Instagram Part 1

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This week’s task:

‘I want you to try and create and implement an Instagram strategy that you feel will help you reach future, potential clients (whether ad agencies, curators or potential collectors), and then develop your account so you have 30 followers over the course of a week’.

The challenge to create a clearer, engaging strategy for an Instagram feed is a good one. I use mine more as a diary than anything else, although I do now have a reasonably consistent aesthetic and use a standard, clean design.

As a point of history, I joined Instagram on 2nd December, 2010. The service had opened on 9th October, 2010.  Instagram got its first million users by the end of that December. Hashtags were only added in January 2011, the service reached 5 million users in June 2011, 10 million in September 2011 – and the rest is indeed history.

My first Instagram picture – like most other users at that time, with heavy filters 🙂

As a ‘data geek’, I keep track on the analytics available on all digital platforms that I use. On Facebook and Instagram, there really isn’t a lot natively available for personal users (and not really very much, historically, for a business user, which I am). So, over 3 years ago I started keeping track of my own online data. I noted images posted, genres, cameras and social responses. In the case of Facebook, I also keep track of which groups imaged were posted to, and relative response levels. It sounds a bit heavy handed, and it might be, to get started especially. But now, it’s a pretty easy thing to update.

Looking at my Instagram data, I have just over 1600 followers, and I follow around 1200. Besides people messaging us, the only real kind of feedback we all get on social platforms is ‘likes’. Putting aside the debate on whether that likes are a worthy goal, indicative of quality, quantitative data shows that an ‘average’ post gets 50-60 likes, and a good one over 120.

Because I know the data, I could ‘game’ the system by posting more of the ‘engaging types’ of images – but I don’t.

I am not yet focusing on getting a specific kind of ‘professional’ response to my work. If I do decide to do that, it will start with defining a clear, consistent strategy across all platforms – and also defining a consistent type of image to post.

This will need to bring alive my ‘artists’ statement, whilst illustrating the range of my technical skills. I am certain editors do not want to see sunsets, however many ‘likes’ they might get from the general instagram public!

Looking beyond Instagram, I am probably most active on Facebook, and various groups there, with almost 2600 ‘friends’ and followed by over 500 people. I also admin several groups. An average image post will be in the range of 60-100 likes, and a good one over 350. I also have a business page, for my consulting business.

Some years back, I was pretty active on Pinterest, and still use it as for collecting images and creating mood boards. Checking today, I was quite amazed to see that I have over 2400 followers, and routinely get about 120,000 monthly visitors to my pins, with over 4000 actively engaged.

It’s probably also worth noting that my Flickr account has had over 2 million views.

So, stepping back from the task, I do think I have a decent online and digital base, socially and with various stand alone and established websites. My challenge remains strategy. Is this personal or business? And then, an even bigger challenge and the main reason I am on this MA is how to do better work.

I am certain that one tactic will be to get a stronger response from my existing ‘follower base’, as well as build a new following.

For this week’s task, I am running an experiment – and will report later.