This week I realised (finally) I had become something of an old dog.

An old dog that is a little loathe to learn new tricks. This week, we were focusing on digital marketing channels, particularly, it seems Instagram. Of all of the social media channels, Instagram is the one that gives me the biggest headache. It is the advent calendar of social media channels: The pictures are small, usually the wrong shape for whatever it is I want to do and never quite as much detail or size as I want to feel visually satiated.

Pontificating aside, this week was a great chance to learn from those who do get it in the hopes it will form the basis for some form of strategy for my own photographic work.

One of our tutors Laura provided a useful reminder of the social aspect of a successful SM strategy:

I was very generous with the information I found out and retweeted, shared others posts and so on… Which in turn made me a kind of resource to others too. I then found, as a result of this, that my followers supported me when I shared my own work. So with Instagram, consider how much you support others (share work you like in your stories, online events and resources etc to share)… This would not only be good for you in terms of research, but may mean your followers might shift their view of you slightly and possibly share what you post, in turn building your audience.

Laura Hynd, Falmouth University

My fellow student Paul had some incredible points to make about approaching Instagram (and other channels) in a more thoughtful and deliberate way:

Building a brand is something different to building an Insta account – Look at the brand as the strategic target and insta, websites, logo, style, etc. as support actions to get there. You need consistency in all matters so that your brand is recognizable not only by the logo – the look and feel of business cards, postcards, etc – use the same style as your website. 

Paul, fellow student

And Dominic was able to provide an insight into how to approach managing a feed by being focused and deliberate: “A couple of hours on a monthly basis to schedule the next 4 weeks daily posts through Planoly and then 10 minutes per day responding to comments and interacting with other users.”

So, with all that said, the key questions I need to ask myself now are these:

  • What do I really want to achieve with my SM channels? Drive traffic to the new shop page on my website? Get noticed by gallerists or editorial commissioners or other photographers? Develop a comprehensive network with other photographers and those with an interest in photography?
  • How much time do I reasonably have to spend on social media per se and which ones are most likely to make a return in terms of ROIT (return on invested time)?
  • How will I evaluate SM success and over what time frame? What is my plan B, C, D and so on, if other efforts do not yield the results I want?

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