Today is the last day of March, and the last day of the Instagram challenge #MarchMeettheMaker, created by Joanne Hawker. If you missed any of my posts over on Instagram, (IG) you can see them here below. I enjoyed participating in this challenge for the second year in a row. Here are some things I learned through the experience:
1. Planning is your friend. Last year, I mostly posted each prompt as each day of March came along. This meant that each day, for a whole month, I had to think of a photo idea for each prompt, stage, take, and edit that photo, then upload to IG, and write a compelling caption. Written out, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but for anybody who has every tried to utilize IG for growing their business knows that this process is actually a lot of work. And it can make social media feel overwhelming.
This year, I used the Later app to plan out my posts ahead of time. I was hesitant to try this at first, because planning out content ahead of time seemed a bit inauthentic. However, I realize that most people do this because ain’t nobody got time for that. In other words, planning saves you valuable time.
Despite my initial hesitation, I found that planning out my posts using Later to be a game changer for me. I spent dedicated time making each photo and caption for several days at once, which meant that for most days of the month, all I had to do was upload into IG. Planning saved my sanity, my time, and helped me write good captions, because Later has a feature where you can save captions.
I’m not a natural planner, but I’m learning that in life, and especially in business, taking the time to plan is the first step to success.
2. Posting Every Day Does Seem to Make a Difference
I’ve heard a lot that to really grow your audience, you need to post on IG EVERY SINGLE DAY. "Hogwash!" was my initial response to this piece of advice. Because, who has time to post on social media every single day without it sucking the life out of you?
However, I must say, according to my IG statistics and analytics, every time I participate in a monthly challenge and post every day for a while, my engagement DOES seem to increase. I get more followers, more likes, more comments, and more views when I’m participating in these challenges. Partly, that is also due to the fact that these challenges have a wider audience that I’m tapping into with the challenge hashtag. But also, it may be correlated to the frequency that I’m posting too.
Luckily, posting more often doesn’t feel so overwhelming when I plan. See Number 1 above. That being said, I also learned that…
3. But You Still Don’t Have to Post Every Day if You Don’t Want To
I’m planning out my first posts for IG after the March Meet the Maker challenge ends, and I’m planning a whole weekend away from social media. Because, even though planning helps, sometimes you just need a break. I love IG, but I also don’t want it to take over my life. May I miss out on a few new followers if I take a break? May I lose some followers if I stop posting for a couple of days? Maybe. But you know what? I don’t care. It’s my business, and I can do what I want.
Ok, that sounded a bit harsh. But the reality is, I can grow my business the way I want to. I’m not trying to compete with national brands or grow as fast as I can. I’m choosing to grow my business slowly because I have other priorities in my life right now (i.e. small children!). Which means, I don’t have to follow all these IG "rules" if I don’t want to.
I’m finding that although I do like IG challenges, posting every day all the time just isn’t sustainable for me. But there are seasons when I can and seasons where I need some virtual space from the social media. So, I can participate in challenges some months, and in months where I’m not participating in a challenge, I will probably move to posting every other day, because that is what will work for me.
Wrapping up, this March challenge provided me with some key lessons for how to utilize IG for my art biz. It’s always a work-in-progress, but I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t. I look forward to participating in more IG challenges in the future. Hope to meet you there!
Here are my IG stories from the #MarchMeettheMaker Challenge:
Be sure to follow me on IG if you don't already. I'll be see you there every other day.