Have you ever seen an Instagram page with 10K, 100K, or 1 million followers and wondered how they got there? We are about to teach your dog how to become Instafamous. Instagram is a huge organization and most of their algorithm is secret, but we have analyzed hundreds of pages and narrowed down 10 of the best ways to grow your dog's following. In this blog, we are going to explore the latest trends and best practices for growing your engagement, reach, and following.
1. Post high quality photos and videos
This step alone won't make your following shoot through the roof, but growing your page will be quite difficult if your photos are dark, grainy, and poor quality. Here are a few of our tips:
- Make sure your photos are adequately lit
- Avoid extreme upward or downward angles
- No filters or color edits – Over editing photos nearly always decreases engagement
- Shoot in highest quality – newer iPhones and Android are OK
- Shoot Vertically – Upload in 4x5 format when possible
Check out @ifitwags, @pointandwag, and @pointerproblems for examples of high quality images.
2. Videos receive more engagement than photos
The best way to grow your following is by creating content that goes viral. The Instagram algorithm is currently feeding much more engagement to video posts. Nearly all of the fastest growing pages are primarily posting video content. Plus, videos are much more likely to be featured on the Explore page where they can go viral. One or two viral videos can jumpstart your page for exponential growth.
Check out @long.coat.max, @ghost_the_samoyed, and @aussiesdoingthings for examples of viral video content.
3. Socialize with your following
They do call it social media for a reason. Be sure to follow pages that you enjoy, comment on posts regularly, and reply to comments on your own posts when possible. Putting in the effort to make friends and building a positive reputation will pay off in the long run. We love commenting on posts, and frequently other pages will follow back when they see and enjoy your comments.
Pro tip: Relevant comments of four or more words are much better for engagement than only emojis or a single word.
4. Create or Join a DM group “pod”
Pods, also known as DM Groups, can be a great tool for growing your following. A pod is a direct message group typically consisting of pages with similar themes. There are typically 15-20 accounts in a pod that agree to post around specific times and comment on each other’s posts to increase the odds of being featured on the explore page.
Pods are also great for making friends and sharing post ideas. We have one group with dogs (and a couple cats) from around the world. Sometimes posting consistently can be difficult or downright exhausting, but that pod energizes us a gives us ideas on a daily basis.
5. Hashtags can be a great tool
Hashtags can be a valuable tool if used strategically. If you simply tag a couple dozen random words, there is not likely to be much value, but if you find hashtags that are relative to your page and use 8-10 (up to 30 allowed), there can be a significant increase in your post’s reach.
Pro tip: If you use a hashtag that has been posted 10 million times, the odds are low that your page will be featured as a top post unless it goes viral or you already have a massive following. Try to determine your sweet spot at first with niche tags and slowly increase your focus on more popular tags as your page begins growing.
6. Create a theme for your page
If the page is for your dog, keep the posts relevant to your dog. If your theme is posting dog videos with subtitles, keep on posting videos with subtitles. This doesn’t mean your page can’t evolve (because it should), but be sure to take your audience into consideration so that they don’t lose interest. Try to avoid off-topic posts because the Instagram algorithm appears to push posts further down in the feed if users aren’t engaging.
Keeping to a consistent theme makes sense because Instagram makes more money by maximizing user engagement, and they can do that best by consistently showing posts users want to see.
Check out @milperthehusky, @the_island_dog, and @miss_poppet_the_samoyed for pages with consistent themes.
7. Host a contest
Now don’t go blow your rent on Instagram giveaways, but think of fun and creative contests with a call to action. If you do host a giveaway, be sure the requirements include that contestants must follow your page, like, and comment. The likes and comments will increase the probability that your post will appear as trending on hashtags or the explore page. Here are a few contest ideas:
- Best caption wins “x” (think re-post or giveaway)
- Tag two friend and winners will be chosen at random
- Selfie Contest – post a selfie with “x” for a chance to win “x” and/or to be featured
Check out @champ.the.huskimo for an iPad giveaway they recently co-hosted with over 2000 comments, but keep in mind that giveaways with inexpensive items work well too.
8. Subtitles and Captions are all the craze
Do you speak doggo? Have you seen dog photos and videos with hilarious subtitles? If not, there is a whole new language you may be able to figure out in a matter of hours. Here are some examples, but the language is an endless art form:
- Your dog does not bark, it “borks”
- There is no howl, it’s “awoo”
- You are not human, you’re “hooman”
- A puppy is not small, it’s “smol”
- Doggo does not each chicken, it’s “chimken”
Check out @doggosbeingdoggos2, @petcanines, and @long.coat.max for creative captions
9. Always geotag a location
This tip is similar to using hashtags. If you geotag your location, there is a chance your post will be featured in the “top posts” for that location. Similar to trending on the most popular hashtags, the chances of a new page being a top post in a big city are slim. Consider geotagging a more specific suburb or trendy location if the photo was taken there. However, there is one caveat... Be careful to preserve your privacy for safety purposes. There is no reason to be specific such as posting your home location.
10. Participate in viral challenges
Participating in viral challenges can be one of the most fun ways to grow your engagement. Do you remember the #whatthefluffchallenge, #inmyfeelingschallenge, and #tastetestchallenge from over the summer? All of these were high probability opportunities for creating viral videos. Keep an eye out for viral challenges, and don’t be afraid to start your own. They are one of the best ways to grow a page quickly.
Check out @siberianhuskey_jax who started #whatthefluffchallenge over the summer, @aussiesdoingthings who had one of the best #inmyfeelingschallenge posts, and @long.coat.max with the #tastetestchallenge.
And one more for good luck.. Post Consistently
We hope you apply our best practices and spark the growth you have been looking for. All of the above tips work best when applied consistently. Practice makes perfect, and 1-3 posts per day works best for growing a massive following.
Don’t forget to follow us @GSPoftheday and @Birddogshop, tag #GSPoftheday, and we look forward to following your journey!