Week 3: Instagram
I would argue Instagram is currently the most effective social media platform for self promotion. If you have not got an Instagram account already, then I would like you to set one up.
This week 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.
Use the space below to discuss your strategy and the results with your peers. What has worked? What has not worked? Comment on each other’s posts with constructive criticism.
I have set up an Instagram account for the first time @sarahnewtonphotography
I started on Saturday afternoon and have focussed on my project Beauty and the Beach…
It is getting a little addictive….especially as I misread/read too quickly the instructions for the task. I have been aiming for 300 followers not 30!!!!! So lesson learned, a little like reading an exam question thoroughly before answering!
What else have I learned? You can get friends and family responding as well as people from all over the world who you may not have expected. I seem to have struck a chord with fishermen!
My son put out an appeal for others to follow me from his account! This created some additions.
I was informed by someone else that you can pay people to add lots of tags and also get your site following lots of others if you want to get hundreds/thousands/millions of followers. I have been contacted by one or two since I started.
Some links are made that seem to be automated ?bots?
Some are from organisations saying I have won a drone or can win a Nikon D5300 if I click various buttons……
Other links are decidedly suspect.
Clearly focussing on your key associations for the work you are wishing to promote is important Although I have tried using #tags I am doing so from a limited viewpoint. I know some organisations who may have an interest in my images but many associated services/sites/magazines etc are not yet known to me and my spotting them on Instagram or guessing what their tag may be is pretty random at the moment. So doing my homework first is another lesson I have learned and would save a huge amount of time on Instagram.
Does it really matter how many followers you have? I suspect the numbers do not equate to productivity in terms of opportunities that may arise. How many photographers get work through Instagram?
Results to date
18 posts 84 followers I am following 211
Of the 18 images all have multiple likes with one leading at 17 Rock n’Ropes and the next down being 12 Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise! So what does a like mean? What is its value in terms of the ratio of time and effort choosing and preparing an image for Instagram to having something happen as a positive outcome?
More to be said at the end of this week…..
It is one week since setting up my Instagram account. On Thursday/early Friday I peaked with 130 followers. Although more have said they are now following since then there has clearly been a dropping out too. As of Saturday afternoon I am following 276, have posted 36 images including one that was not mine and was a course colleague seeing how far a post could reach. I now have 122 followers.
I think that not posting as much in the past few days has meant a drop in interest/ boredom with just posting images of rubbish in situ on beaches. Also people who responded to the call to raise the number of my followers (by my son) may have done that initially and have withdrawn as they had no interest in my theme and images in the first place.
I have observed different interest groups responding to different posts. For example, individuals and groups who fish like the ropes and nets images and fans of beer and wine like the cans and bottles images.
I am planning to post more images soon, still on my project theme Beauty and the Beach… and will see whether different interest groups emerge.
The process of uploading to Instagram has reminded me of feeding Tamagotchi’s in the past. The Instagram beast needs regular feeding with images if one is to keep a reasonable profile going. But what is a reasonable profile and is it good to have lots of followers rather than fewer (quality not quantity)? I can see it would be easier to develop some level of relationship with followers with fewer so that you strengthen and build a solid fan base rather than fleeting and non-dependable temporary followers who are just passing through.
At the end of the day if it is being used as a marketing tool to sell images and products, regardless of how well you hashtag, it is like selling a house. You may have lots of views but the unique features of your house will only be appreciated by a few. With that in mind is it better to target the people who are most likely to purchase through specific activities outside Instagram (i.e. direct contact methods and other internet platforms)?
Coincidentally The Times published an article in the Magazine on Saturday at the end of my week. “Am I too old to be an Instagram Influencer?” by Polly Vernon Although my project is not about fashion or looks or promoting particular brands as ‘influencers’ seem to be it did make me wonder whether age is an issue. Not necessarily older age where specific interests may be shared with like minded others but because some of my research this week has shown very young people using it and as with other social media platforms there may be potential problems arising from the information they are giving about age and location and the items they are posting.