dogs like them. You can also use your dog account to provide useful information to the community, such as educating the public about service dogs or how to be a good dog parent. 

Happy dog in wheelchair

However, while you might be taking your dog account management seriously, don’t be too serious with your content. Try tactics such as doggo speak, trending memes, or challenges (like the #unflatteringdogphotochallenge that took over many Instagram feeds in 2020). Some popular accounts even speak from the perspective of their dog.

Throughout any social media campaign, our social media team works to tailor content toward what the target audience is likely to engage with or what is likely to resonate with them. Do the same for your dog’s audience. If you find people are engaging more with silly videos than staged photos, it might be time to pivot your strategy. Flexibility based on data is an important key to how to have a successful dog Instagram. 

4. Take Your Hashtags Seriously

Any Instagram strategy needs a strong hashtag strategy to be successful. While Facebook content typically needs paid promotion nowadays to gain engagement, Instagram content can still gain traction organically. However, your dog account will perform best when strategic hashtags relevant to each post are used.

Research hashtags specific to your dog’s breed or the unique traits and habits discussed above to find audiences that are already likely to engage with your dog. The hashtag #pugsofinstagram, for example, has over 12 million submissions, and some photos within that hashtag are receiving thousands of likes.

Don’t worry if you don’t know your dog’s exact breed or history: there are great hashtags, such as #muttsofinstagram and #rescuedog, which have millions of submissions and receive great engagement as well. You can also use hashtags to insert your dog into the conversation around holidays like Halloween or even animal-specific holidays like National Dog Day. Don’t forget to celebrate your dog’s birthday and adoption anniversary or #gotchaday as well! 

Have fun, but go in with a plan. Do your hashtag research before you start posting. Try out different tactics and use your Insights to see what performs best.

5. Balance Your Content Between Entertaining and Promotional: Use The 80/20 Rule

Once you reach a certain follower threshold, you should start to get more attention, particularly for sponsored posts and partnerships. When done correctly, this type of content can be a great way to connect with your followers by sharing products and brands you care about that will help improve the lives of your followers’ pets as well. If done wrong, however, it can drive your follower base away. 

At Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency with offices in DC, Atlanta, and New Orleans, we like to preach the 80/20 rule for all of our clients’ social media accounts. Ideally, 80% of your content should be fun and engaging, while 20% of your content is more promotional and focused on sales or leads. 

In order to maintain a successful dog Instagram while introducing promotional content, the 80/20 rule works great for pet accounts as well. Make sure the majority of the content you share is fun and engaging while only a small amount is promotional to keep your audience following along for the long haul. Even better, make your promotional content so much fun that your audience hardly notices it’s promotional!

Still Wondering How to Have a Successful Dog Instagram? Whether for Dogs or Businesses, Online Optimism Knows Instagram Marketing!

At Online Optimism, not only are we obsessed with dogs, we’re obsessed with strategic social media marketing that drives results. Learn more about how Instagram marketing with Online Optimism can grow your business today and read more of our social media advice.