Small businesses are always looking for ways to improve their advertising reach for as little cost as possible. One of the best ways to reach people without paying a cent is by social media platforms. Instagram is a platform that has seen increased usage for exactly that – and not just by creative industries. With my digital artifact, I sought to engage with Instagram as a creative way to advertise my photography business without seeming like I was doing so. I would attempt to utilise the platform effectively from the perspective of someone who had never used it before to prove that it can be done.
Initially my project was going to test the platform’s reach effectiveness with content unrelated to my business – however I deemed that a waste of resources. I scrapped the idea when thinking about the F.I.S.T principles – from the beginning I had wanted to work on my business, so it was better to actually put the energy available into directly doing so, rather than experimenting on a ‘dummy’ account. I took a few different approaches to experimenting with the platform, but I eventually settled on the strategy of curating content at the beginning of the month in a cyclical/milestone inspired format, in rows of 3, and uploading regularly (3 times a week). To maintain effective reach I researched the trending hashtags of the day that were most related to the content and placed them in the comments.
Coming from the perspective of someone who had never curated an Instagram account before, I wanted to prove to myself and others that the task was no where near as daunting as it seemed. Inspired by my sister-in-law’s journey to finding a decent wedding photographer, I carefully constructed my content in a way that used hashtags to not only describe the content, but what I do in my business, and where I am located, and where my photoshoots took place for people who would be searching using those terms.
I had equal parts success and failure with my journey, which is still ongoing. My successes came when after a series of trials and errors, I became familiar with the hashtag mechanics and effective hashtags to maximise reach with a word limit. My biggest challenge was growth of the page itself – particularly with the current issue of accounts following and unfollowing to gain likes on their own accounts, which seems to be rampant on the platform. At my page’s peak, I gained approximately 80 followers, however I “lost” almost half of these followers. The additional challenge therein lies with gaining genuine followers who actually ‘absorb’ my content.
If I continue to plan my content effectively from month to month and upload that content regularly, I believe the page likes should grow steadily, even in taking into account the follow/unfollows. From the trends I’ve seen on the content I have uploaded, it seems the most effective content seems to be the lighthearted and happy subjects rather than what I deem humorous or amusing. Going forward I will adjust my content accordingly, finding a balance between my own creative niche and the peculiarities of Instagram as a marketing platform.