Now that I am looking at having a lot more time on my hands, it may be time to get my pet’s Instagram bringing in a second income. She’s never really understood about money, and my greatest ambition is to be a stay at home cat mom, so it could really benefit us both. Plus, I’ve been telling her for years to get a job.
Lumpkin has had her own Instagram since March 2018. Initially, she invited just the people she knew to be her friends, but her following has grown to over 100 people (and cats) organically. Since I started school in September 2018, posting fell off my radar and the follower count has remained stable, but hasn’t grown. Philly has many local cats who have beaten her out, including the infamous Chonky B (13k followers), who was adopted out of Morris Animal Refuge (12.2k followers). She doesn’t have those connections, but she definitely has some spunk!
When I created her Instagram account, I was experimenting with persona and voice. Now, by signing up for a squarelovin account, I’m monitoring what has worked well in terms of audience engagement. I was surprised to learn that my most liked and most commented posts have very little overlap. In order to grow Lumpkin’s following and engagement, I’m going to make a few posts asking for referrals of new friends, start interacting with the cats she follows, and ask more direct questions of her audience.
Since cats have a sense of smell 14x stronger than a humans, and brains that can remember more smells than they could ever experience, a “What’s that new smell?” video series could be a cute and engaging idea. I let her sniff nearly everything I eat; her reactions are always cute, whether interest or disgust. One of my most recent top performing posts is of Lumpkin sniffing a cheese, and then politely declining to eat it.
Today, I established her colors based on her collar, which can inform the design of the video series and her website. In addition to being cute as a button, she’s just as picky as all cats. My house is overflowing with products she likes and can recommend. However, with messy roommates, it’s is pretty far from being an Instagram playground. As they move out, I’m going to clean (which I am so excited about) and set up Lumpkin’s favorite spots for good lighting and dynamic images.
Luckily for me, Pulsar did a lot of analysis into competitors and cat loving audiences. It seems there are 3 types of cat influencers: The Modelesque, The Peculiar, and The Exotic Anomaly. Lumpkin falls into the first category, which is good news for monetizing my cat: Modelesque cats (like Smoothie) are more likely to hit huge followings. However, a lot of cats with smaller followings have higher engagement.
It turns out that audiences who follow cats also have a wide range of interests, including entertainment, technology, and fitness. Lumpkin’s hashtag game is very weak right now; she definitely isn’t being seen outside of cat lovers. Apparently, many cat accounts use the hashtags of other famous cats to be seen by their followers. I’ve got quite a bit of research to do to get her in front of more people, but the overlap of interests between the cat following audience and other Instagram subjects is likely to be highly informative. #HelloKitty is by far the easiest; I’ve already got much more HK merchandise than is strictly necessary as an adult, and both Lumpkin and the world’s most famous cat are always ready to make a new friend. I’m a Nintendo fanatic, so there’s lots of potential for Animal Crossing shots when the new game comes out. Also, like everyone in the MS-DIM program, I’ve got to get back to working out after we finish, and Lumpkin loves nothing more than doing her own yoga right next to me.
My goal is to double her followers in the first 6 months of 2020. I’m still squarely in research mode, but by posting more regularly, researching effective hashtags, and jumping on trends, I think it’s totally doable. The next goal will be improving comment to like ratios in the second half of 2020.
The good news is, I think Instagrammers will be looking for some nice, distracting, non-political content.