No matter how you look at it, Instagram is the second most popular social media platform on the planet (after Facebook).
Instagram has more monthly active users than Twitter. About one billion people now use Instagram every month, with about 500 million of them checking in daily. Eighty-seven percent of users are outside of the United States.
In spite of these impressive numbers, I have neglected Instagram for years. To me, it was just one more thing to do, and to be frank, I didn’t really know what to do with it. I’m not an exhibitionist, and I didn’t feel the need to let perfect strangers into my private life that’s far from picturesque. Also, I didn’t want to become one of those people ruining a perfect moment to snap an Instagram photo, instead of experiencing that moment.
Life needs to be lived. Not observed. Observation creates detachment, instead of closeness.
WHY JOIN ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
It’s simple, really.
Engagement with brands on Instagram is said to be 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Experts told me that even if I had less followers than on other channels, my Instagram audience would be far more interactive. With so much untapped potential, I decided it was time to give my Instagram account some love!
I wrote these words in August of 2017, and with hindsight I can tell you the experts were right. While comments on this blog have dropped significantly, interaction with my Insta-crowd has only grown, especially after I started posting a mini-blog post each day. So, if writing a full-blown blog post seems daunting to you, try writing something short on Instagram to get into a groove. Be sure to add an eye-catching photo, and you can make yourself some new friends in no time.
MY NEW BEST FRIENDS
What particularly blew me away, was the diversity of the new contacts I am making through Instagram. Many of my followers are also creative freelancers: script writers, photographers, makeup artists, models, on-screen and on-stage actors, opera singers, graphic designers, videographers, sound engineers, news anchors, musicians, even ballet dancers who work at La Scala in Milan.
I have to admit: it’s an odd bunch, but that’s what makes it so interesting! Knowing who is following me has influenced how I choose my topics, and even how I write. I still draw on my experience as a voice talent from time to time, but I try not to make it only about my life as a VO veteran. Instead, I’m sharing more of my outlook on life, and on the challenges of being self-employed in this economic climate.
My goal is the same as with this blog: to be helpful, inspiring, and entertaining to the people who read my musings. I wrote about this in my story “The Power of One.” If on one day, I can help one person with one insight or tip, or make one person smile, that’s a success to me. But I also have ambitions. Helping one person is great, but why not two, three, twenty, or two hundred? Why not two thousand?
So, I’ve asked my Instagram friends how I could increase my reach and my engagement, preferably without spending a fortune. The number one advice people gave me was to use Instagram Reels. If you’re not familiar with Reels, it’s Instagram’s answer to the immensely popular video site Tik Tok. Instagram videos get over 2 times more engagement than Instagram photos. You can post videos to Reels with a maximum length of sixty seconds.
One of the most popular options for voice over artists is to create audiograms you can post in Reels. It’s a neat way for you to share a short audio clip on a platform that was designed for photo sharing. You can see the first one I created, by clicking on the picture below. The audiogram will download on a new page.
If you just clicked on the photo, you now know which app I used to create the audiogram: Headliner. It was the number one recommended app for this purpose, and I know why. The basic version is free, and it’s super easy to use, even if technology is not your forte.
Now, the sceptics may say that posting videos and audiograms is just a time-consuming gimmick, but I disagree, and I have the numbers to back it up.
On a normal day, an average post of mine would get about sixty to eighty views, with maybe twenty likes and five comments. Since I posted the audiogram above, it has been seen 430 times, and has received 90 likes and 26 comments. It took me no more than five minutes to create it, so I say that’s a darn good result for a first attempt! How do I know all this? Through the “Insights feature” on Instagram.
Audiograms are one thing, but if you really want to make a big splash, record a short video. I was testing a foam microphone enclosure (like the Koatica Eyeball) for next week’s blog, and I posted a one-minute video of me in my studio putting the darn thing in place. This was only a few days ago, and it has been watched 967 times with 153 likes and 21 comments. Crazy, right?
FREE REELS TRAINING
Another thing my Instagram followers recommended was Jonathan Tilley’s FREE Reels training. (Yes, the bolded text in blue is always a hyperlink leading to extra info.) Tilley is a dancer turned voice over artist turned social media brand builder/photographer/public speaker. When I expressed an interest in his training, Jonathan left me a voice message on Instagram, which I thought was a really nice touch.
His high-energy, easy to follow, very entertaining, and ridiculously affordable Reels training covers everything you want to know and more. Jonathan also hosts free Q & A’s for those who signed up for the training. Now, Tilley is a master-marketer, so don’t be surprised if you receive a whole bunch of follow-up emails once you’ve signed up. He knows how to keep you on task and on track. Some people benefit from that kind of follow-up. Others may find it too much of a good thing.
My next step is to complete Tilley’s training, and start creating more videos. If you already follow me on Instagram, you get to be part of my test group as I learn new skills. I’m not promising any masterpieces, but I want to bring you some quality content with a Nethervoice-spin.
Next week on this blog, a review of the “High-Density Noise-Canceling Sponge” I bought online. Can it live up to all the marketing mumbo-jumbo?
Stay tuned (and… follow me on Instagram).