Week Twelve: Plan Ahead and post multiple times during the week
For the month of July, my current follower count is 67, which is actually an overall decrease of 17.3% in total followers. Total followers gained? -14 Week Eight I was up to 74 followers, so the numbers are accurate.
Week Twelve, aka, the final week. Since it’s my last week, I wanted to save the big push till the end. According to moosestudioblog.com, “you don’t have to post to Instagram every hour, but definitely everyday if you want to stay relevant. Consistency is what will propel you forward. If you post too much, you will saturate your followers feeds and annoy them. Track your engagement to see your optimism posting days and times. We tend to have the most engagement after 10pm because a lot of our followers are on the opposite side of the world as us. Crazy, right!? People want to know that you are reliable, and can count on content from you. It keeps you relevant. Many of us give up before we see results, but we promise if you keep going, you will gain momentum.”
This week I will post something everyday and see if the proof is in the pudding.
Sunday: Cookies (20 likes, no comments)
Monday: Personal photo (me in Boston)
Week Eleven: Tag Brands
This week was my lazy week because my husband and I were sick as DOGS! I used this week to my advantage to tag the brand who helped with my recipe for the week. HELLO FRESH! Moose Studio Blog says that, “tagging brands and vendors in your photos is essential to building your Instagram following quickly. Not only will it notify the people you tagged, but also expand the reach of your photo. Chances are, the person you tagged will want to re-share the photo on their feed and tag YOU back! This will result in even more exposure and credibility for your business.”
Not only was I lazy this week, but tagging brands didn’t really garner the best results and I was kind of surprised. Only 11 likes and 1 comment. This was the least amount of engagement on any of my posts since my project began. Mental note: Tagging Brands may not mean anything.
Week Ten: Use a Call-to-Action
A call to action is basically saying, “Hey! Like my post… PLEASEEE!” But in a not so desperate way. Some examples that Kate from The Shop Files suggests are:
- Click link in bio / Shop link in profile (psst > Never update your Instagram link again with this simple tool)
- Tag a friend who …
- Hop on over to the blog
- Share your next (theme/experience) using #shophashtag so we can see what you’re up to!
- Ask a question
- Leave a comment below …
I chose a simple one: “Leave a comment below” and I actually got two comments! 32 likes also on this post, which I was pleased to see. I definitely think active engagement and speaking to those following you tends to show better results than if you’re lazy and just post a photo and call it a day. Building a following is a lot of work!
Week Nine: Use a GeoTag
According to moosestudioblog.com, “a geo tag is like a check in on Facebook. If you have a physical location for your business, then you must set it up as a custom location and tag it in each post. If your business is worldwide, then use the location that you took the photo in or the city you want to attract customers from. According to Simply measured, Instagram posts that feature a location see a 50% higher engagement rate.”
This week, I included a GeoTag and I will for all of my posts going forward to see if it helps with my engagement. This weeks post included a lot of the tips suggested over the past several weeks: Filter, hashtags, multiple photos, emoji’s in the caption. Engagement was pretty average: 26 likes.
Week Eight: Catch-up/Recap
As of this morning, I have 74 followers… 74! I’ve definitely changed my strategy over the past two weeks, and it’s obviously working. I’ve begun posting personal pictures, posting more than once throughout the week and I spend a lot of time engaging with others on instagram (through likes, following other accounts and commenting on photos I really like.) This week in particular, I spent a lot of time on the “home” page of Instagram. The more time I spend being active, the more activity I receive. I continue to use hashtags, I continue to use filters, but this seems to be working best for me. This week was fun because it’s 4th of July, my husband’s birthday is on the 4th of July and I will be in Boston the week of July 10th, so I’ll be able to engage quite a bit through my continued cooking posts, but also with varied personal posts. I think there is something important about personalizing an account (whether it’s cooking, fashion, etc) because my most popular post was actually a photo I posted on #throwbackthursday of me in Amsterdam, and I received 72 likes. The second most popular post? A post dedicated to my dad on Father’s Day. This received 53 likes.
My 4th of July Seven Layer Dip post received 25 likes
Week Seven: Ask a question in your caption
For the month of June, I gained a total of 32 followers. My current follower count is 53, which is an increase of 152.4% up from 21 followers at the end of May.
This week I got back into the “engagement” piece of gaining a following and along with my post, asked my followers a question in my caption. Did anyone respond?? (Noooo…. Womp womp.) But that’s ok! The point is that I did it and I did get 26 likes and 1 comment! According to Humble & Whole, “it’s a no-brainer that people enjoy talking about themselves. With your next caption, take the time to construct an easy-to-answer question, and you should definitely see an increase in comments.”
I would have to argue that this isn’t necessarily the case and if I should have seen an increase in the comments, this really fell flat.
Week Six: Post Multiple Photos
Another recent update to the app, is the ability to add multiple photos to one post, and this week, that’s just what I did! Creating beautiful pictures is really important, especially on Instagram, since it’s a photo sharing/marketing site. Some tips for mastering the art of the “perfect” post are to always use a simple background and only use natural light. For my asian salmon bowl, I posted two photos. Each week I take the photos in the exact same spot: On a table we have in front of a window in our home, and always in some type of white dish. According to Josh and Michaela of Moosestudioblog.com, “Instagram is a visual platform, therefore your photos need to be top notch. No exceptions. With iPhones pretty much being the norm, it honestly blows our mind when an ugly photo pops up in our feed. How is that even possible!? That to us, and most everyone else, communicates laziness. #sorrynotsorry
If you want to capture your audience’s attention and turn them into raving fans, then you have to blow them away and make them stop scrolling.”
This week didn’t have the same results as posting the video, but garnered results I was pleased with: 27 likes and 1 comment.
Week Five: Post Videos, not just Photos
Videos haven’t always been present on Instagram. It’s a relatively new feature on the site and it’s one that people are beginning to take more and more advantage of. For my pizza posting, I decided to give it a shot and see what the response was. The engagement was the highest since this project began! 49 likes and 1 comment.
Week Four: Engage with others through Liking and Commenting
Personally, I love when I get a “like” or a new follower on Instagram. It makes me feel like the popular girl in school. What’s even better is when I like or comment on someone’s feed that I follow and they actually comment back! It’s seriously like social media gold. This week my focus was to pay-it-forward to others. I continue to utilize filters and hashtags each week, but outside of my own Instagram I wanted to be a presence with those who have so kindly chosen to follow me. Lauren Schroer, a blogger from Ontario Canada and who has almost 2200 followers says this: “I know that if I notice a person liking or commenting on a bunch of my photos, I’ll often click on their profile and maybe end up following them, so it can be very effective! Don’t go too overboard with liking one person’s photos though because then it can be a bit spammy and annoying. Try and keep the likes to 1-10 (at most) per profile at a time!”
So this week, that is what I did. I put a lot of time, effort and focus into scrolling through my feeds and engaging with my followers and those I follow through liking and commenting.
Week Three: Posting at a specific Time
According to Sprout Social, “Knowing the best times to post on social media can make the difference between one click or 10. Always fish where the fish are biting.” The importance of posting at different times is stressed on most sites that I researched. Most followers and those engaging on social media sites aren’t in the same time zone, so what I’m posting at 8pm followers in Europe may not see until the following day, thus, hindering the chances for engagement. To avoid always posting at the same time, going forward, I will alternate the times at which I post. This way engagement will vary and I won’t necessarily miss those “perfect” times.
Week Two: #HASHTAGS
While Hot Chicken was tasty, it wasn’t a very active week for me on Instagram. It was the first week I used #hastags and I thought I’d receive more activity than I did using just a filter, but that wasn’t the case. I used the same filter, clarendon, and eight #hashtags.
I continue to read over and over again that hashtags are one of the best ways to engage your audience, but that they’re also a good tool to captivate a new audience searching for specific tags. In my case, it’ll be other “foodies.” They say to use popular hashtags, but also to get creative and make your own. Going forward, that is what I’ll do. I’ll continue to use hashtags, but I’ll create my own and depending on the recipe, they will be focused around what I’m making. If I’m making chocolate chip cookies, the hashtags I use will be centered around this type of dish.
Next week: Formatting instagram posts and posting at a specific time.
Week One: FILTERS
Unfortunately, Hootsuite doesn’t offer analytic reporting for Instagram, so I had to choose a new site. Sprout Social is a site that will be helpful for this project and the first 30 days is free! If I’m unable to find a site that is comparable for cheaper within the next couple weeks, I will continue to use Sprout Social through the end of the semester.
As discussed previously, week one included posting on Instagram and using a filter. After doing some research, I found that “Clarendon” is the most popular filter. It’s popular for two reasons:
- It’s the very first selection after the “original” filter
- It offers the greatest amount of brightness to your photo
According to Vogue, “A filter is not always needed, but is a good idea 80 percent of the time. Many girls adhere to the old adage: “I look amazing in Valencia.” Note that the Kelvin filter is to be avoided at all costs. If it really does make a picture better, it is to be used sparingly and with extreme caution. Never, under any circumstances, may the Kelvin with border be used. Fun fact: Black-and-white filters help hide everything from a bad sunburn or spray tan to red wine lips.
Here we go! Posted below is the outline and basics of my senior project:
With interests in both cooking and blogging, I will utilize my background in communication and new media to implement an online blogging experience geared toward sharing her culinary expertise in a quasi-experimental form. Specifically, I will:
- Create an Instagram account on which I will post a photo of a recipe that I have tried during the span of each respective week.
- Each week, I will modify my blog posts to stress different variables relevant to an online social media experience (Post frequency, types of filters, number of hashtags, etc.).
- Utilizing Hootsuite, I will track and analyze my blog’s weekly online engagement.
- Each Instagram post will direct viewers to a specific blog written by myself. Each Instagram post will include a link to a blog that I create. The blog will include two main pages:
- Culinary-specific posts about the recipes that I try
- Communication-specific posts documenting online engagement per variable changes, including an analysis on my digital strategy’s successes and failures.
- Beyond producing quality content, I will attempt strategically to grow my social media followership to a minimum of approximately 250 members.
- At the end of the project, I will submit a 5-page analysis paper detailing what succeeded and what failed in my plan.
- Lastly, I will submit a digital portfolio of my combined work.
To start, I thought it was important to start with the basics. I setup my Instagram profile and developed a general set of rules that I will follow all the time.
- Rule #1: Post consistently: As part of my senior project, I have agreed to post once a week. To remain consistent, I will post every week on Sunday.
- Rule #2: Engage with others: This includes liking posts and commenting on others. I can’t be selfish and I can’t expect to gain a following if I’m not an active participant on Instagram. Others want to be liked to!
- Rule #3: Socialize and be nice: I think this is pretty self explanatory
- Rule #4: Follow everyone that follows you: If someone follows me, I will follow them back (Unless it’s obviously a spammer account)
- Rule #5: Reply to every comment on your post: For each person that comments on my post, I will reply back.
- Rule #6: Spread the love: If someone likes my post, I will return the favor and like one of theirs.
Week One will begin with my first tip and first post on Instagram. Week One: FILTERS.
See ya next week!