How Top Pet Influencers Iro, Ollie & Winky Hit 100K Instagram Followers
Meet one of Australia's most-loved furry families.
Katy and Shell are two style-savvy dog mums celebrating the best in pet-friendly living. A professional pet photographer and dog lifestyle writer, together they share dog-friendly inspiration, pet product reviews, dog treat recipes, expert pet advice and on-trend dog brands with discerning pet parents around the world.
Ever wondered how all the top pet influencers on social media gain their huge followings?
We’ve all witnessed the meteoric rise of dog influencer accounts on Instagram and TikTok, with many now-famous names such as Hugo and Ursula landing lucrative brand partnerships and making over $100K a year in sponsorships deals.
But it’s not all about the money. Connecting with fellow dog lovers, and creating a dedicated community through helpful, meaningful and ridiculously cute content, can be just as fulfilling.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular dog accounts on Instagram here in Australia, we’ve been long-time followers of the loveable trio behind ItsWoofs – devoted dog mum Iromi (Iro), and her two adorable cavoodles, Ollie and Winky.
We sat down with the lovely Iro to learn about her experience becoming a popular dog mum and pet influencer, plus her top tips for growing your following while creating the kind of content you love.
*Feature image courtesy of Amarante Lifestyle Studio.
Hi Iro! Firstly, why did you originally start your account on Instagram?
Initially, it was to keep a photo journal of Ollie’s life with us. A couple of months after getting Ollie, we were stuck in long Melbourne lockdowns, so I kept myself busy with his Instagram account.
I’ve always had a passion for photography and education. So with time, I was able to incorporate these passions into the content I was creating on Instagram.
How long did it take for your account to reach 100K followers?
Ollie first came home on the 19th of December 2019, and that’s when we made our very first post. We reached 100K in November 2022, so a little less than 3 years.
While we grew steadily, there have been times we grew rapidly due to a few of our reels that went viral.
What content has resonated with your followers the most? Why do you think that is?
There are two kinds of content that our followers seem to love – emotional and educational.
Our very first reel to reach over 1 million views, was a cute reel of Ollie hanging onto my legs (which he does when he wants attention!) I think people connect to emotional videos like that because it’s a simple visual representation of what loving our furry family members can be like.
Then when Winky joined our family, I started creating reels about puppy training tips and ‘how-to’ reels on basic tricks. Our followers really connect with this kind of educational content – one of these tutorials has over 8 million views and resulted in so many new followers.
Roughly how much time do you spend on Instagram every week / per reel?
It really depends. Some content happens naturally and doesn’t take much time at all. Otherwise, it takes a couple of hours per reel on average.
Most of the time I don’t post regularly, perhaps 3 times a week maximum with at least one reel per week.
Contrary to popular belief, I think our audience appreciates quality over quantity!
What have you loved most about sharing your life with Ollie and Winky on Instagram?
Other than having the ability to share my creative side, I love all of the connections and friendships I’ve made.
A couple of my closest real-life friends at the moment are fellow dog mums I’ve met through Instagram!
What has been the biggest challenge of running your account?
Apart from the normal challenges like lack of time and the risks of social media, I find it personally challenging due to self-doubt.
I’m a woman of colour, and English is not my first language. So I’m really insecure about showing my face or talking to the camera.
It’s been challenging to put myself out there…but I know if I do, I can make better content. So I’m definitely working on it.
Who are some of your favourite dog accounts to follow and why?
This often changes depending on what our preferences are at the time. Recently we have been loving pet travel content and accounts related to that.
But consistently, one of my favourite accounts to follow is @samsonthedood. Their account is so wholesome and real, it makes me happy every time I see a post.
Do you work with many brands or create much sponsored content?
You might be surprised to hear the answer is ‘not really’! We never do ambassador programs, and we are very selective about who and what we promote.
We are very much aware of our environmental impact, so we don’t accept products we don’t use. We don’t want to test too many new things on Ollie and Winks as it is not good to do so (we don’t promote dog food or dog treats for this reason).
And most of all, we really value our time and effort, and want to work with quality dog brands who value our work too.
Any brands in particular you’d love to work with?
We’d love to work with businesses aiming to promote pet-friendly travel in Australia, as we love to travel with Ollie and Winks and give them all the experiences life has to offer. We always see our overseas dog friends travelling, and Australia has so much to catch up on.
Dogs are part of our family, so it’s important for us to include them in all aspects of our life, and I know other dog owners who feel the same. It’ll be wonderful to make people more aware of all the amazing pet-friendly travel opportunities available.
What are your top 3 tips for growing your account and becoming a successful pet influencer?
My number one tip is to stay true to yourself and do what makes you happy – content comes naturally when you are doing something you love!
You may go viral overnight, but you will also burn out quickly if you don’t do things you enjoy.
My second tip is that you can always incorporate what you love into trends. Don’t just follow trends, because that space is saturated anyway – try using the trend as inspiration to make content that’s unique and true to your own style.
The final tip is that your mental health is important, so make sure you take care of it. It’s OK to take a break, there’s no need to explain.
Sometimes I don’t post for a week or so, and our account is doing just fine.
Want to find more top pet influencers on Instagram or TikTok?
- These 10 famous dogs on Instagram
- Nominees for the 2022 American Influencer Awards
- This adorable list of the best dog Instagrams to follow
I’m Iro, proud owner of my two gorgeous furbabies, Oliver and Winky Woof.
Ollie is a three-year-old cavoodle who came into our life right before the pandemic. Raising him during lockdowns inspired us to take pet-friendly walks and adventures with him.
Winky joined our family eight months ago. She loves learning and exploring, and we have so much fun training her!
To learn more about us, our adventures, and training tips, follow us on social media or read our blog below.
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