Gaining followers and getting engagement on your posts is crucial if you plan to make progress for animals. Understanding who your audience is, who you want them to be, and how to appeal to and grow that audience is essential.
Much of this multi-part mini series focusing on increasing followers and engagement is tailored to those who want to influence the outside world. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “I don’t really care how many followers I have,” however, that’s cool too. You may want to only influence your family and friends IRL. While some of what I say here may not apply to you, implementing elements of these tactics in your own personal social media game will still undoubtedly help you connect with and influence your audience, no matter who they are.
First, discover where your skills can best overlap with your interests. Since this series is focused on animal advocacy through social media, consider some of the different avenues you can explore. Your skills may be in public speaking, writing, photography, storytelling, cooking, directing films, graphic design, or creating art. Some interests of yours may be nutrition, farm animal advocacy, creating pretty smoothie bowls, cruelty-free fashion, rescuing stray animals, making funny vegan memes, etc. Discovering where one or more of your skills can overlap with one or more of your interests is the art of finding your niche.
Research your niche. Because Instagram is such a wonderful, (mostly) friendly place for community, it’s the best social media platform to seek out specific content like this. Start with
hashtags. On the explore tab, go to “Tags” to search for hashtags that are relevant within your niche. The “Recent” section displays the most-recently posted content, providing the opportunity to see the most up-to-date posts in this nook. The “Top” section allows you to most easily discover the top accounts that post content you’re interested in. You’ll also find some of your potential competitors and partners here. Study what they do and learn from them. Learn what is working for them and what isn’t. There’s no need to constantly reinvent the wheel.
When you begin posting within your niche, you’ll start to learn what kinds of content your audience is most likely to engage in and you’ll want to focus many of your efforts on that. For example, if your skill is photography and your interest is creating pretty smoothie bowls, you’ll want to pay attention to which posts do best. Photos of just the smoothie bowl in your hands or maybe a shot of you with the smoothie bowl in the foreground? Or how about whether the brightness of colors of the bowl matter as much as the variety of the fruit you sprinkle on top? Every variable matters, so you’ll want to tailor your social content strategy to reflect what performs best with your audience.
John Oberg is a social media pro, dedicated to making the world a kinder place for animals by utilizing the power of social media. He recently launched his own independent project for animals through Patreon. Prior to that, he served as Director of New Media for the international animal protection organization, The Humane League. And prior to that, John served as Director of Communications for Vegan Outreach. In both of these roles, John oversaw social media for the organizations which led to a tenfold increase in following in both, as well as over 1 billion views of content posted to these pages.