Before reading, view the first instalment here.
October marks the final month of my four-year-long university journey. As such, this semester was my final opportunity to produce a digital artefact, so I wanted to develop something that would best prepare me for entering the workforce in the coming months. Having run Listen Loud – my music blog for fans of the punk, rock and alternative genres – since mid-2020, I decided early on that the continuation of this project would best benefit myself as I’d be able to demonstrate my commitment to a long-term project, and a variety of skills practiced in the process. Additionally, as entertainment business management is a competitive field to penetrate, with limited entry-level employment opportunities available, Listen Loud would also help me stand out against other future applicants by enhancing my existing portfolio.
As discussed in my original pitch, I’d planned to utilise Facebook and Instagram to promote my work and encourage the development of an engaged community of likeminded individuals. I aimed to post once per week, with my ultimate goal being to increase my following on each platform, and planned to utilise Facebook and Instagram Stories to engage my audience between posts. In the following week, I also received significant peer feedback which largely supported my ideas, offering very few recommendations and tweaks outside of my proposed process. However, as I began posting, I quickly noticed several areas I thought could be improved.
Firstly, I found that I was able to maintain a consistent posting schedule of twice per week, as opposed to my original goal of one. Not only was I receiving a lot more content from artists, but, as I got back into the swing of writing following a brief hiatus earlier this year, I found I was able to get through each post considerably quicker. This increase in posts was also supported by the majority of my peers (68.4%), as evident in the below poll.
Secondly, as suggested by a number of users and peers, I created a Listen Loud Spotify playlist with songs featured on Listen Loud, to be updated each Friday. This offered users a new platform to engage with my brand while being simple to manage. As Listen Loud is a music blog, it also seemed a fitting accompaniment, and could be embedded into my website to encourage further engagement.
As a marketing student, I’m very aware of how well video content performs on social media as opposed to still posts and captions. Hence, I wanted to incorporate more audiovisual material in my content moving forward to better engage my audience. After stopping video interviews last year, however, I don’t currently have any original content I can share. Additionally, I’d like to avoid sharing music videos in my feed as (i) Facebook limits the reach of posts with links to external sites (i.e., YouTube), and (ii) videos posted directly to the platform with copyrighted music and visuals will be removed from the platform, with potential repercussions for my page.
Moving forward, I’m hoping to improve my Facebook and Instagram Stories to drive engagement until I’m able to attend events. This will be done through more frequent and consistent posting, the use of audiovisual elements, and the inclusion of interactive stickers, polls and sliders.
Finally, after observing a decline in engagement alongside an increase in followers, I’ve decided to shift my overall focus. Moving forward, I’ll be placing greater value on engagement as opposed to the size of my audience as this is a better indicator of success and content relevance.
With each new instalment, I shared a progress report on my Twitter in the form of several threads, each of which represented a new article. The purpose of these threads was to document and analyse the success of each post relative to those before it, in the hopes of identifying trends in which artists, genres or topics are most appealing to my audience. Twenty-four hours after each post had been published, I noted the number of likes, comments and shares, as well as total reach, as shown below. Often, this was followed up by further analysis and observations, such as the impact certain hashtags may have had on the post’s performance, or whether the artist engaging with the post increased the likelihood of fans engaging, too.
Additionally, each Sunday at 6PM, I shared an overview of my blog’s overall performance that week, including total reach, total engagement and follower growth or decline. This allowed me to assess the overall performance of my blog to determine whether I was achieving my goals. Originally, when my focus was on increasing my audience, I was frequently achieving this as new accounts discovered my blog on Facebook and Instagram. However, after shifting my focus to quality engagement, I’ve found it’s actually on a decline. Hence, it’s most important that I address this issue as I move forward to maximise appeal to my audience and demonstrate the successful management of a community.