Managing a Work Instagram Account

I’m a little surprised that I haven’t covered this earlier in my blog, but then again, I’ve only been in my current job for seven months or so (it feels like a lot longer!) I’ve only started thinking about this since I’m doing a presentation on Tuesday about managing social media accounts, and I realised the wildly different tack I’ve been taking with Instagram.

In previous roles, I’ve managed Facebook and Twitter accounts, including multiple Facebook pages for one company, but I’ve had less to do with Instagram, except during events where I was given a work phone and mostly did Instagram stories. The day to day of Instagram wasn’t something I’d worked on before, and it’s been an interesting an very different learning curve.

Instagram is far, far, more of a visual medium than Twitter/Facebook, and the way people use it is also wildly different. People curate a feed of images that they like to look through, so in order to get the best reach and engagement, you also need to curate your images and how you manage them. I’d heard and read plenty about the idea of a specific Instagram aesthetic, but I’d never thought about how much matching colours and tones within the grid of an account makes it look more slick and professional. Also, as someone who is used to marketing a lot of events, you do have a take a much less ‘sell-y’ approach – generally I save those kinds of posts for when I really think they’ll made a difference (or I’m desperate…) and try and tailor the image and copy to be a much more soft, engagement style of marketing.

One more thing – while I try to keep a constant presence up on Facebook and Twitter (and I’ve talked in the past about my scheduling systems) I don’t feel the need to do that with Instagram. Every few days seems to work just fine, and ensures that I’m not putting up substandard images for the sake of keeping the ball rolling.




July Update Post – Managing Projects, Managing Content

So, time for a little update post before the end of July!

PRINCE2 madness starts 

I’ve started my PRINCE2 coursework ready for the main course to start in September (more on that from this previous post.) Its mainly learning the technical jargon and getting to grips with basic project management processes, and I’m mostly wavering between excited for the course to start, and terrified that I won’t know everything in time. I also have a large file full of highlighted notes, which is giving me studenthood flashbacks. 

Content, what is it?

In my job, I’ve been asked to work on helping people in my organisation figure out what makes a good story, particularly in terms of social media,and they can communicate that to their own marketing and comms leads. I’ll be doing a talk later this year on ‘what makes good content’ and how to link content to a particular message or call to action.

Good reads this week

This post from Arts Council England resonated with me rather a lot, especially because I sometimes wonder whether I spent too much of my working day creating really good social content, and then wondering whether it is valued by either my audience or colleagues. It turns out this is a fairly universal social media manager worry!

From the archives

It also reminded me that last year I wrote out this little post on ‘in the moment social media‘, that I probably could have gone into a lot more depth with , but basically blows out the water the idea that good content is easy, spontaneous and just the click of a phone camera away. Most of my work social media is in fact less day-by-day planned than it used to be (though I can still produce content a week in advance where needed) because when you’re marketing outdoor events and venues, you are entirely at the mercy of the Great British weather. However, I’m still working with sets of pre-planned phrases, photos and ideas, it’s a matter of quick edits and popping them into at the right times. As social media is only one part of my job, this helps to plan out my day by setting aside time to handle it all more efficiently, whilst still being a little bit reactive to customer queries etc.!

Value of print and digital marketing – Presentation Notes

This morning, I headed into Manchester to meet up with some of the team from Culture Calling, (thanks Donna for the invite!) whom I’ve worked on marketing campaigns in the past. They were doing a presentation and chat on integrated print and digital campaigns and I got plenty of notes, so I decided to pop them up here for future marketing reference.

The first section focused pretty heavily on print marketing and why it continues to work even though we live in an increasingly all-encompassing digital world.

Direct marketing spend year on year by companies continues to go up overall.

Most effective marketing channels – Search engine marketing 66%, Offline channels 57%

Case Study time!

Canada Mail and Impact Marketing tested the same campaign with two groups of people.

  • One only received direct print drops and direct mail
  • The other received email and were served digital ads

They found there was more positive motivation to act from people who had received physical print:

  •  More likely to notice the brand name elsewhere
  •  More positive association with the brand
  • People found there was less effort involved in reading paper than digital
  • The positive associations were most noticeable in the 30-49 range

Higher print stock quality also had a positive impact so how people perceived the quality of the brand.

However, when it came to how much people said they would miss advertising if it was not presented to them (and yes, people do miss advertising when it’s not there) charities came in roughly equal for digital (9%) and print (10%)

Issues with digital ads versus print

Digital ads, esp MPUs, banners etc. tend to pull the eye to different parts of the page. In comparison, print (well-designed print) is linear and therefore more calming to read through. It creates a more intuitive process in the brain, which also means more understanding and engagement.

Haptic qualities

The mind creates a deeper emotional response to something it can touch or feel. This links back to print quality effect – better quality, better feeling paper/card.

Marketing longevity

According to a Royal Mail study, a piece of marketing print is kept, on average, for 38 days in a house, and 23% of print is shared between multiple members of a household, meaning that there is a high value for money in the print.


Outdoor display, print advertising (newspapers, magazines etc.) and media (TV, radio etc,) are forms a passive engagement. People are served these adverts whilst in the process of doing something else. Physical print is, like direct mail, social media/search advertising, are active engagement – you make the decision to do something to engage with them.

However, this certainly doesn’t mean that digital advertising isn’t worth it – just that it needs to be treated differently, not better or worse. Print is an anchor for your audience, and you can boost its effectiveness with digital marketing.

Digital advertising can show immediately who/what/where your audience is, but you can do this with print in different ways, because you control exactly where the print goes in terms of drivetime from your venue/event, specific public locations etc.

One case study that was briefly discussed involved a leaflet drop in multiple postcode sectors, with a different offer code for different areas to help track success rates.

Consider how a piece of print can be useful in multiple ways, for example, if advertising to a literary crowd, think about making a bookmark, or a paper ruler from school bag drops. Colouring sheets are great for family audiences. Postcard books for multiple events, map guides – you need to make things that people will have a reason to want to keep hold of.

Facebook down; Internet explodes

I wonder what the loss of revenue is when Facebook goes down?

Not for Facebook I mean, though I’m sure it causes employees and shareholders considerable grief, but for the people who use it.

I don’t know if there’s any kind of public figures or even estimates for the number of Facebook ads being run, from the massive political and government advertising that makes up a huge proportion of their income (again, figures are hard to come by, even with more transparency on political advertising in some countries) to a single person local business spending a very small amount of money to engage a few new customers.

Of course, anyone who pays for advertising doesn’t (or shouldn’t) lose money while Facebook is down – though if you did, I suspect there’s no legal comeback. However, if you’d planned an ad to coincide with a particular timescale, public holiday, or offer at your own business, every moment that ad isn’t being seen is a moment where you aren’t getting in the customers that you wanted.

Also, the whole world of professional influencing has a problem when Facebook and Instagram aren’t up and running, since that’s a very fast-paced world for views, likes and attempts to manipulate the algorithm. It’s also a very sink or swim world for many people trying to make money off it – for every multi-million follower multi-millionaire beauty blogger there are thousands of small-scale influencers chasing six or seven revenue streams to make up one pay cheque. Losing out on those views, especially views promised to a particular sponsor, could do a lot of damage to their career.

This kind of dependence on one digital service is not new, nor is it something I’m criticising people for (on a professional level, I’m waiting for a Facebook ad to be put together, as it has to go out soon or conflict with another marketing campaign. It’s certainly not career or business-damaging but it is frustrating.) But it is interesting to think how much industries and lives can be affected by this.

Personalised Ads aren’t actually Complicated

So, after spending a Boxing Day doing things that are very traditional for Boxing Day and mostly involve getting cold and wet along with a large group of other people (followed by lots of food) I’ve decided to put together a quick post on a feature of digital marketing that doesn’t often get talked about.

Recently whilst browsing Twitter, I spotted some comments that stuck in my mind (though frustratingly not well enough for me to remember who said them and exactly when/where I saw them) and the basic gist was this – people are very worried about the amount of data that advertisers have on them, and how they are able to turn this into ads that exactly appeal to their needs. The concept of ads that push some kind of specific psychological buttons is pretty deep-seated in the public consciousness now – as the script for the already infamous Brexit trailer shows.

To tell you the truth, as someone working in marketing this worried me a little too at times, because it made me feel like I was floundering in the dark when it came to audience segmentation. I would read articles like this one and think, ‘yes, but I already segment the audience based on location, age, gender, interests, job type etc. etc. etc. – what else am I missing?’ Which is where the next part of that original Twitter comment came in – which was about how many people see an ad, and actually care about it.

Digital advertising, just like newspaper ads and leaflets and massive roadside billboards and stickers on lampposts and just about every other form of advertising that exists, only ever gets the attention (and subsequent sales/sign ups, whatever is being pushed) of a tiny fraction of the people who see it.

A 1% return on leaflets would be considered pretty good (and this is pretty hard to track, even with promo codes or surveys. Clickthrough rates on digital ads isn’t much higher – 3-4% would be good – imagine your ad is seen by 50,000 people. That means 1500 actually clicked through and looked at your website, and hopefully from there actually decided to buy something, or at least signed up on your mailing list so you can send them tempting offers in the future. Maybe a 10th of those 1500 looked through your collection of, let’s say, personalised ethically sourced jewellery and because a few of them bought quite a bit you’ve got an average spend of £20, you have £3000 worth of sales. If your ad cost you around £400, you’ve got a pretty good return on investment there for not a lot of work.

However, that also means 48,500 saw your ad on their screen, scrolled past it, and then probably forgot all about it, just as they probably couldn’t tell you what ads they saw on the front page of the Metro on the train last week. So, exactly how personalised are these ads?

So, you get political ads on Facebook and (unless you have clearly expressed support for a particular political party) if you’re a young person they’re probably left-wing ads and if you’re older they’re probably right-wing, because that’s simply the general trend. But if you got a timeline advert from the Labour party and you’re not at all interested in voting Labour, you’ll probably ignore it. It becomes part of the background noise of social media and/or the internet in general, just vague words and pictures in between more interesting content.

This means that really, marketeers, strategists and consultants don’t know anywhere near as much about you as you might think, but they’ve got enough data to make educated and profitable guesses (and I’m sure they’d like to think that they’ve got more then that, so that companies will employ them on large salaries to tell them how to make more money). In the end, marketing has got slightly more directed and personalised in recent years, but only slightly, and based on the exact same methods and data that marketing has always used. It’s only the medium that is truly different.

Things to work on in 2019

So, in the last week I took a really, really big step in life that I’ll talk about publicly here in January, and what that step means is that I no longer feel like I’m living in limbo, which has slightly been the case for the past few months. So, with some free evenings over the Christmas period, I’m doing some reading up for 2019 plans.

Firstly, I’ve gone back to a website I used to rely on for tips – Social Media Today. The first post I read on there, about visual ideas for 2019, gave me some really interesting ideas. Companies and organisations that I’ve worked with in the past always want to be bigger – bigger social media numbers all round, often setting KPIs based solely on that, but this suggests it’s really about keeping a niche group of people, which is a much more realistic way of looking at marketing and comms, especially with a limited team, budget and resources.

Elsewhere, I wrote in my last blog post that I’m looking into doing a Project Management course, but first, some studying in order. Expect notes from these and more soon.


Plus, I‘m setting myself a task to read from the Association for Project Management website – it seems like they have a set of really useful videos, which I always find to be a great way to learn.

‘In the Moment’ Social Media

This is a little blog post/thought that has been bouncing around my head for a while – mostly due to a particular evening at work recently where I stretched myself too thin. I realised that this issue is probably quite common, even for people who work in social media regularly, and I wanted to get it down as much to remind myself as anything!

Without going into too much detail about my day job, I market concerts and other events, and a large part of that job involves social media. For the most part, it’s about carefully planned and scheduled pieces of content to encourage visits, ticket sales and other engagement. However, when an event is going on, that’s a fantastic source of immediate, relatable content. People love it. So, over time, my colleagues and I have taken steps to ensure that there is a system in place for this – work phones and tech available logged into social networks etc. so that staff on the ground can get the best shots.

However, I’ve realised that even in this situation, you do need some planning in place – some knowledge of when those great shareable moments are going to happen, and someone with the time off from other duties to get content uploaded with the appropriate copy, hashtags etc.

It does seem like the easy option, but if you want to get both quality and quantity of content, especially to Twitter and Instagram Story etc (and if it isn’t both of those things, there isn’t a lot of point in trying), you need to ensure you have time, training, and preferably a dedicated person.