Discussions about audience, numbers, reach, engagement, and content come up in nearly every single one of my projects.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion about what matters most–is it numbers? Engagement? How should this content look and be presented? The list never ends.
This year, throughout 2017, I’m performing my own little social media experiment: The VOICE5 PROJECT (Voices project). I’m investing a little bit of time into creating and curating five social media accounts on Instagram (hence the number five) and will measure and compare the growth and engagement for each content style. Throughout the year I’m going to evaluate which of these five accounts does best, and try to decipher if there is any meaningful benefit to simplifying and refining a style and voice.
Does voice matter?
The concept of crafting and presenting an artistic voice is something that means a lot to me. Over the years, I have tried to go from a generalist “video maker” to distilling my work into a more expressive and unique voice. It’s hard to really sum up that journey or what voice means, but I guess the best way I can describe it is that it’s the character or personality you infuse into your work – it’s the fingerprint you leave. While I have some bigger goals for infusing my voice into my film work, I’m interested in the impact this project will have on day-to-day content.
Sabrina and I are always debating how content should unfold on a visual account, and she always suggests that I work on sharing very specific work with a crafted voice or tone, and most importantly, work with a cohesive visual aesthetic. I’ve been really intrigued by her growth online both personally and professionally, so I thought I would take her advice to the next level. I’ll be testing this concept of “voice” across five topics that I’m passionate about: my dog, my lifestyle and voice, portrait work, architecture work, and black and white photography. By January of 2018 I’ll present my findings and what resonated with each audience the most.
A (somewhat) measured approach
I’m not getting super scientific with this–I pretty much failed science in school–but I’m going for numbers and general engagement. I want to find out which account gains the most followers and which hashtags get used most. I’m approaching this project with five main goals:
- To figure out what content type or “voice” has the most success in gaining an audience.
- To see if I am I able to build any kind of meaningful or engaged community. (Are people using the hashtag and actually commenting or submitting their work?)
- To build my production business (#wildandlight) hashtag by incorporating it into all my posts. (Will others start to use it?)
- To evaluate if the numbers and audience growth lead to a partnership with at least one major brand this year.
- To see if there is any real or meaningful business impact from a growth in social media audience. (Will I get hired more? Will I have more traffic to my websites? Does building a social media audience really matter for your business (specifically as a creative)?)
My strategy for this project is simple: I’ll post a minimum of one photo a day on each account, drawing from personal work, friends work, or individuals that start using the community hashtags. One day out of each weekday, I’m going to focus on one account, engaging with the community as much as I can. At the end of the day, some accounts will get more love than others (it’s way easier to post on Shawn Lovering or on A Dog Named Piper), but I’m going to try and be as balanced as possible.
I started all the accounts on January 1st 2017, except for my personal account which had roughly 960 followers on that day. I’ll be linking all accounts to one single Facebook account which will combine the posts here: www.facebook.com/voice5project/ Here is a rundown of each of the accounts for this project:
Somewhere Grey – Black and White Photography Community
In The Shadow Of Giants – Architecture Photography Community