American Bully breeders along with Pitbull-type breeders are a lot younger than any other breed community. Most regular breeders don’t even have an Instagram account while the bully community is having a merciless war on Instagram and some of them are having tens of thousands of fans, while others plateau at 50. Here are a few precious tips for bully breeders to increase their kennel’s Instagram followers.
Before we start, it is important to say that all the tips in the world won’t fix the quality of your dogs. Too many breeders favor heavy marketing and give the illusion to have quality dogs when they actually don’t have any. This will last only a few months. What matters, in the long run, is to have both, a quality dog breeding program but also the great marketing that goes with it.
Let’s start with these Instagram tips for you guys who breed American Bullies. It is time to be heard and be seen on Instagram, and I did not put as a tip that you should post great content, this is pretty obvious…
1 — Like, Comment & Follow In Your Niche
The first and easiest way to get people to follow you is to follow them. I know many breeders who for the first weeks were taking 30 to 45mn every evening before bed just to go on Instagram to like, comment, and follow users and posts in their niche.
Go on a breeder or dog-lover profile and like 5 or more pictures. You then leave one comment on the last one. And finally, follow that Instagram profile. That person will have her notifications buzzing and he or she wants the same as you: some attention that translates into likes, comments and follows. So you made someone happy, and chances are that person will follow you back and visit your profile, leaving a few comments or likes behind!
Now, you do want to do that to relevant people, and the best way to do so is to use the Instagram hashtag search function. Popular hashtags to search for are #americanbully, #dontbullymybreed, #bullybreed, #bullylove, #instabully, #bullynation, #dontbullymybully, #ilovemybully, #dontbullymypitbull, #igbullyfamily, #bullypit, #bullygram, etc. There will be some bulldogs and bull breeds in it too but target wide, don’t be too narrow in your hashtags, go to other breeds such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and so on.
Visit other breeders’ profiles and see who is commenting on their pictures. Chances are, these people are right in the middle of your target audience
2 — Brand Your Instagram Content
Put yourself in a bully lover’s shoes who follows 3 to 15 Instagram accounts talking about bullies, pitbulls, or bully breeds. Every time they open their app, they see a river of bully pictures, all looking the same, especially after a few weeks of following these.
How is that person going to notice you while scrolling up and down the screen? They won’t. That’s the answer.
This is why it matters to give your Instagram photos (and videos) a cachet, a signature, a unique style. This can be done quite explicitly using your logo at the same spot on each picture or, it can be done discreetly with perhaps a color overlay on your posts. There are billions of ways to style pictures in a way that people know at first glance that they are yours. Just find your way.
On the flip side, don’t overdo it because of a few reasons it will take time to style and brand each picture you post… especially if you post often! And it might bore your followers so make sure it is awesome, or vary the flavors to keep surprising your Instagram followers’ eyes.
3 — Engage & Socialize With Your Audience
When one gives oneself a mission of growing their audience, they almost always start neglecting their current followers. These are fans to never let down because they’ve been with you already and they can act as ambassadors to bring your even more followers. An important way to keep followers happy is to engage with them. It is a social network so socialize! (A lot.)
Reply to every single comment people leave on your updates, follow them if they are worth it, like their pictures, show them that you care. Go even further, comment, and thank the people who simply liked your photos. Many people like photos without following, by doing that you acknowledge them and you will receive a lot of follows in return.
Do not keep what you think is your best content because you want to post it when you have more followers. Post it now, and come up with even better content a few weeks down the line when you have grown your follower count.
4 — Ask Followers To Tag Friends
By giving a lot of love to your followers like described above, you will make them ready to help you whenever you ask them. Yes, it is a bit manipulative but both parties are happy, so there’s nothing wrong.
Once in a while, ask your followers to tag their friends who might be interested in the pictures they just posted. Obviously, make sure this specific update is so good that people might want to 1) read the description 2) let their friends know by tagging them in a comment.
Another way of doing it is to get your dog to wear or hold a piece of paper that says tag a friend! It will convert a lot more as it is very visible and definitely cute. Do it now!
5 — Collaborate With Other Bully Breeders
Most bloggers do that, we did it here as well with our articles. You reach out to someone boxing in your category (similar niche or audience and similar size) and you promote each other using native content.
For us, it was a blog article posted in the other blogger’s blog. For you, you will post another breeder’s dog picture and that breeder will do the same with you. Obviously, in the description, you two will mention the other and recommend your respective audience to follow.
It works very well as it tells the users out there that you are recommended by another influencer that they follow so you MUST be worth a follow.
This is a strategy to use every now and then as you might annoy your followers who already follow you by asking them continuously to follow some other (random) breeders.
Widen the strategy and try to do it cross-platform! Promote on your Instagram a website, and ask the webmaster to promote your Instagram account on his or her website. Try and monitor the results. Repeat what works, stop what does not.
6 — Post Short Videos Of Your Bullies & Kennels
More and more video content appears everywhere. It started off with Youtube and then Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Facebook, and it keeps on going, now with live video streaming (Periscope & Meerkat!)
Clearly people like videos, but sadly most people don’t know how to take decent videos. Instagram limits videos to 16 seconds so, in a way, you can’t go that wrong with so little time to shoot.
Every few days just post short footage of your dogs in some sort of action, or a video of yourself talking about your day, your tasks, your struggles, your successes. Here again, try and see how it goes. Don’t be scared to test different things like quick video in the car, at the dog show, etc.
7 — List Relevant Hashtags & Post Targeted Content
Do you remember the list of hashtags we used on tip #1? Visit them all, remove the ones you don’t feel are right for you, and add a few more that you found yourself. Keep them as a note somewhere. Now, every new photo or content you post will have to be targeting a few of these hashtags.
You used hashtags to find people in your niche so I hope you realize that people will use hashtags to find… you! Do not bullshit them using fake hashtags such as #rottweilersofinstagram if you post a picture of your Pitbull. You will lose more than you will win.
A good way to come up with great hashtags is to not just describe what is in the picture, but also what action is going on. Most people just use the breed name in the hashtag and all its variations (#pitbulls, #pitbullsofinstagram, #instapits, etc.) but these hashtags although fine to use are extremely used so you won’t be seen often. Add a few action hashtags such as #runningpitbull, #sleepingbully, #barkingpitbull, etc. That way you will compete with a lot fewer pictures and will have more visibility.
The table above shows that pages with most followers tend to post often. Try using different hashtags often not to target the same people over and over again, and post often. The more you post the more you give a chance to random people to find you, and love you, and follow you. (Don’t be obsessive, though!)
8 — Link Your Facebook, Twitter & Other Profiles To Your Instagram Account
If you are on Instagram, I suppose you also are on Facebook, and perhaps on Twitter? You surely have friends and followers on all the platforms you are present on, so use them.
A quick post, image, or video asking your Facebook friends to support you on Instagram will do no harm. Be honest in your request but still make sure you offer them value. Tell them you post original pictures that are not on Facebook, and so on.
They need to win something in the process, perhaps tell them you will share more videos of what’s happening behind the scenes on Instagram so they should definitely check out your content. Be different on each social media!
9 — Create Your Own Hashtag & Spread It Around
Not necessary but it can help to raise awareness about your kennel, come up with a relevant hashtag and use it often on your pictures, ask dog owners you know to use it, and create some sort of hashtag dynamic. It won’t be a worldwide viral hashtag but it can be a bully world viral hashtag. It will take time to take off but once it does, it brings a huge amount of followers.
If you breed XL American bullies, you can showcase your dogs using the #BiggerThanTripleXL or #XLIsNotEnough hashtags. You get the spirit.
If you are starting, do not do it as you won’t have enough followers to launch a movement. This is a strategy that works for Instagram accounts with enough loyal followers who will join you in your effort and spread your hashtag around.