Why Instagram is the Social Media Platform for Your Dog

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For those of us dog enthusiasts who have been on the social media scene since 2004 (at least – think Friendster), remember when dogs were allowed to have Facebook profiles? Think pre-fan pages. Back when Facebook was just for college students from invited schools. Before Twitter. Nostalgic, right?

Today, since your dog isn’t allowed to have a Facebook profile, he or she may have a Facebook fan page. If you’re really hardcore about developing your dog’s social media presence, you use Twitter too. But, unless your dog is Boo, the most famous dog on Facebook, your dog’s following is probably humble. So how can you, everyday dog owner, help your dog reach his or her full social media potential? Consider using a newer, more impactful platform that is ideal to showcase those who don’t communicate verbally: I say Instagram is the network for you.

This is not a slight to Facebook or Twitter. Facebook serves its purposes for businesses, celebrities, non-profits, and so forth. Twitter is tremendously powerful for newsmakers. But, becoming a famous dog is an entirely different feat and requires a different strategy. If you’re attached to Facebook and Twitter for your dog’s social media needs, here are three thoughts to consider why both networks are less than ideal for your dog’s social media dreams:

  • The status update method of Facebook and tweets on Twitter isn’t conducive to showing off a dog’s personality. Though, anthropomorphism is absolutely healthy in doses, you are actually just pretending to be your dog. So it’s you being your dog, not your dog being your dog.
  • It’s harder to grow your audience on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook doesn’t use the #hashtag to track popular content. After all your friends and family “like” your dog, you have to deliver some truly spectacular, original content to get a significant number of shares and “likes” to see your fan base grow and get your viral on. On Twitter, even with the all-powerful #hashtag, content is streaming so fast you can quickly and easily get tossed down the Twitterdrain before you even get started.
  • On the most elementary of levels, Facebook and Twitter are for people who want to read content as much, if not more, than they want to see content. Since dogs don’t communicate verbally (remember!), delivering visual content is the best way to let their personalities shine through.

Here are three reasons why Instagram is the better fit for your dog’s social media ambitions:

  • Instagram users really, really, really love dogs. Have you met “MaruTaro”? This amazingly photogenic Shiba Inu has a solid following of nearly 150,000 photo-taking aficionados. Other famous pups like “Shaitow” (my personal favorite), and “Panda_Pancake_Minibullterrier” hold steady with similarly passionate followings of nearly 33,000 and 8,300, respectively. Point is your audience here has a demonstrated interest in dogs. Reach them!
  • Instagramers seem to use the #hashtag to actually find new users to follow, not just push their content towards trending topics, like on Twitter. They also appear willing to commit to following someone faster if they like their content. On Twitter, a user has to like your voice and want to “hear” you tweet all day long. That’s a tougher sell. Not so here. Cute, cuddly, and creative are really all you need.
  • Who isn’t good at taking cell phone photos? With all the fun apps out there to channel your inner Annie Leibovitz, anyone can do this! My three favorite photo-editing apps are Pixlr-o-matic, FxCamera, and Pudding Camera. All are free, friends, at your Google Play store or iTunes app store.

Want more tips on how to step up your dog’s social media game? Tweet me.

Jessi Freud is a dog advocate who has been volunteering with rescues and shelters for nearly 10 years. Most recently, she was a volunteer news writer for Best Friends Animal Society and an active volunteer with Texas-based shelter Austin Pets Alive! Jessi is currently in her first year in law school where she plans to get involved in the world of animal law. Follow her on Twitter.

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