Goal: Post once a day on Instagram following a pre-arranged schedule for 30 days
Result: Fail. 24/30 days posted
30 days ago, I embarked on my most successful 30 day challenge yet! Granted, it ended as a failure, but I learned a lot along the way and wanted to share my insights from this month long journey.
First, my motives. Why did I even want to undertake this challenge?
While researching possible marketing methods, a family friend said that Instagram is 'The Place To Be'. If you want to market successfully, you go to where the people are and the people are on Instagram. So I took myself over to the app, dusted off my nascent account and began daily, acupuncture centric postings with the vague hope of doing it continuously for 30 days.
It doesn't take a psychic or a psychologist to know what happened next: I managed six posts then, nothing. No inspiration. No good photos. Nada. My first attempt was a failure.
Undaunted and determined to conquer this new platform, I decided to try again, this time with some pre-planning.
For this round, I decided to pre-plan all my content. I came up with six categories: Acubusiness, What I'm Learning, Tools of the Trade, Seasonal Health, Self-care, and Promotions. Each category had five planned entries with notes about the accompanying photo. When I had taken the picture, the box got a check mark.
In a burst of inspiration one afternoon, I actually sat down and took all the photos needed for the next two weeks. I had a calendar full of content, a phone full of photos, and an Instagram following full of friends. I was unstoppable.
Well, at least for the first 24 days. Then two things popped up that threw off my carefully concocted plan:
One of the predictably unpredictable life events
'Influencers' by Brittany Hennessy
See, when I took my first round of photographs, I only snapped the first half of my calendar, assuming that I would have the time, energy and inspiration to create the rest of the posts in that infamous 'later.' Events happened and later came, passed and I stumbled onto Sept 9th with no posts lined up.
Why didn't I just hurry up and snap the last six pics? Well, I had just finished the 'Influencers' book. Ms. Hennessy has written a 'how-to' guide for social media influencers to be found by brands, become paid thousands of dollars, and rack up millions of fans. I'll give a proper review of the book next week, but reading it I had to confront the question: why am I on Instagram?
Lacking a clear answer or the triumvirate of time, energy, and inspiration, my excellent string of Instagram posting ground to a halt. The 30 day mark came and past without being fully completed. The experiment failed.
Sad as this may be, I don't mind. Maybe I didn't hit all 30 days, but I learned a lot for my next self imposed challenge! Here is what I would do the same:
Create a physical schedule. Preplan the topics, days, and photos. This way I only need to write a caption (fun for me) and press send rather than create everything from scratch. On days I wasn't feeling inspired, this was particularly helpful.
Take batches of photos. It took me a single half hour to take all my photos for the next 12 days. It was easy to gather all the materials, find decent lighting, and have a dozen future posts stored on my phone for later use.
But there are several things I would do differently too:
More continuity of posts. Yes, there were five Acubusiness photos, but they were spaced out every six days rather than five in a row. It worked for me, but having themed photos in a row would create a better narrative for my readers to follow.
Take all the photos. I assumed I would have the inspiration to finish up my final photographs later, but life got in the way (as it always does). Next time, I would endeavor to have all my photos taken by the first week. Even better, have them loaded to drafts with the content all written.
While I have dozens of ideas for future Instagram posts, I'm holding off on another challenge to give myself the space to answer the question of 'why am I on Instagram?'
If you have an answer for why you are on Instagram or ideas for what you would like to see, let me know! If you want to follow me on this journey, you can find me @aconiteherbalist on Instagram.
Thanks for reading!