The @poetny Instagram page is dedicated to pictures from a show series held every Sunday night at Bowery Poetry called Poet NY. This series is meant to bring in poets who are in NYC, native or not. The host often uses this event as an opportunity to give features to international poets visiting New York City.
Old Instagram Aesthetic
The old @poetny Instagram aesthetic was similar to that of @bowerypoetry. There was much repetition in the image style and each post was captioned with a quote accompanied with the name of the poet. The images were different versions of the same thing. Therefore, although the performers were acknowledged, they were rarely tagged and the visual content was not very engaging. There was no relatability because each image of a person lacked depth. The followers only had a short quote, image, and name to gather what emotions the performance might have had in person. This lack of engaging content reflected in the gradual but consistent drop in likes as followers continued to lose interest in the repetitive images.
This strategy was doing nothing to help boost Bowery Poetry’s online visibility. Their branding was falling behind as the lack of diverse and attractive content was leading to them falling to the bottom of their followers feeds.
Content was repetitive and homogeneous in aesthetic.
Lack of dynamic content was leading to engagement drop.
The images posted gave very little to no information on the events depicted. Therefore, giving followers that were unaware of the event no real reason to follow the instagram account.
Understanding The Brand Identity
According to Marieke de Mooij in Global Marketing and Advertising: Understanding Cultural Paradox, a brand is a “form of communication and entertainment… (used) to differentiate against the competition and to build intangible value in the form of customer goodwill, trust, and loyalty (27).”
In order to create a good social media strategy it is imperative to get an idea of what the brand is, how it operates, the brand’s vision/goals and how that can be conveyed into images that will bring all those attributes to life.
When I first approached the BP team about creating a new marketing strategy for both Instagram accounts (@bowerypoetry and @poetny), I was told they were considering deleting the @poetny page.
However, I felt this Instagram could prove useful in their business goals because of the name and the fact that it allows for more marketing opportunities for both Bowery Poetry and Slam Find, a platform that aims to be the Netflix for poetry performances from around the world.
The inclusion of @Poetny in the marketing strategy could act as a sort of “endorsement branding” under the Bowery Poetry brand umbrella. De Mooij describes endorsement branding as a type of branding that links subbrands (Poet NY) to the corporate brand (Bowery Poetry) (Mooij 32). In doing so, the brand is able to keep the conversation about their main brand alive through subchannels that might speak more to other parts of the target audience, thus expanding the scope of their outreach and brand image relatability.
I saw @poetny as an amazing opportunity to give both Bowery Poetry and Slam Find another stream of followers, as well as boost the brand identity and overall relatability of Bowery Poetry.
Playfully elegant, attract poets and art lovers of all ages.
Boost brand awareness so that patrons can know of and continue to regularly return to Bowery Poetry as well as learn about the existence of Slam Find.
For the @poetny page I decided to go down a different creative route. For this profile I felt it would be best to use the name Poet NY to the marketing strategy advantage. My idea was to create a sort of poetry version of Humans of New York. Each week I would meet with a new poet, talk to them about their work, take a picture of them in front of the Bowery Poetry Club sign and a video of them writing poetry somewhere in the city.
For this profile I did not want to use a grid layout. I wanted things to be posted organically. The only patterns I employed were always giving each poet 9 posts for the week, one image of them in front of Bowery poetry, and at least one video of them writing somewhere in the city. I had no order for when each type of content would be posted. This Instagram aesthetic proved to be useful because it improved the engagement of this profile.
The previously stagnant number of followers began to increase during this time.
The average number of likes went from 10.55 to 43.3, thus increasing the likelihood of Instagram boosting the content to the top of followers feeds.
Engagement with semi-repetitive content went up due to the mix of diverse and relatable content.
This graph does not show consecutive results over the same period of time. The blue line shows how the posts were doing before I took over. This overlap of information aims to give a visual example of how well the new strategy performs in comparison to the old one. None of the image numbers correspond. Rather, it is an abstract labeling of the last 20 images before I began (blue line) and the first 20 images/videos posted after I began (red and yellow).
This graph gives a birds eye view of how much the content engagement improved after implementing the new Instagram strategy. It is important to note that the posts that did the best on the @poetny account were the images I took of the feature poet in front of the Bowery Poetry Club sign.
This noticeable difference in engagement made me aware of just how effective the proper use of real people can be. Although the page was no longer only about Bowery Poetry, but about the people, the mention of Bowery Poetry still sparked engagement with the account followers. These pictures were similar to the images that were posted before I came in because there was consistency and homogeneity. It was always a picture of the poet if the week in front of the same sign standing in similar positions as the others. However, because the image was posted sparingly, with an average of 8 other very different posts between each, followers were less likely to get bored of the repetition.
The rest of the images were diverse and ensured that there was always something interesting and new to keep followers engaged and interested. Thus, proving my point that visual stimulation is a key part of Instagram aesthetic related marketing.
Although this graph shows a clear improvement when I began managing the social media content there are moments where the engagement shows a clear decline. These moments are sometimes for clear reasons such as an uninteresting image that I needed to post because I believe consistency is very important when creating a new strategy. Other times, the reason would be due to an awkward post time that would snowball into the post being shown to less followers and overall gaining less engagement as result of the Instagram algorithm. In the case of @poetny I believe it was more of the latter than the former since all of the images I posted were carefully curated.
These problems arose as a result of the fact that I produced and implemented the social media strategies alone. Social media management is an inexpensive but equally challenging and taxing marketing strategy. Therefore, it is best to have a small team or someone who is able to make it their full time job. At the time of this research I was building Enithingiwant/wear/write/make while also being a full time student alongside doing social media management for two accounts simultaneously.
Moving forward on future projects, inconsistencies that might hurt the engagement of a post would be avoided because I would likely have a small team or individual at your company that I could train to do this as easily, consistently, and efficiently as possible. I will introduce the individual or team members to applications that can be used to improve the overall efficiency of your new social media strategy.