BCM 114 Module 2: Prototyping

This is it. The home stretch. As of October 31st, I’ll have submitted my final assessment of my final semester of uni. The culmination of seventeen years of schooling, done, just like that. It’s crazy to think about how much I’ve accomplished in those years, and how quickly it all seems to have passed (though not so much at the time). This semester, in particular, has just flown by. Granted, I’ve managed to keep myself busy throughout lockdown (hitting our 100th consecutive day at home earlier this week), though it still seems way too early to be Week 10 (did October come early this year?).

Fortunately, despite how quickly the last few weeks have gone, I feel as though this has been the most productive semester in terms of my digital artefact. As discussed in both my Pitch Presentation and Module 1 Reflection, I elected to continue my existing music blog, Listen Loud, and, despite a few rough patches along the way, have stuck with it all semester long. I did, however, implement a number of changes in the weeks between my Pitch and Beta Presentations (released earlier this week), though I’ll touch on these shortly!

While Module 1 (Thinking, Observing, Defining, Ideating) focused on the initial conception of a digital artefact, Module 2 (Prototyping, Testing, Breaking, Remaking) was all about the iterative process and the continual development of a project to maximise its effectiveness in achieving its intended goals. As I was continuing an existing project rather than starting from scratch, I already had a solid foundation to work off from previous semesters’ iterations. However, I quickly noticed several areas I felt could be further enhanced to better appeal to my audience, beginning with the types of content I was sharing.

My initial prototype consisted of my existing Listen Loud website in addition to Facebook and Instagram accounts. While I was confident in the aesthetic appeal and functionality of my platforms due to constant positive feedback from followers, friends and family, I found I was consistently receiving very little engagement and struggling to grow my platforms beyond their current follower counts. Hoping to find patterns or trends in my levels of engagement (such as a better response to particular artists, genres, themes, posting times/days, etc.), I began reporting on the success of each individual post twenty-four hours after sharing, in addition to a weekly summary of the overall performance of my content across each platform. These reports, often in addition to a brief analysis of the data, were shared on my personal Twitter account as individual threads alongside the particular article itself.

During this stage, I also increased my posting to twice per week, a result of a poll I had shared early in the semester questioning the ideal amount of content to be shared weekly. While I had hoped to see an increase in reach and engagement as a result of this change (due to extensive research which suggested more frequent posting is correlated with increased exposure and, therefore, engagement), I noticed no significant difference. I have, however, stuck to the increased frequency of posting as it allows me to further enhance my writing skills and showcase a greater collection of work. As my primary goal of my project is to build a strong portfolio of work, at least this is being achieved!

The second key piece of feedback I’d received following my pitch presentation was to dedicate more time and effort into the creation of interactive Facebook and Instagram Stories, which could be shared throughout the week to fill the gaps between articles. While I intended to implement this from the beginning, I found it was hard to find time to create content that added value to my blog while being both engaging and different to what I had already shared during the week. As my platform focus at the time was also primarily on increasing exposure and growing my following, I largely neglected the use of Stories until recently, as I’d realised my focus should instead be on promoting engagement as this would be a more accurate indicator of the appeal and relevance of my content to my audience. (While verbal or written feedback would be ideal – and significantly more reliable – no one from my audience had responded to my feedback requests, and so engagement was the best resource readily available from my target audience.)

Of the first few stories I’d posted throughout the semester, I’d received little – if any – engagement. At first, I found this to be really discouraging and an ineffective way to spend my available time and attention (cATs), though I soon began to view it as an opportunity to experiment with different styles and features. As I’ve only just begun working on designing a number of stories to put up in the following week, I haven’t yet been able to evaluate their success, though I am conscious of best practices and plan on incorporating animations, sound and interactive stickers (polls, sliders, music, questions) to encourage engagement. In the meantime, I’ve continued to share new music recommendations in my Stories featuring album covers and snippets of the song, along with post re-shares from both my own account and those of the artists Listen Loud features. A few of my recent stories have been included below.

Aside from adjustments made to my existing platforms, the biggest change to my digital artefact this semester was the addition of a Listen Loud Spotify playlist, influenced heavily by feedback I’d received from a number of individuals over the last two months. As a music blog, it seemed an obvious addition to my project as this collection of songs would be able to complement my writing while offering viewers another platform on which to interact with my brand. Additionally, Spotify users who are currently unaware of my blog could discover Listen Loud through the platform, thereby driving attention to my website and social media. Unlike my previous accounts on Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube, Spotify would be relatively easy to manage as I would only be updating the playlist once per week and would not have to consider any of the time-consuming elements associated with other platforms (such as engaging with users, scheduling posts, copywriting, etc.).

To help drive my existing audience to my Spotify playlist, I shared an announcement via Facebook and Instagram in the form of both an animated Story and feed video. Further, I embedded the playlist into my website, allowing users to access it without having to leave the platform. While I currently only have five followers on my playlist, I hope to see this number increase as I further promote it across my platforms.

Although I’m still struggling to increase my following and engagement across each of my platforms, I believe the implementation of these two strategies (a greater focus on effectively utilising Stories and the addition of a Spotify playlist) will help achieve my project goals through Breaking my previous assumptions and allowing me to reevaluate and experiment further with the way I approach my work (Remaking). As these were each proposed in my recent Beta Presentation, I’m still in the early Prototyping stage and will need to spend a considerable amount of time to accurately assess (Test) their contribution before returning to the latter half of the Module. In the same way that I have reported on the success, or lack thereof, of each of my posts and platforms each week, I plan to include data on the response to both my Stories and Spotify playlist, too. Hopefully, as a result, I’ll see a change in my project’s user engagement within the coming weeks, and have a better understanding of the content my audience wants to see.

References
5 Reasons Your Brand Needs Its Own Spotify Playlist
Content Curation: How to Do It the Right Way (Plus Tips and Tools)
Design Better and Faster with Rapid Prototyping
Design Thinking: Get Started with Prototyping
Digital Artefacts: Breaking
Digital Artefacts: Prototyping
Digital Artefacts: Remaking
Digital Artefacts: Testing
How Often Should You Post on Instagram?
Post Frequency on Instagram Is Nonsense
Why Brands are Turning to Spotify as the Next Big Social Platform

6 thoughts on “BCM 114 Module 2: Prototyping

  1. Hi Taylor. Firstly, congratulations on finishing your final semester of uni. Your digital artefact is very well established and I think you’ve done a great job. Recognising that you weren’t receiving much engagement and needed to break down your previous assumptions was a great move. I think that the spotify playlist will be a really good addition to your project and could even introduce a new audience from spotify which you can then introduce to other platforms. From my experience in developing my digital artefact, I have found Instagram stories to be a great tool to increase engagement so I believe by focusing on this you’ll see progress. I have found it really useful to ask questions on my Instagram stories and create polls because you are able to get an understanding of the type of content your users would like to see, I think this would work really well for you too. If you are able to grasp the niche and specific requests of your audience you will receive greater engagement as you accurately target your users. Personally, I find that my users engage at a higher rate with stories (specifically question boxes and polls) then anything else because it is easy for them to fill out, so I really recommend you push to post some of these regularly and then as mentioned often in the prototyping module lectures, look for feedback and iterate accordingly. Overall, amazing work and keep it up, I love where this DA is heading! Thank you 🙂

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  2. Wow congrats on finishing up uni, that’s amazing! I’m so glad you kept productive this semester, it is honestly such a big challenge that I struggled with, I hope you end on a good note with fantastic marks. It’s great that you can recognise gaps in where your content is lacking or falling short and implementing strategies to fix that. I’ve also done research to analyse where my content is failing and have made adjustments. It’s important to set goals and maintain a positive outlook, I was so happy to read that you had taken that approach, it really helps make this whole process much more satisfying I love you were constantly seeking and receiving feedback through polls and comments from others in the community, it’s so important in improving our work, I’ve found it really helpful with my own userbase, especially when you don’t see as much growth as you’d like. I really hope that you continue posting and delivering good content!

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  3. Congrats on finishing uni! That is such an achievement! It is very impressive that you have continued your digital artefact and kept the motivation you have to actually continue it. Instagram is definitely the way to go when building a portfolio for future ‘social’ media jobs as they now ask you to list these accounts when applying. Definitely try posting more on your story on Instagram because it can attract a lot of noise from other followers. I have recently tried even promoting a few posts on the platform, it is a small cost but it does assist in growing followers, website clicks and even page visits. Keep continuing you DA after uni because it is soooo interesting.

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  4. Hey Taylor!

    I’ve absolutely loved watching your project develop and grow into something to be so incredibly proud of. I really think your concept is amazing and that you have curated such a strong platform for an idea that sets you apart from others like it. You have utilised the tools available to you in such a smart way and projected so much of your project on social media which truly is a game-changer. Your blog post was insightful and in-depth while also being so interesting and didn’t feel as though it was dragging on. I really feel you’ve captured the crux of your project and presented it in a way that not only relates really well to the subject but also to your audience! I love the idea of Spotify playlists and think that is a really smart advancement in growing your customer base and brand awareness with your audience. Perhaps think about creating several playlists in order to appease a wider range of your project audience members, as this also helps them to love your project even more and develops a rapport with your consumers through an ability to relate. However, I love your project and cannot wait to see your future successes!

    Lauren 🙂

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  5. This project blew me away with how professional and structured it looks and feels! I think you’ve done a great job and I love the idea of using it to leverage in a career and you’ve inspired me to do the same with my work. I know how disheartening it can be to see a stagger in growth and not feel like you’re reaching more users, I reached the point of my DA where I wanted to give up until I tried out some new ideas. Revisiting the ideating stage to develop further ideas to build on top of what you’ve already created might be helpful if I were to put myself in your shoes, but i’m just speaking from the knowledge and experience i’ve gained in making a DA and i’m sure all projects would not play by the same rules for growing.
    An example of a new idea would be if you have time, make a mashup of some songs or a quick collection of snippets of songs using something like audacity. I’m currently learning how to use it but it’s not too relevant with my project, it definitely could be a good promotional aspect of your DA as it’s all about music. It would be cool to add to your portfolio and employers in the music industry may be impressed that you know how to do some sound mixing and apply it to your work, just an idea from someone who doesn’t know too much about music anyway so don’t take me too seriously 😆.
    I heard that Tiktok isn’t on your agenda and I totally understand why, I think youtube would be a cool platform for you to explore and that would complement and uplift your work appropriately. It may not fit in with FIST too well on the ‘Fast’ aspect, but if you don’t want too much extra work you could read out one of your articles you’ve written to test the waters and make a short ‘video essay’ type video. Check out @MicTheSnare on Youtube if you want to explore this idea further, he does really engaging and polished music content on youtube and everything i’ve learnt about music history has been from this channel.
    Or if you’re wanting to give Tiktok another chance or even just want some inspiration for idea my favourite music creator on Tiktok is @willtalksmusic and he does really fun series like ‘100 songs to listen to before you die’ or the ‘best ___ song’ for different artists. They may be worth checking out and in general, I think it would be very useful to follow/like/comment on these kind’s of creators posts and try and engage with users who are interested in following pages like theirs and yours.
    Best of luck and I hope you’re able to grow, your project is so well done and defiantly deserves more followers!

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  6. I’ve been following your account since the start of the semester it’s been great to witness everything you have done with your account! I love how active you always are, which is proven to be a good sign as you have a pretty large audience already. It’s great to see you utilising stories and figuring out what your target audience is. I think what you’re doing is great, though if you ever have extra time on your hands I recommend exploring relevant hashtags to your account and liking all the pictures or even commenting. This process has helped me with gaining a larger audience, and I think you would benefit to! Keep up the good work!

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