6 February 2018
Do I really have time to expand your social media presence to a new platform?
That’s the question I’ve asked myself for years in regards to Instagram. I’m constantly on Facebook, Twitter, and BoardGameGeek, and my content creation schedule is already quite busy:
- Sunday: personal blog entry
- Monday: KS Lessons blog entry, personal blog entry
- Tuesday: game design YouTube video, personal blog entry
- Wednesday: Facebook Live video or project update, personal blog entry
- Thursday: KS Lessons blog entry, personal blog entry
- Friday: game design YouTube video
- Saturday: KS Lessons YouTube video
Each of these is about more than just creating the content–it’s about interacting with people who engage with that content.
Not to mention that my social media engagement is almost exclusively on my computer, while Instagram is built for your phone. In fact, until recently, you literally could not post to Instagram using your computer (only via your phone).
All of this added up to me ignoring Instagram. But then, a few weeks ago, I got an email from Kristi at Peace, Love, & Games. She also manages the Instagram account for Tasty Minstrel Games, and she encouraged me to be more active on Instagram. So, despite the various excuses I listed above, I decided to give it another try.
2 weeks later, and I’m loving Instagram. Here’s why:
- It’s low-maintenance. I post 1 photo a day, and I usually check in a few times to answer questions, like comments, and scroll through my feed. At most, I spend 5 minutes a day on Instagram.
- It feels good. This is hard to quantify, but simply put, Instagram feels like a happy place. It’s relaxing to scroll through the photos, and because of the filters you can apply to the photos, everything you post feels special. There’s something else that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it just has a distinctly happier feel than other social networks in which I’m active.
- It’s flexible. My Instagram account is under my name, which probably isn’t ideal for Stonemaier Games. However, it gives me the freedom to post pretty much anything I want, which is nice. Here’s what I’ve posted over the last 2 weeks:
Now, Instagram isn’t entirely without problems. I’ve found the user interface to be a little confusing, and there’s still stuff I haven’t figured out (like how to scroll through new comments without weeding through new likes). Unlike on Facebook, people rarely use their real names on Instagram, which makes it less personal. And it’s still pretty much just a mobile platform, though Hootsuite–the web app I use to manage my Twitter accounts–now lets you post to Instagram.
But overall, I’d recommend it. I have a daily alert that reminds me to post on Instagram, which has helped me get into the habit. Unlike Facebook, where I rarely post anything on my personal account unless I think it’s worth the time and attention of everyone who follows me, I really do feel free to post something light, fun, and transient on Instagram. Like cats sitting on my game design notes, samples I get from my manufacturer, or food with a story.
Update: It appears that Instagram users often use hashtags as a way of connecting to the overall web of images on the platform (opposed to the more comical use of hashtags on Twitter). So, if you post a photo of a board game, you might add #boardgame. You can search for hashtags to follow your own brand on Instagram as a way of seeing what other people are posting about you and your games.
Is all this social media worth the effort? I think so. It’s hard to quantify, but I see a lot of value in relationship marketing. I want people to feel like Stonemaier Games is a friend, not some distant, cold corporation. And the friendship goes both ways.
Do you use Instagram? If so, do you have any tips for new users? Also, you should follow me on Instagram here!