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Dethrone the Dog Photo | Instagram Mistakes to Avoid

I’m still trying to find the right way to say this, maybe Dog Photo Phenomenon or Dog Photo Trap? The Baby Photo Blitz? Any way you snap it, I’ve got an unpopular social media opinion. I think it’s time we dethrone the dog photo. I’m throwing the baby photo out with the bath water.

Dog Photos Always Get the Most Likes

black pug is shocked

What am I talking about with this “dethrone the dog photo” stuff? Well, let’s step back a bit. Not only was the very first photo ever posted to Instagram of a dog, but as social media grows, it is very clear that dog photos and entire dog accounts are of the most popular on the platform.

For businesses, posting a photo of a dog lounging in your office or a new puppy that one of your employees just adopted is a sure-fire way to get some of the most likes and comments on your social media posts. People love dogs, people love babies, and both of these photo categories are almost guaranteed to get more likes than other standard business posts.

It can be tempting to say, “dog photos perform the best so we should post dog photos whenever we can”. However, I want to take a quick step back and talk about why businesses have social media accounts in the first place.

What’s The Purpose of Your Social Media?

social media user on phone

Social media accounts are incredible marketing opportunities for businesses. Both Instagram and Facebook are at the top of the list when it comes to valuable social media platforms. They can bring you new business, exposure, build relationships, and do so much to help you grow and expand. But businesses on social media need to have goals and they need to think specifically about what they are posting and why. Check out Five Ways to Use Instagram As a Business if you want to know more about those options. Being on social media is not the goal of social media. Getting likes on social media is not the reason a business is on social media.

Now, wait a minute, you might think, don’t we want great posts that people like to see and engage? Yes, of course, but that’s only the first step. Having great posts that people like and engage with is a means to an end, not the end itself. If all you’re getting is likes and comments, you’re doing well on social media, but it might not be making a difference for your business. Those likes and comments need to translate into website clicks, bookings, purchases, and customers.

Using Dog Photos the Right Way

baby plays with toys
Example of baby photo connected to business goals, selling toys.

So back to dogs and babies. Yes, post dogs and babies, get those likes and get those comments, but make sure it’s done in a way that brings you new business. If you own a resort, have a dog romping through the snow next to one of your cabins. Use it to talk about being dog-friendly. If you own a toy store, post a photo of a baby playing with your toys, not just a shot of your granddaughter at home on Easter. It’s about making sure the content is promoting your business, not just getting attention because it’s a cute photo.

dog drinks boxed water
Example of dog photo connected to business goals, selling Boxed Water.

There are absolutely ways and reasons to use smiling people, happy puppies, and giggling babies on social media, but make sure that you’re actually getting business out of them, not just likes and comments. Social media is an easy trap to get lost in, focusing on growing your followers and increasing your likes without stopping to check in on the quality you’re getting out of it. Are your followers in your area? Are they your target marketing? There’s nothing wrong with getting likes, comments, and followers who aren’t your target market, but your focus should be on reaching the people who will bring you new business.