It’s a scientific fact that cats are poised take over the universe and have launched this mission by way of the internet. Instagram has fallen prey to our feline directors, many of whom have taken over our own personal accounts and made them their own personal platform to cat-ify the online world. You can help your cat build an Instagram account worth watching by following these 15 simple tips:
1. Post cat photos
Obvious to many, not so obvious to some: Give your followers what they really want – cat photos! Resist the urge to post photos that don’t contain paws and whiskers – that’s what your personal account is for. Take note; your cat’s Instagram probably has, or will have, more followers than your personal account. Lovely example: @evey_and_toto. #FunFact: It’s been scientifically proven that being upside down makes you smarter! Source: evey_and_toto, Instagram
2. Post great photos
I’m willing to bet that 95% of your phone’s camera roll consists of cat photos, which is fab-mew-lous! When taking kitty photos, take a whole bunch, but select only the great ones to be published on your Instagram. You don’t need to be an @iamthecatphotographer to take great photos. Many popular Instagram accounts contain photos taken strictly by smartphone. Just a lil’ tip: avoid heavily filtering your photos. If you use natural light and your focus function, your photos will stand up nicely on their own.
Source: iamthecatphotographer, Instagram
3. Have conversations
The whole premise of social media is to be social. Don’t just post a photo then walk away. Put up you pic and caption, and let the conversation flow. If someone has taken the time to, not only “like” your photo, but also comment, give him/her a reply. I realize that for large accounts it may become impossible to answer everyone, but one ingredient to grow is to be responsive. A great social butterfly is the ever-edgy @ischmar.
4. Post often but not too often
Ideally, you want to post at least once or twice a day. If you are overflowing with incredible kitty photos and wish to post more often, a good rule to follow is to allow for at least an hour or two between posting, so as not to annoy your followers and fill their feed with all you! You! You! On the flip side, if you don’t post often enough, you may risk being forgotten or unfollowed :(. Great example: @barnabyandbalthazar.
Source: barnabyandbalthazar, Instagram
5. Write a concise but interesting bio
Instagram allows you just 150 sweet little characters to tell the world what your kitty account represents. Don’t leave it blank! Use it wisely, as it’s your prime real estate. It can be used to summarize your cat’s story (like the lovely @lizafootlesskitten), sell a product or service, display a cause you support, or direct people to a website. Your chosen website can be your own, or someone else’s who you support. You bio and website can be changed whenever you wish, in order to enhance your account. Perhaps share this blog article with your feline friends by using meowbox.com/blog as your website for a period of time…?
6. Tag your photos
If you are looking to get the attention of a certain friend or Instagram account, tagging your photo with their account name can be effective if they have tag notifications enabled, or if people are searching for that particular account by way of tags. For example, when someone tags @meowbox in a photo, a notifications shows up in our “tagged” tab that someone is talking about us. Always use tagging if you have reposted a photo of a fellow feline with an Instagram account.
7. Let your kitty’s personality shine
Is your cat grumpy, high maintenance, or a princess? Let his or her personality shine through with the photos you post and the captions you write. People don’t like to follow accounts, they like to follow interesting personalities. Great example: @liladolf.
Source: liladolf, Instagram
8. Use hashtags
Hashtags are a way for people to search a desired or trending topic. They are also used to aggregate photos for contests. You can use hashtags to bring eyeballs to your photos. If you do not wish to clog up your caption with a series of hashtags, simply put them on the next line in the form of a comment to your own photo. Some cat community hashtags are: #catsofinstgram, #bestmeow, #meowbox, #weeklyfluff, #kittensofinstagram, #adoptdontshop, #tacotonguetuesday, #instakitty, #instapet #catoftheday and #caturday. Check out @summerson1124.
9. Give credit where credit is due
If you have reposted a photo, always give credit to the owner. Do this by way of tagging the photo, plus posting the owner’s Instagram handle in the photo’s caption. We do this a lot on our @meowbox account, so feel free to check us out.
10. Host a contest
Contests are a great way to get eyeballs to your account. Depending on your number of followers, it may be a nice and fun idea to team up with your fellow cat accounts. Prizes can be as simple as a “shoutout” or you can send a prize in the mail to the winner. Contests are done in many different ways and styles, depending on the desired outcome. Take a look at some established accounts, like @professorpouncey, and see how they run their contests. It would take a whole other blog post to explain how to run an effective Instagram contest… perhaps a topic for the future.
11. Write interesting captions
Dang it! And you thought you were getting away from all this creative writing business when you signed up for Instagram. No way, José. Great captions can be the difference between a good account and a mind-blowingly awesome account. Not all of us can conjure up captions like @omgdeedee, but at the very least, narrate what’s going on in the photo. Avoid leaving it blank.
12. Don’t use a repost app
A nice way to feature a fellow cat account is to share and credit their photo in your own gallery. Tag the photo, include their Instagram name in your caption, and resist the urge to use a repost app! As convenient as they are, I find repost apps take away from the original image because they often will plaster distracting banners on your photo. Take the extra 30 seconds to screen shot and crop, my furrends.
13. Post at normal times of the day
The idea behind this tip is to post your photos at a time of day that your audience is actually awake and surfing their Instagram. There’s no sense in posting at the dead of night if everyone is asleep. Your ideal audience might be the early morning coffee-sippers on their morning commute, the sly midday work-avoiders, or the late-night nocuturnals (like me). Play with your pics and post during different times of day and night. You’ll see which photos get the most action.
14. Let your cat do the talking
Not much of a storyteller? Then let your cat do the talking. We know, as cat parents, that our kitties have unique personalities, so write your captions as if they come from the mouth of your cat. Great example: @zacandharvey
15. Make new friends
On Instagram and in real life, you won’t make friends by making yourself look pretty then just sitting and waiting for people to come. You have to work it! Follow the kitty accounts that you enjoy, like cat photos that entertain you, and comment on posts that move you to do so. You have to give before you get, so flip through some of the tens of thousands of cat accounts out there and give out some sincere likes and comments.
I know what you’re thinking: this sounds like a full-time job. It actually is for some people. The Instagram graveyard of sluggish accounts is filling up and since you’ve made it all the way to the end of this lengthy article, I take it you don’t want your cat account to end up there.
Follow these guidelines, be patient, and you’ll have happily entertained followers and a beautiful cat photo gallery. These principals can also be applied to your dog, makeup, food, baby, fitness, business, travel, art, photography or personal accounts! People will be eager to share your account with their own friends and your audience will grow naturally. You’ll swiftly embrace this lovely Cats of Instagram community, which will soon become a bright part of your everyday cat takeover.
The next time you post a great photo of your cat with a witty caption, tag it with #meowbox and @meowbox. Perhaps it will be our next feature photo and you can welcome some new friends to your gallery.