It’s an average Thursday evening. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed: Becky posts her third selfie this week, Christopher uploads passive-aggressive quotes about his breakup, and your cousin #TBTs back to her Venetian vacation.
But then you notice Marnie’s newest photo. She’s cute, fun, and you can tell she doesn’t really care about whether you like her or not. It’s enviable. It’s this carefree personality that has earned her two million followers. Her only concern is getting a treat after her mom takes her photo.
Marnie is a dog and she’s on the cusp of two million Instagram followers.
In recent years, it feels as if animals have dominated the internet. Can you imagine one day where you didn’t see a viral video of an animal on your Facebook feed? You probably saw 15 or more depending on how many mainstream consumers of internet culture you have as friends.
With animal Instagram action hitting a fever pitch, I decided to hop on the bandwagon and make one for my cat, Forrest. Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s going to be really hard to make my cat Instagram famous. But look y’all, he’s gorgeous:
With Forrest’s Cat Fancy looks and Outsiders-esque bad-boy personality, he’s ahead of the game.
All we need now is to follow the unwritten rules of becoming Instagram famous, and we’re good.
Here we go.
Create a Brand Personality
It’s important that I immediately craft Forrest’s whole M.O. No one will feel inspired to follow a standard, run-of-the-mill cat account. There has to be some niche pull. What’s different about Forrest that will bring the followers to the yard?
- For Marnie, it’s not only her free-hanging tongue, but her unique story: She was adopted as a senior dog, a statement about the stigma surrounding senior animal adoption.
- Atchoum, a young Persian cat with 129,000 Instagram followers, built a steady fan base off of his distinctive physical features, including his hypertrichosis. This cat’s owner also plays up on his fun and loving personality by dressing him in bowties and other accessories that cats do not normally wear.
- Lentil, a Fishtown-based canine cleft-palate ambassador, amassed over 14,000 Instagram followers with his story and status as an advocate for disability care among pet adopters.
- And then there’s Maru Taro, the Alpha and Omega. There’s really no explanation for this one. Maru is just an amazing shiba inu. A friend of the world.
Forrest has killer blue eyes that contrast against his white fur, but what helps him stand out is that he is of a rare breed, the elusive snowshoes. Snowshoes are slowly but surely gaining the attention of cat enthusiasts worldwide. They have stunning features, enjoy the challenge of sitting on top of the highest piece of furniture in the house and unlike most cats, they’re intrigued by water.
Forrest is all of the above and more. With these assets, coupled with the fact that he’s kind of a charming jerk, he’ll easily attract the attention of snowshoe owners on Instagram.
Zero in on some #PrimoHashtags
You can’t look “cool” when you’re a no-name cat trying to become Instagram famous. I’m going to need to be annoying with my hashtag use. That means using every hashtag I could think of to attract the attention of snowshoe, cat, and pet owners on ‘Gram:
#pet #pets #petsofinstagram #cat #cats #catsofinstagram #catstagram #snowshoe #snowshoesiamese #snowshoecatsofinstagram
These are simply the bricks with which Forrest and I will build his house of fame.
Research, research, research
Image: University of North Carolina Greensboro
It’s not all pretty/sassy/#cool photos and hashtags that attract followers. In order to gain followers, Forrest must become a follower himself. He needs to follow any and all accounts dedicated towards cats, especially snowshoe cats. He needs to be active in commenting on cat photos. He shouldn’t be distasteful and ask for followers, but he should leave a witty comment that leaves an impression on comment readers.
Toward snowshoe accounts, he could say something like:
“I love your shoes! I’m a snowshoe too, but mine aren’t that visible.”
Q: Aren’t you just pretending to be your cat commenting on another pretend-cat’s photograph?
A: Yes. This is called organic engagement.
Turning Forrest into the next Instagram celeb sure won’t be easy. So that’s why I need your help. Please follow Forrest and like the photos he and I post. When Forrest becomes an influencer, raking in millions of dollars from Fancy Feast, you’ll be part of that success. Thank you. Forrest thanks you.