How Did a Cat Get 743,000 Instagram Followers? We Talked to @IAMLILBUB and Found Out

Pets on Instagram. I follow my fair share of Insta-famous pets, but what makes them famous? Everybody can post pictures of his or her cute animals, but only handfuls are recognizable in the social media world. I picked the brains of the owners of some famous Instagram pets, @iamlilbub (Mike Bridavsky) and @Chloepomstagram (Parker Smith), and discovered some tips and tricks that lead to their success.

Give them a Voice

Mike said a friend of his saw BUB, and said he should start a blog for her. He said he thought it would be a fun, sort-of-ironic thing to do. Initially, Mike made a Tumblr for BUB. He answered questions in her voice because it was funny. Then, he decided to say she was from outer space. Giving BUB a voice and a personality clearly worked. Now, Lil Bub has more than 743,000 followers on Instagram.

"BUB: A rare and stunning specimen of pure innocence and wonder. #lilbub #scienceandmagic"

"BUB: A rare and stunning specimen of pure innocence and wonder. #lilbub #scienceandmagic"

Photography is Key

Parker said quality photography indicates likes (most of the time). She said people are more compelled to like a photo and tag their friends when they see a well-photographed picture, especially one that has meaning.

"Halftime walk in the park #gohawks #inrusswetrust #pom #pomstagram #chloepomstagram"

"Halftime walk in the park #gohawks #inrusswetrust #pom #pomstagram #chloepomstagram"

Mike said there are a lot of things that factor into the amount of engagement that BUB's posts get, but obviously the content itself is a huge part of it. He spends a lot of time getting great photographs and videos, with a lot of variety. He treats her social media as her main source of content. It's sparse, it's good, it's original, it's relevant, and it's simple.

"#lilbub #newyorkkitty"

"#lilbub #newyorkkitty"

Consistency

Parker said an account that is consistently posting quality pictures will gain more followers and likes, because fans know what to expect. Fans want to be a part of the personality that is created within the account. You’re creating a brand, after all.

Mike said people need to be able to remember something about your pet. Once you stick with a consistent theme, it will attract fans.

Go Behind the Scenes

Show them a glimpse of the real stuff. People love real-life, stripped content. Fans like feeling like they get a glimpse inside the daily life of whomever they are following.

"Ran around the mall all day with my human and when we got to the last store, my legs were jello. She just doesn't know when to stop!"

"Ran around the mall all day with my human and when we got to the last store, my legs were jello. She just doesn't know when to stop!"

Mike said BUB's story is integral to her following. She isn't a meme or an internet sensation—she is a real cat with a real story (but also a fictitious one) and a real message. That's why her fan base has consistently grown since it started more than three years ago, and also why her fan base is so committed.

"#lilbub #scienceandmagic"

"#lilbub #scienceandmagic"

Culture

One way to attract followers is to insert yourself into the conversation. These days, pop culture plays such a big role in what’s “trending now”. Take some time to think about what’s happening around you, like Chloe during the SuperBowl.

"#bluemonday in celebration of yesterday's big W! #pom #seahawks #SuperBowl #repete #chloepomstagram #1fan #12 #12dog"

"#bluemonday in celebration of yesterday's big W! #pom #seahawks #SuperBowl #repete #chloepomstagram #1fan #12 #12dog"

Hashtag It

This kind-of ties into culture. One way to grow your pet’s online social media presence and generate content is to use hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday or #TransformationTuesday. There’s always some content you can create out of nothing on a slow day.

Humor

Parker said everyone likes something that brightens their day and makes them feel good. Chances are, if it makes them feel good, they’ll spread the content to their friends to share the positivity!

"Happy #friday #tgif #pom #pomeranian #partyallnight #sleepallday #nocturnal #chloepomstagram #bunny"

"Happy #friday #tgif #pom #pomeranian #partyallnight #sleepallday #nocturnal #chloepomstagram #bunny"

"From BUB's most recent BUBle BATH. #bubath #BUBblebath #lilbub"

"From BUB's most recent BUBle BATH. #bubath #BUBblebath #lilbub"

Relationship

Last of all, a common quality among the pets I follow is their unique relationships with their owners. Showing a genuine relationship between you and your pet will attract followers, hands down. 

What's the takeaway?

Mike said the key factors are consistency; fresh, original content; not over-saturating or over-posting; fewer words and more images; and interacting and maintaining an accessible rapport with your fans.

So go now, make your pet famous! Give them a voice, take amazing photographs, consistently post, and give people an inside look into what makes your pet unique and lovable.