Okay fine my account @travel_trout has only “caught” 107 followers, but I couldn’t resist the title. While my main goal of this project hasn’t been to acquire as many followers as possible, somehow gaining followers seems to be the natural metric of success on instagram. Using this metric I hit 100 followers very quickly by using hashtags and following similar accounts. After these 100 followers I seemed to have hit somewhat of a plateau. To overcome this I need to continue to consistently put out content in order to lend my account some credibility. Additionally, I plan on changing the hashtags I am using weekly in order to test new audiences as well as reach audiences that are specific to the region I am featuring that week.
While followers are a good indicator of success, some other measures of engagement should be taken into consideration. In my blog post #1 I mentioned, “I will need to make sure that the primary goal of every post is truly fishing, with travel being the secondary aspect” As I have progressed I have found myself moving more towards fishing and even further away from travel. While I am still featuring two locations per week, the emphasis on travel has declined. The reason I have chosen to do this is due to the type of audience I believe I am reaching on instagram. Instagram is less conducive to lengthy travel tips than other mediums such as a blog. I have found that I get the most engagement with short and simple captions with the emphasis being on quality photos. For example one of my most engaging posts has been my post with the simple caption “calma” meaning calm in Spanish.
This also speaks to the fact that I have built a large portion of my following from South American fishing guides. I believe this is in part due to my hashtags and tagging location, but also because South America is in the middle of their trout fishing season whereas North America is largely out of season. Once I started to notice a lot of my followers were coming from South America I started to target my audience more by using Spanish hashtags and featuring a lodge in Argentina. In the future I plan to feature Chilean Patagonia and the Brazilian Amazon to cultivate more followers interested in or living in South America.
Some other measures of engagement I have been tracking are comments as well as direct messages. First of all, when it comes to the comment section I have found it better to include my hashtags in a comment rather than the caption, this way I can use hashtags without them distracting from my caption.
In the comments I have had a few people comment to tag their friends which not only shows some level of engagement but also attracts more followers.
I have also been making a point of commenting on similar accounts, in order to attract more followers interested in the topic. As far as DM’s I have had some let’s say… mixed reviews. Although I always tag accounts whose photos I use. I have been contacted by a few people angry that I used their photos without directly asking them.
…. Sorry @alaskaflyout
For the most part they have been forgiving when I apologize and explain a little about my account. If they have reported me, I am yet to receive any kind of notice from instagram, so for the time being I’m going to continue with the ask for forgiveness, not permission approach. In addition to some angry DM’s I have received plenty of positive response. A few accounts have approached me asking to do promotions, which I have refrained from doing as of now. My reasoning is that for the most part they are account’s asking me to post their photos that aren’t too related. Moving forward I am going to try to do promotions with other accounts, but only if the accounts are related to my topic and offering a fair trade.
As far as the overall progress in aesthetics to my page I have made a few observations. While my stories are not getting as much engagement as my regular posts, I think they have become an essential part of of my instagram. I have started to use a story per location, which I think adds a great overall look and feel to my instagram.
I also have taken advantage of instagram music to add music native to the location, which I plan on continuing to do. Additionally, while I have not been going particularly out of my way to create an overall “feel” or athletic between pictures, I think it has occurred naturally. I haven’t used any filters, but because my page is all trout fishing all the pictures have a similar color way or view to them due to the inherent similarities of trout fisheries.