January Instagram Challenge and What I Learned

In January, I secretly did a photo challenge on Instagram. The challenge came from a calendar with an assigned theme for each day of the month. I missed one day.

Here is what I learned:

  • With a theme, it's not super hard to pick or find a photo. It takes about 10 minutes to search, prep, and post a photo.
  • Captions matter. I think longer captions interpret what we're after and encourage engagement.
  • People prefer pictures with faces in them. Those always get more likes.
  • It's not a big deal if few people like a post. Often times, there were only 5 likes. Is the whole goal to get as many reactions as possible? Or to document my life and bless those who follow? If the goal is to chase likes, then I'm tempted only post the best moments and to exaggerate my life so that others like it or react to it. But that is neither true or kind. Others should know that my life is largely boring just like theirs. I hate it when people whose marriages are on the rocks post pictures about how perfect their family is, so I should not contribute to that by misrepresenting my life.
  • This kind of challenge puts the social back in social media. Instead of sharing other people's posts, it shares what is happening in my life.
  • Our personal social media feeds can be experiments on how to do social media for business and organizations too. This was an experiment in my own feed, and it helps me think about how to do social media for our church or any other project I'm working on.
  • I prefer using the Instagram and Facebook feeds than to use stories because they last longer. I know the trend is to post stories, but I think that the feed is better because people can return to that and get caught up. If I'm going to spend 1-10 minutes prepping, then I want it to count and last longer than 24 hours. But because I learned how to use stories, those principles and methods can be used in regular feed posts to make them more interesting.


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