Dog Instagram can be such a wholesome space@ We started Ollie’s Instagram about a year ago (writing this in Early 2021), and it is his first social media account, as well as where we have spent most of our efforts on. Ollie does have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and also TikTok, but it is Instagram that has been most successful. So I thought it’d be a good opportunity to share a little bit about our Instagram experience and what we have learnt thus far. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.
If you want to know more about Ollie and our story please click here.
Reasons To Have a Dog Instagram Account
There are a million reasons to have a pet Instagram account. But only a few will spark joy in the long term. So here is the list of things that brings us joy from having Ollie’s Instagram account
- Timeline – It’s a great way to journal Ollie’s growth, his cheeky-ness, and everything in between in photos and videos in an easily accessible manner. It’s beautiful to look back at a curated timeline at times and wonder at the marvel of the time.
- Community – We have met some of the most wonderful people and doggos via Instagram. Truly consider ourselves lucky to form the most beautiful relationships that we will cherish for a long time.
- Explore creativity – I have always been fond of photography and design, so this is truly up my alley. It’s a nice distraction from my otherwise busy work life. And because of Ollie, I tend to travel, explore and see things differently every day.
- Support local businesses – We get to work with some amazing local businesses through Ollie’s account, and every time a new person discovers these businesses because of us, it brings so much joy to us.
- Spread happiness – in an otherwise bitter and pessimistic world. Before I had Ollie, I mainly followed dog accounts because seeing their cute little happy faces brought me so much happiness. So why not share the same love?
- Brings Joy – Everyone who has met Ollie knows what a socialite he is! He loves to pose, he’s always smiling in photos. He loves his clothes and accessories and adores wearing them. I won’t continue his social media accounts if he didn’t enjoy it. Just look at the photos from a photoshoot Ollie did for a small Melbourne-based brand called Made for Hounds! Such a star!
Instagram Must Haves
- The username – From our experience what works is having a good easy to read username. Try not to have too many dots (.) or (_) hyphens in the name. If you follow some famous accounts you could get a good idea about this. Remember in the long term you might want to use this name across platforms.
- Clear, bright photos – When we started Ollie’s Instagram, I had an iPhone 11 pro. I used portrait mode a lot. But then I burrowed a Fuji XT-20 camera from a friend, and I adored having the raw photo capability to edit the photos how I want to. Now I’m just using my iPhone 12pro, which again has the raw photo capability.
- Lightroom – This app is #holygrail for me. I edit all my photos myself here. You can also use prepared presets available from various sources. The free version of this app is enough to get things started, but I love having the full version. We try to keep things somewhat consistent so our overall aesthetic is appealing to our followers. We add a small watermark to all our photos so no one can steal them without our permission, and legal action can be taken if that happens.
- Supportive apps – I use “instories” to make fun stories at times and “Tone” to add filters to videos. “Retouch” to quickly remove little imperfections in the background.
- Trends and Consistency– I tend to do at least 3 stories per day and 1 post every day or two days. I also try to remember it’s ok to take breaks if it gets all too much. I try to be on top of trends. Reels are a good way to reach a wider audience; Instagram is pushing this right now. Not everything will be a success, but one of our first reels got featured on Instagram and helped us to get thousands of followers.
- Vision – This is the most important aspect for me. You have to have a vision for your Instagram. Where do you want to take it? What do you want to share? For me,] during lockdown, when we couldn’t go outdoors much, I used to share Ollie’s portraits to showcase his growth. But now it’s more about doing fun things with him and exploring. No two of our photos look the same. And I love that. I love journaling the adventures we take with him. I don’t have a clear vision, but this is where we want to be at the moment.
Our Point Of View About Dog Instagram
This section is about putting a few things together that matter to us and how we handle our day to day posts and activities. This can differ from person to person. But this is what helped us grow our account as well as helps us keep it going.
- Why you started– Remembering why we started is important in everything in life not only in having an Instagram account. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted by other accounts, Instagram algorithms, and opportunities that you get. But I always try to ask the questions, would this make Ollie happy? Does this truly represent Ollie? and does it match our Vision? and go from there.
- Followers – How many followers you get in a day differs according to many things. Last year before Instagram updated its policies or its infamous algorithm we used to get extremely high reach for our posts. Also, people were in lockdown and had nothing much to do so of course there where higher engagement. But things have changed now. I tend to not get hung up on this. Especially now that Ollie’s account is somewhat established I don’t care much about this. I like to let Ollie’s account grow organically and for people to follow us truly because they are inspired by our account or it brings them joy.
- Follow back – We tend to follow our friends, people, and pups who we have already met, accounts that inspire us, and businesses that we want to support. From time to time I go through the followers as well as those we follow to keep things clean. To remove bots or inactive accounts etc. I wish I could follow everyone back but I don’t want to because then I don’t get stories or the posts by the accounts I want to support and show love to, on top of our feed.
- Sponsored content – We don’t want Ollie’s Instagram to be a billboard for branded content. Initially, we did reach out to a few brands but after our account grew we started getting offers and gifts to promote products. But we tend to only associate ourselves with brands we use. We also declare all our sponsored content even if it is a small gift. The rare chance that we do get money for certain things we will be donating it to charities. We are not here to earn money through Ollie, and that has never been our primary motivation. So whatever perks that come our way are an add on.
Things To Look-out For
When starting an Instagram account it is easy to get caught up quickly to gather larger followings. But try not to do this. Here are a few reasons why
- DON’T COMPROMISE your dog’s HEALTH AND WELLBEING – I cannot stress this enough. At the end of the day, it’s all about you and your dog’s happiness. I wouldn’t put Ollie on anything he’s uncomfortable in. I will not recommend anything that Ollie dislikes. And most importantly Ollie is not a lab rat. So I will not test multiple types of treats etc on him just to promote a brand. Not every dog is the same. Not everything will work the same way for us. But when we find something good for us we will stand by it.
- DON’T SHARE EVERYTHING – When it is a dog account, we don’t know who runs the account. There could be people from all sorts of backgrounds. Not everyone has the same level of understanding and thinking. Think of your best friends it takes years to get to know them well, but even then, it feels like you don’t know them at times. So social media can be tricky. Tread carefully. Don’t share too much private information.
- Be INSPIRED but don’t COPY – We get inspired by each other all the time and to me that’s ok. I’m not doing anything twice so even if someone does the same thing that we do we are fine with it. While it is certainly nice to be credited we don’t expect it. People can be unconsciously be inspired and most of the time don’t think too much about it and that’s ok. We know that no one can copy us exactly and we have no legal grounds for people being inspired by us, unless they are using our photos etc. so we tend not to worry about things. But it is not ok to blatantly copy. For example, there are multiple versions of Ollie’s photos above with ears, or cavoodle’s in KFC chicken buckets. Everyone has their version of it. and that’s ok. But if someone copies exact details of everything then that’s morally wrong. But still, there’s no point in getting hung up on it as it is the way of social media and one cannot simply control it.
- FAKE FOLLOWERS – There are apps and websites that any person can use to get Instagram analytics. One free source for this is http://socialblade.com You can type any username here and look for certain account trends and patterns. Is someone following and unfollowing people frequently? Sudden peaks in followers in a day for no reason can look like fake followers. And some apps are even capable of detecting this. So in long term, your social stats will count when you want to partner with good businesses that will look into influencer ratings before offering you opportunities. And most importantly all the hard work you put into your account can be lost because Instagram bans you.
- ENGAGEMENT GROUPS – This became a thing when the Instagram algorithm changed where people created small groups to comment, like, share, and save each other’s posts in a way to cheat the algorithm. To be completely transparent we also got caught up in this for a month or two. But I removed ourselves from this after realizing it’s not genuine. I rather comment save and share on posts that I like and receive genuine interactions with the posts we do. Again Instagram also detects such interactions and can block your account.
- Try not to be COMPETITIVE – There are about 500 million users per day on Instagram. So there’s space for everyone! there are many brands and opportunities. Don’t get caught up in the drama (there’s plenty of it) do what you can and spread the positivity. Try not to compare yourself, your photos, your account, and your number of followers. Don’t ask how another person got so many followers. Maybe they spend a lot of time on Instagram engaging, creating. Maybe they got featured in a larger account. Or even if they are buying fake followers etc that’s on them. Do you and be you. If you do things right you will be rewarded. Play the long game.
- DO NOT JUDGE – As stated there are many faces behind accounts from different backgrounds. Not everyone has all the time in the world to commit to Instagram. So people might not see your posts or what you do. Not everyone can remember everything everyone did. Again, Instagram is huge! So try not to judge people for small things like similar content or number of followers etc. Concentrate on your work, your account, and your growth. Spread good vibes and love.
- ORGANIC GROWTH – Let people follow you and interact with you because of your content. If someone wants to follow you they will, if they want to give you a shout they will. You don’t have to ask for it. This helps to gather an amazing community and most of all give us joy. It is also a validation that we are doing something right. Our creativity is appreciated. We are all human, we are all a little competitive, like a little attention, etc so we all get caught up in trends but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember what makes us happy. Being genuine feels good.
I’m aware that this advice is not universal or might not even be the best method. We are evolving every day, learning new things. There’s so much more to say as well. So we’ll be doing more detailed posts on this topic as time passes. Do subscribe and follow us on social media. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.