While most people would say their hobby is gardening, crafting, playing an instrument or sport, I’d have to say I spend quite a bit of my spare time managing my dog’s Instagram account.

Yes, you read right. My 3-year-old husky, Ella, has an Instagram account. We typically post weekly documenting her very exciting life as a dog. It started out as more of an online scrapbook to store all her puppy pictures and milestones in one place where I could look back and see all of our adventures together.

I had no idea it would lead to being part of an online community, giving me some insight into growing accounts on Instagram and eventually becoming a bigger part of my life. Since we’ve started, Ella has received complimentary products/services for honest reviews, was featured on other Instagram accounts and has won a photo contest (see the award-winning picture below 😊).

It’s no surprise that almost every time I tell someone my dog has an Instagram account, I get the same weird response, like “oh, really?” Then I tell them she has more than 2,000 followers and there’s a combined look of slightly impressed and yet definitely some judging still going on.

I get it. It’s odd to think there are millions of humans on Instagram right now impersonating their dog. They spend way too much time getting the perfect picture or video of their pup, write captions in their dog’s voice (sometimes even talking in what could be compared to baby talk, which many have developed into a dog language of grammatically incorrect phrases to sound more like what humans believe their dog to think and sound like), and engage with hundreds to thousands of other dog accounts that are doing the exact same thing.

Regardless of how weird that might seem to some, after 3 years of managing Ella’s account, I found it to be a supportive community mainly made up of positive creative people who truly love animals, enjoy capturing precious moments of their pet and writing about it.

Of course, some are more dedicated than others racking up a shocking amount of screen time and just constantly liking, commenting and engaging. It can become a full-time job – one that we’re not able to commit to, which is why I’ve only been able to slowly grow her account. 2,000 is nothing compared to the impressive 50,000 plus followers that some of our Instagram pals have. But that’s how much these pet owners love it. There is certainly a level of dedication, motivation, and passion to grow any Instagram account.

Even if you’re not completely sold on the idea, it’s become an effective marketing tool for companies to gain more brand awareness, whether they’re in the pet industry or not. There are numerous companies in a variety of industries including automotive and hospitality leveraging Insta-famous dogs by featuring them on their pages and getting thousands of likes just for that one photo. In addition, some politicians are using their dog as a campaigning tool and giving them their own personality as well.

So, whether you’re interested in being a dog parent pupparazzi or just want to grow your own account – here are 3 things I learned that could help you do just that.

Consistency

The accounts that always seem to do the best are consistent. Some might call it being “on brand’, which is a familiar phrase heard often in the marketing world. Just like how the companies that know exactly who they are, shout it loud and proud every single day and rise above the noise – are the ones who dominate. It’s very similar to growing an Instagram account. One key way to be consistent is to develop a personality and keep the same tone in the captioning and comments. When others begin to feel comfortable with your brand and who you are, it’s easier to commit to liking your content, leaving a comment, and even go above and beyond to promote you to others.

Engagement

Looking back, I wish I had caught on quicker about how important engaging with other accounts is and how it’s another significant component of growing an Instagram account. At first, I thought I didn’t have to respond to comments or leave comments on others’ pages. Well I was very wrong. This is one of the fundamental steps after you have your brand down pat and you’re consistent with who you are. Engagement involves liking and commenting on other Instagram accounts’ posts daily. It means really getting to know a little more about who you’re following and your followers by having genuine interactions with them.

Realistic Expectations

So many of us want to have thousands of followers and use social media as a platform to be heard. It’s a great tool for information, to learn and educate. We also get satisfaction in creating a following and seeing those numbers grow. But this won’t happen overnight.

It’s good to keep in mind that while it’s important to set goals, it takes time to reach them. The best analogy I can think of when it comes to building an Instagram account is working toward a fitness goal. There are plenty of us who want to be fit and look a certain way. But how many of us are willing to go on strict diets and maintain a routine of working out? How many of us fall off the wagon and must start over again? Realistically, how long does it take to lose weight and meet those goals? Just like with fitness goals – the time and effort you put in is what you can expect to get out of it. You need the same focused disciple to reach your social media goals or else the results will be less-than-stellar.

At the end of the day, you can have those thousands of followers and be part of that online community but are you willing to work for it?

If this is your goal and you need a plan of action – here at Kolbeco, we can work with you and help you get started.

Also, if you’re interested in following a sassy sweet husky –

You can find Ella on Instagram @ella.husky.

Although, I can’t promise she’ll follow you back… she’s a bit of a diva.

Just kidding! Engage with us and we’ll be sure to follow you too!

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