Forget what you think you know about social media marketing

Or ‘what your #TopNine can teach you about your Instagram presence’

I’m not going to lie, Instagram is my happy place. It’s the platform that feels most natural to me as a creator, with the least distance between my audience and myself. I’m lucky that I created my primary Instagram account for my own entertainment, (and so my friends wouldn’t get sick of all the dog spam.) Tinkerbelle the Wobble Dog became my sandbox, a place where I could experiment without restriction or KPI pressures, and try things I couldn’t in my corporate role. I’m not going to lie, it also became an outlet to vent my creative frustrations as people who didn’t even have Instagram accounts vetoed things for being too frivolous.

I think that’s what a lot of brands get wrong about their social media presences- they forget that most people using social media want to be entertained above all else. I’m sure your Facebook feed is full of colourful flashing ads for closing down sales, uni ads with cute pictures of animals that don’t have any relevance to the course they’re promoting, or companies trying to make you feel like your $10 donation will make a difference when their CEOs are on six figures.

The truth is most advertising is just background noise now, we ignore it as much as we can. I can’t even tell you what ads I’ve seen today because they just slide into my automatic ‘skip ad’ filter.

The brands whose ads you remember are those that are using narrative and voice effectively.

I don’t know about you, but I get an awful lot of page notifications saying that a post is performing better than 95% of other posts, and that I should boost it to reach more people. Sometimes I get that notification when no one has even liked the post yet! So call me a cynic, but I’m not sure that the ‘insights’ you can get for your accounts are that reliable. At the end of the day, social media platforms are trying to make money too. My ‘reach’ varies pretty widely, it’s usually a small percentage of my actual following and it’s a deliberate ploy to get me to spend money. I’m not saying that you can completely discount page insights, but I am saying that if you’re basing engagement or sales targets on them that you might be setting yourself up to fail.

How about NO

In my next blog I will analyse Tinkerbelle’s 2019 Instagram #TopNine, show you what I learned about my audience from that one post, and talk about how to identify your point of difference and use it to drive your story.

Ngā mihi,


(If this has been at all helpful, you’ve spotted a typo or you’d like to play devil’s advocate, drop a comment below and let me know. As long as I have fewer grammatical errors than St* I’m going to call it a win!)