My Instagram account was thirsty for some new content for quite a while before I continued posting. I’d found that daily posting was reducing my supply at a rate faster than producing/making each post, and so decided to lessen it to one post every week. My two most recent posts have been by far the most successful of any, receiving the most meaningful engagement over the shortest span of time. Both were posted during my ‘peak hours’ I had determined in my last blog post, around the late afternoon/nighttime. They also utilized a different spread of hashtags and the content I feel better resonated with the ‘edgy and nihilistic teen/young adult’ demographic that gravitates to ironic humour and meme pages. My follower count has been growing per post, though it still is yet to make a significant breakthrough in numbers. However, any steady growth is a good sign to continue what’s being done, only attempting it at larger scale. I’m hoping to fine tune my content to better resonate with my audience’s starterpack, as the last two nang posts have done.
Important learning moment; I was put off from posting for a couple days out of frustration, because whenever I tried to make a post my caption and hashtags were mysteriously deleted and the image was posted with no text at all. I thought it was some kind of bug or glitch, but it turns out I was just exceeding the hashtag limit. This proves that I am learning and developing new skills on a platform I’ve had no prior experience with, as I had aimed to do with this project. Each time I’ve made a mistake or done something wrong, I feel as though I’ve had a practical lesson in ‘how not to Instagram’ and improved my skills as I move on with the project (F.E.F.O)!
Plans from here on out; keep my content within this new frame, trying to build up some more follows. Also, fish for some user-generated content, encouraging followers to submit their own nang pics or otherwise for a shout-out tag. I also would like to focus on mainly my own photos, and try to avoid re-posting pictures from other internet pages if I can.
Prototyping; after spending many weeks collecting images into a folder, creating banks of popular hashtags, growing a small following through passive engagement on similar pages, and promoting through my social accounts, I managed to overcome being a pedantic perfectionist and just post something. I was so surprised to find that my first post got more than 3 likes, let alone a MASSIVE 25!!
While not instant viral success, this still subverted my expectations and encouraged me to make a regular posting commitment. I initially searched the internet for answers to a question that had me putting of my posts for a long while; ‘when is the best time to post on Instagram?’ The consensus seemed to be that there is no clear cut answer as each account has a different audience, and so I instead decided to take a scientific approach and figure out the solution for myself. I’ve been posting at different times of day each time I upload a picture, and comparing this with the engagement I’ve received. It seems the best time is the late afternoon, however with my small sample of posts to base this assumption on I am mindful that the content itself may also be effecting the engagement. Hopefully a clearer picture emerges on when my ‘peak times’ are and what type of content warrants the best engagement as my posts accumulate.
As for my actual content, I was finding that as I gathered photos (and took some of my own) to be used on this account that many of them were funny. I then decided to deviate from my original ‘artsy photography’ approach and attempt more of a ‘meme-page’ style, with ironic, ‘shit-post’-esque captions. I’ve found this frame works well so far, and have received positive feedback from both friends and strangers.
Also, to make sure I’m posting regularly I’ve been utilising a planner app for Instagram called ‘PLANN’. Though it has been somewhat effective, I want to try out other services (specifically Later) because they were suggested to me as better alternatives by friends. After testing both, I’ll decide which is more effective based on my own productivity and how that encourages audience engagement.
Initially when thinking about my DA I was going to continue my project from BCM112; a podcast that broadly covered gaming topics. The problem is, this time I wanted to do it differently. In my ‘beta’ version of this podcast I put in the least effort possible with nothing more than me, a couple friends and an hour in front of a microphone. I quickly noticed I was not engaging with my audience by being yet another bland, uninspired gaming podcast in a sea of thousands. Then, when faced with the task of trying to segment and uniquely brand my podcast, I hit a wall of apathy towards the idea. It wasn’t something I felt passionately enough about to put meaningful time towards. I went back to the drawing board in scoping out my own interests and empathising with a targeted audience.
I’d been stuck in a loop of throwing ideas through my head, and felt for sure I’d push back my pitch date to next week. Then as I’m just chillin’ in bed that fateful Sunday night listening to a vaporwave mix, thinking about how the audio and visuals are making me feel, I began to hatch an idea. I thought about a very particular, niche kind of aesthetic image in my mind; objects that are lost, discarded, or forgotten. Photographs of inanimate storytellers, or amusingly misplaced objects. Feelings of curiosity, solitude, and days past are evoked by the polar contrasts seen in this type of image. It’s something I’d seen all over the internet, but never congregated into one place. What better way to create an aesthetic album than in your own pics folder? On Instagram, of course.
So, I’ve found this gap in aesthetic Instagram accounts and intend to fill it with this project. In being able to empathise with those interested in these kind of images through my own interests in photography and the ‘aesthetics’ culture, I was able to define a useful aggregation of media into one place. Now my focus is on conveying my message through the Instagram medium by deconstructing the medium itself; hashtags, prime-times, like/follow pods and harmonious grid layouts/colour palettes are all essential in creating a clickable, interesting and ‘a e s t h e t i c’ experience for the targeted audience. At the moment I am experimenting with filters and colours in the grid layout, while also trying to build up a bank of these ‘misplaced stuff’ images for regular scheduled posting to commence. I’ve also been exploring accounts that overlap in content and memetic qualities with my own concept and liking/following these accounts to build an audience while also noting popular hashtags. I’ve also ensured my Instagram is set up as a business account so I can utilise demographic analytics to fine tune my process and get feedback on my posts from passive users of the platform who are not inclined to comment direct qualitative advice or critique. Hopefully in creating this Instagram account I can learn some new skills on a platform I’m mostly new to using, which will build up my portfolio and capabilities as a digital media maker for the future.