It took me 6 weeks to get my Instagram engagement up

posted in Photography Tips

It took me 6 weeks to get my Instagram engagement up

It was mid May and I was packing my duffel bag. I had 3 days to spend in Santa Barbara with Sony and I was pumped! It was the Kando 1.0 trip I wrote about before. Also, I wrote about why I stopped blogging, if you haven’t checked that one out, it’s pretty entertaining and just bare bones truth.

So when I got to the Kando experience, I kept thinking I should’ve picked up my social media game.. I shouldn’t have come here with just a few posts in 2017 that I did and this super inconsistent sharing schedule that does me or anyone else no good.

I saw all these non-stop sharing 300K+ influencers and felt like I’m not part of that circle. I cannot say I wanted to be one of them, but I also cannot say that 20K of my own fans, who I appreciate so much because I grew little by little and people only follow me if they have a reason to read and see my stuff.

After the trip I went home and decided to fix my Instagram. From that moment on, I decided to post daily, consistent timing, and the usual mix of gear and my photo work. Back in June 2016 I went over 21,000 fans, then everything started to slow down. In those next 12 months I didn’t grow, only lost followers.

So this time in June, I picked things up from around 20,500 fans. Right now I’m at 21,900 and I spent 6 weeks trying to ramp things up again.

I got messages from fans saying I don’t show up in their feed anymore and now all of a sudden I started appearing again. The engagement went up, consistency was back. But some of this came from my short time with Archie, the service that helps grow IG following.

I’m sharing this not because I want you to criticize me. But because even for someone like me, social growth is not easy and none of it comes out of nowhere. So now, I got a bit of a push with Archie and this since the end of June has been all organic.

I think I ended up getting into some suggestion algorithms in the last weeks too. So I add on average about 20-25 people per day. With Archie, it was about 30-40 people. So I’m glad I’m not dipping just yet, but I’ve also heard this other side of the story of how to grow.

“All organic engagement” comes from having a team of people who do the same thing that an automated service would do: comment, like, etc. I’ve spoken to several people who run 300-700,000 IG accounts and it’s always a team of people and a pretty set formula for success:

  • Organic engagement by the team of social managers
  • Curated feeds (when pulled from multiple photographers on a specific subject) always do best
  • There are now tons of these feeds
  • They are very hard to monetize
  • They have some loyalty, but not always. Some influencers can help brands sell stuff, some cannot no matter what they do
  • So the trick is to figure out who is who. Not my place to answer this. I never had success with influencers for my store. I only know what I can produce and what results I can bring, mostly because I see affiliate stats, fan messages of what they bought, and I even got one brand to be stocked on B&H website.
  • And then… once you have all these fans – what is it for?

So for me, I’d rather have fewer fans, but the ones that will look at my stuff, consider my opinion on the gear, share pics with me of what they bought, and also buy my stuff. I don’t write this blog to make money. I have things I want to say and this is the platform.

The best way to grow is to something awesome outside of social media. Social growth then becomes an after-fact and people want to check you out because you’re mentioned by someone else. Referrals are always best. There is no hack. Just this simple truth.

You’ll also start hearing about “pods” pretty soon. That’s when a group of people, real accounts, get together and help each other with quick immediate engagement on new IG posts. So if’ you’re part of the group, you engage with others and they engage with you. That bumps up your post to more of your fan feeds and you get more likes, comments, etc. Let’s see how long this one will last. But this is “all organic real people” engaging. So IG cannot say much about this tactic just yet. I don’t really have the time to explore this.

So after 6 weeks of pretty serious commitment to IG, I am looking back and thinking again what will all this be for? I like growing, even the fan base. But what if this chase for fans has no really exciting ending?

Right now I know exactly what will be popular before I even share it. I can also tell you that if I post something in the morning, it will always do better, no matter what.

Images with cameras and gear will always do better. Only a few epic BW portfolio shots will do super well. Landscape images with little people will always do well, but I don’t do pics like that.

I am glad I have the following I have. I see comments, messages, and profiles of people and many of them are interesting, well-read, funny, thinking deeper than most of the population these days.

My traffic to this blog also went a bit down in the last year because I wwasn’tposting new stuff. But that’s fine. I got to look back and figure out what I want to do here and for what reasons. I got emails from readers and that helped to keep going. So, moving forward, I plan to focus on what I want to share and somewhat be interested in engagement algorithms.

I do think that this blog deserves more people checking it own, so that’s one of the things I need to sit down and figure out. But because money making for me is somewhere else, I can be a bit selfish and continue growing this at the pace that I can keep up with.

So thanks for being a reader of this Thursday night thought process. Appreciate your time and that you find my stuff interesting.

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