A Photo Worth 1000 Likes

As I continue to work on improving my social media standing after a brief hiatus, I look back on what worked for me in the past with a photo that got 1000 likes in 24 hours. Repeating my successes is important but for this post I look at what I can learn from my past, understand a little better how Instagram works and of course review some basic metrics.

In a previous post I talked about a post that ‘trended’ on Instagram and got me to 1000 followers. Trended for this post means it made the explore page and was found organically. I have had posts that have resonated well with my followers but do not always make it to a wider online audience. You may have experience that as well.

I few months ago I shared a brooch that caught my eye at a Skinner Auctions preview with my followers. It was a lady carved in chalcedony with a diamond and opal tiara that was adorned in more diamonds and opals. My picture was a bit blurry at the bottom but overall not bad. I loved it but did not expect the reaction I got after posting it. Not only was the picture liked by my followers, Instagram thought it worthy to share with a wider audience and within a day I had over 1000 likes!

What was different about this picture from others I posted? For me a few things come to mind:

 

  • Variety-I post a lot of diamonds, flowers, and big statement pieces (like David Webb). This was the first post in a long time that had a face on it. A face in blue chalcedony which is a little unique.
  • Trends-My lady had a tiara and regal look to her. This summer has been all about the royal wedding of Harry and Megan, so that probably didn’t hurt my chances of getting my photo noticed. Also, as of today #tiara has 1.4 million posts, #tiaras have over 467,000 posts and a favorite hashtag of mine #tiaratuesday has over 9,000 posts. People love a good tiara.
  • Patience (& luck)– I had been a consistent poster and I know Instagram has ways of telling who is resonating well with their followers. For me I have started to see trends for what my followers like. I keep that in mind when taking photos or making captions.

 

How much does the Instagram Algorithm play in my account’s success?

The algorithm is like Facebook, the more your followers like your posts the more likely those posts will show up at the top of your followers’ feeds. The short answer is in my opinion about 85% is determined by the Instagram Algorithm.

How can you influence that other 15%?

Posting consistently so your followers go to your Instagram page and see what you’ve got if it did not show up in their feed. Take some time out to just like your followers’ posts and show some love back. I need to do more with this as well.

What can a trending post do for my account? (basic social media metrics)

Besides growing your following, this picture in about 38 hours gave me 113 new followers. It can increase your engagement for that post and others. I had about a 10% engagement rate (Likes of a post divided by followers) from that post. It varies by industry but typically a 2-3% engagement rate is good, for example if you have 10,000 followers you should be getting around 200-300 likes per post. For me at the time of the post I ranged between 250-350 likes. The next photo I posted got over 700 likes. I kept up with the tiara trend for one more day.

Have you ever had a trending photo? What was it? Would you like to improve your engagement and attract more followers? Reach out to me and we can come up with strategies to test to grow your social media presence and your business. Return next week for more Data in the Rough!

 

How to comeback from a Social Media Hiatus

Are you struggling to keep up with your social media? Do you take long breaks between posting or wish you could call it quits? I took a month-long social media hiatus and started back tonight after reflecting on why I am really doing this. I discuss how I got to this point and what helped me refocus.

It’s like anything else you put off, once you find something else to do or a reason to stop; time slips away and you return to the task and see how much work you still have. Sometimes you do need a break. I took one recently from my Instagram and other social channels. It can get overwhelming not only balancing another job, but social media can make you feel like you’re competing over who has more followers, better photos or a more relevant story than you. Time to admit that all happened to me.

As I’ve mentioned some, I am not a full-time blogger, I am an analyst in the Retail Industry. This job is not as sexy as some of the other flashier (or more sparkly) jobs out there. My skill set is one that I feel is needed in this industry, I love numbers and am not afraid to use them. I also understand designers, artists and small business owners who struggle to maintain a social media presence and are unsure how analytics can work for them.

So, what do you do when you stop and need to get back to posting on social media? I have a few tips that have helped me get back my focus and start maintaining my sites again.

  1. Don’t rush back into posting. Sounds counter intuitive but it is ok to take a break. I have maintained the same number of followers since I stopped posting in August. I gain some one day and lose others the next, but it balances out. It’s better to take a moment and reflect than burn out again. Which leads to the next point…
  2. Ask yourself the ‘why’ questions. The first ‘why am I doing this?’ In this case posting on a social media channel. If money is your main answer you will be lost in a sea of accounts that all are wanting quick returns. The real question is ‘why do I think I have a unique viewpoint that others will follow and respond to?’ I have been thinking about that. I don’t have the access to as many big-name jewelry events as I’d like too. I also don’t have the connections to the big jewelry designers and workshops to give me a decent stream of exclusive content. My answer, I am looking at more than just the name or the cost I am looking at the craftsmanship and the story, especially how those translated with data.
  3. Think about your answers above and make a plan for posting. Don’t worry about posting in the evening, afternoon or morning; what will you post is more important right now than when. If you are creating a new piece show the inspiration in one post and walk through the stages to the finished product. Ultimately you want to convey what you are hoping for which is sales but do it by showing who you are and what you offer.

 

I forget that too and can get caught up in all the excitement. It’s also a reason you need someone to help you understand what is working and what is not. My not so subtle way of mentioning my consulting on digital and social media analytics. If you are interested in a more in-depth chat send me an email (data.inthe.rough@gmail.com) and we can talk. Also keep following my blog for more tips and my own journey to discover the data in the rough!

Also, since I can’t go with out a picture of a fabulous jewel. A David Web piece I posted tonight to get back into the social media cycle. Enjoy and good luck!

Instagram changes since my first 1000 followers and what can be learned

Marketing sites and businesses keep talking about how changes to the Instagram algorithm have hurt engagement. In this post I will look at how I got to my first 1000 followers shortly before the changes took place and how my strategy to grow my following has changed since.

Looking back at all my posts it’s hard to believe I have been on Instagram over 2 ½ years! I started in early September of 2015 to help a designer start and grow her Instagram account. I knew I needed my own account to run my own experiments and see what would be best for my client in the interest of time and resources. I have since ended my working relationship with her, but my account has continued growing. I will start by how I got to my first thousand, strategies that can be helpful as you look to improve your brand.

Getting to 1000:

Once I got to 1000 followers it felt like no time at all, but it took me 4 months from the day I started until I finally got to 1000. The amount of posts was 215. It was in January and I was a bit discourage that I wasn’t growing as quickly as I hoped. I was at a little over 700 followers and decided to post on a rainy Sunday afternoon this Tiffany necklace designed by Paloma Picasso in the 1980s.

Tiffany gemstone necklace posted on my IG that got me to 1000 followers, seen at Christie’s in December 2015

One feature Instagram had was a trending hashtag section. I looked at the page where the trending hashtags were and saw #rainysunday was trending, so I worked that into my caption picking out the most bold and colorful piece to chase away those clouds! Posting around three in the afternoon I knew I’d get some likes, but I never anticipated that over the next couple of days I would get over 500 likes and about 300 followers which got me from 700 to 1000 almost overnight! I realized that my post had made it on the explore page which is why the jump in interest!

Paloma Picasso wearing her design for Tiffany, taken in 1980s. photo from Paris Vogue

Strategies to use now:

Since the changes I can no longer like pictures in real time of when they were posted unless I follow them and get notified when they post. Also, some accounts never make it to the top of my feed. So how do I try and improve my odds:

  1. Follow brands because you like their content not because you hope they follow you. I made the mistake when I first started of following accounts of people or brands that I thought would like me. The problem their feed was not always what I enjoyed seeing so I had to eventually unfollow and look at engaging with account that may never follow me but make my account a pleasant place to go to. Also, to note don’t follow them just because they follow you. They may like your posts, but you may not respond to their content as well, it comes down to engaging with accounts that resonate with you.
  2. Look at what your posting and research hashtags to use that are relevant. Mixing up your hashtags is a better way to grow your following and be in front of new people. Using the same ones can be too predictable especially if you are selling online. Look at what your posting and who maybe interested versus trying to advertise it’s for sale.
  3. Make Instagram friends. Too many small businesses and solopreneurs rely on friends, families or groups they belong to for engagement. The best compliments have been from people I have never meet but find my posts beautiful and interesting. I have even been able to meet with some of my new friends who give me inspiration and different ways to better serve my following.
  4. Experiment with different posts and times. I have read and gone to workshops about growing your following. Everything from running an IG contest to posting more about you as a person. Some ideas are helpful others I tried have failed miserably (I’ll share stories and lessons learned in later posts). For posts use the edits IG has with their photos. I try to make sure my photos are sharp, in focus and the colors vibrant to stand out better to my followers.
  5. Do not get too discouraged with slow growth or followers that leave you in the early stages. When first starting I got a lot of account follows and unfollows in hopes of growing their numbers. Instagram is still a game to many and if you worry too much about winning or losing you’ll miss the important reason for this platform to be social. Again, don’t follow just because they follow you, refer to tip #1.

 

There are plenty of other ways you can improve. Here is an article I read on Hootsuite about ways to improve your account with the changes to the Instagram algorithm. I also read an article by Recode posted early this month, that stated that your Facebook friends can play into what accounts are one top when you log in. I do not follow a lot of my Facebook friends on IG since I want to keep more focused on my business with IG.

Even though it feels harder sometimes, I am still having good success on IG growing my followers and engagement. If you would like a more personal session to find ways to improve your IG please send me an email at Data.inthe.Rough@gmail.com Also feel free to make a comment below about something you’d like to understand or an observation about your experiences with Instagram! Thank you for reading my post, I hope you return soon! Also a bonus the matching earrings to that bold Tiffany necklace, because you can’t have a statement necklace without some statement earrings!!

Matching earrings to Tiffany necklace sold at Christie’s in December 2015!

Putting the ‘Social’ back into my Social Media

I keep my blog focused on jewelry, but for two months I’ve been silent. To my readers I apologize. Blogging is not my main job. The role of business analyst has been what has paid my bills. In early April, my current job at a retail eCommerce company outside of Boston Massachusetts ended due to a poor holiday season. For the retailers out there, I’m sure you can empathize with that struggle.

I signed up for unemployment and am actively seeking a new job opportunity. What does this have to do about jewelry? Not much, it does have an impact on my blog and social media strategy. The quote that comes to mind…

I would not go so far to say I did any ‘soul searching’ but I have been looking at my situation and what I could have done differently. I would have liked a stronger network. For the past two and a half years I was volunteering in a women’s group. I realized that when all this happened my hopes that those years would be reason enough to help me when I was down were wrong. At the last meeting, I stepped down from my role. What I needed and what they were offering left me with the realization that I stayed on the wrong path for too long. I wasn’t being involved in the things I loved.

Chanel has it right. I am knocking on new doors and volunteering for a group that helps entrepreneurs with their marketing and social media strategy. This is something I am passionate about and I believe will help me find  a better job.

Not having a regular routine is challenging. My biggest challenge finding people to socialize with and not make my unemployment situation the focus. This brings me to the blog and title of the post. Social media lately has felt less social. I like other accounts photos, they like mine, maybe a comment is exchanged but not a lot is learned about the person. With the first day of summer approaching I am going to work on putting the social back into my social media. I plan to do that by utilizing Instagram stories, sharing more of life in New England and learning more about the jewelry industry through interviews with store owners, designers, anyone with a story to tell. Who’s with me?

Thank you for following me and taking your time reading this post. Please feel free to comment below or email me direct at data.inthe.rough@gmail.com . Check back soon for more exciting news from Data in the Rough!