May 8, 2024
The dog trainer’s guide to creating and boosting Instagram content

Blog post on creating Instagram content for dog trainers

Excellent, you’ve now set up your professional Instagram account. But what are you going to post? 

We talked about the specific types of content you can create on Instagram here and have also given you some social media template ideas here. 

But in case you need some more specific ideas, why not showcase your expertise with:

  • “How to” tips and tricks — use video reels, picture carousels, or static pictures with captions
  • Client success stories and testimonials — use video reels or carousel posts
  • Demo techniques and fun stuff in reels and stories
  • Behind the scenes glimpses of your life as a dog trainer — stories are ideal for this as they only last 24 hours

Now, let’s dig into how to maximize the potential of your content.

Tips for eye-catching content

  • Increase visual “wow” factor by using high-quality (but not necessarily professionally shot) video and photos. Instagram is about creating human connections so sometimes highly polished video and images can be off-putting. Be honest: show the mud, hair, and realities of what you do — just be sure your images are clear and well-shot. Not sure how to do this? Here are our guides on taking and editing great photos with your phone!
  • Make your graphics and captions are clear and appealing. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to read the text and caption on a post because it blends into the picture or video underneath, the font is too fancy, or the size is too small to see.
  • Use consistent branding so your “stuff” is recognizable as yours. There is little point working yourself to the bone producing superb content if no one can tell instantly who it belongs to.

Side note: What are your goals?

Before you create anything, think about WHY you’re creating it. You can spend a lot of time creating posts, videos, and stories that do absolutely nothing for your business — i.e., spaghetti-at-the-wall marketing — if you don’t have some sort of strategy behind your work. 

Please don’t be that person! Instead, take 2 minutes to ask yourself:

Do you want the post to:

  • Increase exposure to new eyeballs?
  • Encourage your viewers to interact and engage with your content? (So the algorithm shows it to more people…)
  • Persuade your viewers to take a specific action — e.g., go to your website to read a blog post, download a freebie, sign up for a webinar, etc.?

Once you know what you want the piece to achieve you can use Instagram’s analytics to see if you met your goal or not. That way you can repeat what works and tweak or reject what doesn’t.

Strategies for Instagram success

Here is an overview of the main strategies used on Instagram for each of the goals above…

To increase exposure

Use hashtags: 

Hashtags are a way to categorize your content. How does this work? Hashtags are searchable and followable — so someone could search “#clickertraining,” and then follow that hashtag so posts with that hashtag appear in their feed.

Ideally, use hashtags that have high numbers of posts, but not so high your posts will get lost. Do some research to find out what will be a good fit for your business. Once you’ve decided which ones to use, be consistent about it.

Good hashtags might be ones local to you (e.g. #HoustonTexas), breeds you own or specialize in training (e.g. #bordercollie) or types of training (e.g. #nosework, #anxiouspups, #clickertraining). 

You can also create a branded hashtag for your business. This gives followers something to include on their own posts or those they share from you. Try encouraging your clients to share success posts about their dog’s progress — and include your branded hashtag for their audience to see.

Another way to use hashtags is to participate in hashtag challenges and trends. Again, this gets your content in front of new people so they know you exist.

Tag a friend:

A simple way of getting your stuff seen is to ask people to comment on your post and tag a friend who might also be interested

“My puppy ate my phone yesterday!! What’s the naughtiest thing your puppy’s done this week? Post a pic and tag a friend who’s also got a naughty puppy!” 

This can be super effective and it’s very easy to do.

Tag a bigger business:

If you do product reviews, don’t forget to tag the product company for items you love. Most businesses would be happy to share your review as long as it paints them in a good light. 

Similarly, if you engage the help of a canine specialist such as a rehab physio or groomer, write a review — or showcase the outcome they go for you — and tag them. Again, they’re highly likely to share your post.

(If you or your business gets tagged by someone be sure to comment and share the post. It’s always good to share the love!)

To boost your engagement

Be present:

Instagram rewards engagement. The more people interact with your posts, reels, and stories, the further they’ll be promoted by the algorithm. 

(BTW, did you know Instagram has a primary algorithm, and different algorithms for reels and the explore page? Yep! What might work in one context, doesn’t necessarily work in another.)

You can help drive engagement by responding to comments and direct messages on your content promptly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and encourage discussions in your captions. 

By having conversations with people, you’ll build “know, like and trust” with your audience. They get to see who you are and what you stand for. Your values and thoughts are important to them as it gives people insight to how you think — and whether you might be a good match to help them.

Go live:

I know that can be scary but you talk to people you don’t know every time you work with a new client! By hosting live streams where you discuss relevant topics or have interactive Q&A sessions, you’ll grow your audience AND let your audience find out who you are in real life — what you look like, how you speak, the sound of your laugh, etc. 

Why bother? Because people buy from people, not businesses.

User-generated content:

You can encourage people to interact with your content or make posts of their own by asking them to post about their training successes, pictures of their dogs doing specific things, or tell you about their biggest puppy challenges — or whatever you choose. Ask them to include a specific hashtag so their posts can be found. 

Create highlights:

If you create stories, they disappear after 24 hours. But did you know you can save them to “Highlights”? Highlights are a place for you to use Stories to showcase your best content and resources, making them permanently accessible.

Want to know more? Checkout this Buffer post about creating highlights for your business account. 

Take action:

You can promote services or upcoming events with actionable links. To encourage people to do whatever it is you want them to do, include a Call To Action.

You can do this using clickable buttons, stickers, and links. Make sure your labels are explicit and spell out exactly what you’d like the person to do (e.g., “download now”, “Sign up”, “read now.”)

It helps to include the benefit to them — the reason why they should click — to provide context (e.g. “download the free checklist to help…”; “sign up for my puppy challenge because…”; “read the full article on the website to learn…”).

Review, tweak, rinse, and repeat

One of the best features of the Instagram business account is Insights. You can use this to track engagement metrics, analyze which types of content perform best, and adjust your content strategy based on data.

It also makes sense to test different posting times and frequencies to find out if your audience is more, or less, active at specific times or days of the week. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with content formats to find what hits the mark. 

Just like any marketing you do, you’ll get the most out of your efforts by being thoughtful, setting goals, and then assessing how well your strategy worked. Do this consistently and watch your audience grow. And don’t forget to follow Click and Repeat while you’re there!

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