If you’re a dog walker and/or pet sitter, don’t sleep on using Instagram to market your business! Instagram is a great place for you to connect with your ideal customers.
If you’ve decided that Instagram is the social media platform for you, let’s make sure you have a good understanding of the app so that you can use it to your advantage.
The Instagram Basics
Just in case you’ve never opened the app before, I’m going to give you a quick rundown. When you open the app, you essentially have two menus – the menu at the top and the menu on the bottom.
Across the bottom you have – in this order – Home, Search, Reels, Shopping, and Profile. The home button is your home screen. This is your feed. On here, you will see all your friend’s stories across the top in bolder circles – you can click through those horizontally. Vertically, you will just see a feed compilation based on what/who you’re following and what you’ve shown interest in.
The search brings up the search function – starting with the Explore page. The Explore page will preview lots of popular content to try and guess what you might want to search for. Once you hop into the search bar, you can search for hashtags, accounts, places, shops, and more!
Reels will take you to the Reels feed. Reels are a special type of video content made specifically for Instagram. Wanna know more about Reels? Read this blog post.
Shopping will take you to shops. Instagram is a shoppable platform which means you can buy items directly from there. There are loads of great big and small shops to check out on Instagram.
Finally, you have your profile. Your profile houses a ton of information and is the first thing your audience sees when wanting to learn more about you and your business. That means, it’s important to have your full profile totally optimized and working for you.
The top menu is even easier! First, you have a big plus sign inside of a box. That’s how you add content. This button will allow you to create a reel, post, story, video, or even a live. Next to that, you have the heart. This houses all your notifications – likes, shares, comments, etc. The last icon is an arrow and it stores all of your direct messages.
Now that you have an understanding of Instagram’s setup and features, let’s dive into how to use Instagram for your dog walking business!
Instagram For Dog Walkers: Get Visual
Instagram rule #1 is to get visual! Instagram literally requires you to! Unlike Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you cannot post a post without an image. It will not allow it! Instagram has designed its entire platform around visuals. The text portion of your caption is regulated with much less space than the image.
Reminder: You’re A Local Business
One of the most valuable aspects of Instagram is its locality function. As a dog walker or pet sitter, you are a location-based business. Chances are, you serve one main area, city, or town. This means that the customers that you want, or need, to attract, must be local. Connecting with local customers can be harder than it seems though – the timing matters. You can’t just walk up to people and shout “I walk dogs!”
That’s where Instagram comes in. People can use Instagram to search for dog walkers in their specific area. How can you make sure that you show up as an option for them? Tag your posts with the city, park, area, or event in your local area. This tells Instagram where you are. This marks you in these places.
This all makes it that much more likely that someone in your area looking for what you do can find you, and after all, that’s the entire goal!
Instagram For Dog Walkers: Show Your Face!
So you’re on Instagram and you’re tagging your photos in the right location… now what? Now you have to get personal. Do you know what the most popular content amongst dog walkers is? Dog photos. Do you know what kind of content is the least common? YOU content! We need to change that!
When planning your posts, don’t forget to plan some content about yourself. It doesn’t need to be complicated. When you’re posting about how much fun the pups had or how beautiful the view is, slip in a little piece of information about you.
Sharing information about yourself will help you to connect with your audience and more importantly, will help them to get to know you better. The more they know you, the more they will come to trust you and the more likely you are to convince that person to trust you with their baby! And trust is hugely important in your industry!
Not every pet business is the same. What works for pet photographers, pet shops, and trainers may not work for you. Recognize what it is that makes your business unique. To capitalize on your target audience you need to get visual and stop the scroll, get local and make it clear you service THEIR area, and finally, open up and let them meet the beautiful person that is you!
The rest will handle itself.