At the start of May, I decided I wanted to try something new to strengthen my design skills and my knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite. Most of my knowledge came from school projects and what I would learn on Youtube; I never spent a lot of time in the Adobe programs simply exploring how far I could push them.
This all changed whenever I discovered a trend on Instagram called the “365 Poster Challenge”, which challenges designers to make a single post daily for one year. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen skills and become better designers by trying new things and experimenting with the programs. This fun challenge has helped me learn some invaluable lessons about social media, and how the content you post makes a difference for your audience.
The Importance of Interaction
When I started, I had no idea where to begin. How do you get engagement when you have only 3 followers? How do I know my posts will gain traction?
The first step in truly growing a social media account is interaction. Along with my posts, once a day, I would also spend time on the Explore page, liking and sharing posts, and leaving comments for other artists. Simply spending time on the platform interacting with other artists made a huge difference in my exposure; people like it when you leave nice comments or share their work. Everyone on the platform is striving for that same dopamine kick from seeing that like and comment counter go up. Whenever you show interest and appreciation for someone else, they normally will return that kindness back to you.
Whenever doing this, however, make sure you are being genuine. Don’t let it turn into a game of asking for followers. Find things you truly appreciate about other artists’ work and make note of them. Make sure your interactions are sincere.
The importance of engagement applies to your own posts as well. Whenever people leave a nice comment, respond. Whenever people reshare your work on their story, make sure to give it a heart. Instagram’s algorithm responds positively to activity on your posts and you should always take advantage of the opportunity to drive that growth yourself.
The Importance of Consistency
While posting daily could be considered overkill for most, making sure you are constantly pumping out content will make a huge difference in your engagement. I’ve noticed that I usually have two to three posts a week that outperform the others and drive my growth. Making sure you are engaging with your audience a few times a week at a minimum is crucial to growing your account.
Posting consistently can also be a double-edged sword; make sure the quality does not take a hit. I feel like I am able to consistently put out good content seven times a week, but if you are worried about quality losing to quantity then don’t feel pressured to keep such a tight schedule. People appreciate it when your posts are thoughtful, and do not feel robotic or cranked out.
The Importance of Your Message
While posting daily on any platform is guaranteed to attract some followers and engagement, making your page truly grow requires a bit more effort into making your brand stand out. Whether you are marketing a product, business, or even yourself, finding a way to connect with your followers and having a strong tone of voice and message is important.
I like to say I’m an optimist at heart, but the only way for me to stay that way is to drain my cynicism. Most of my work has a tongue-in-cheek, biting attitude, that pokes fun and provides commentary on modern-day America. I take my frustrations with politics and the world around me and channel them into my work. I use over-the-top language, sarcasm, and clever wordplay. This has helped me build an audience who likes what I have to say, and appreciates me more because I have created something unique they can’t find anywhere else.
It Ain’t Easy
While it seems like a surefire formula, growing a social following so large so fast is not guaranteed. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t involve lots of hard work and a bit of luck. If you are truly wanting to grow your following organically and quickly, you have to make sure your output is high quality, consistent, and connecting with your audience.
The last biggest tip I can give is to take it a day at a time; there will be times when your growth is slow, or your engagement is not quite as high. Don’t let this discourage you; take a breather and remember that social media is finicky and consistently posting will eventually reap rewards for you and your brand.