BCM 302 Peer Reviews – Part 2: The Beta

Peer Review 1: Charlea Schembri

Originally, Charlea’s digital artefact involved the continuation of her existing social media manager role for Australian athleisure brand Colossal Culture. However, due to a number of circumstances beyond her control, this project quickly became too difficult to manage, and she decided to return to a previous digital artefact – the social media co-management of Flinders-based dog groomer Shaggy Chic – which would provide greater opportunities to create and curate original content. Unfortunately, this project also ultimately failed as a result of external factors, forcing Charlea to seek out her third project of the semester, the social media management of copywriting service Virtually Emma.

Despite spending such little time on each project, I’d hoped to see evidence of prototyping and testing to demonstrate her short-term contribution to each brand and her involvement in the making process. In her original Pitch Presentation, I’d been impressed by her previous and planned content for Colossal Culture, which was further enhanced in her Beta Presentation’s grid aesthetic proposal. However, the same couldn’t be said for Shaggy Chic.

While Charlea had included a screenshot of the brand’s current Instagram feed in her Beta Presentation, it wasn’t clear what her contribution to Shaggy Chic had been in her month co-managing the brand’s online presence beyond scheduling posts. There was no evidence of engagement with the brand’s target market or research regarding, for example, ideal posting times or appropriate hashtags for the brand’s particular niche, nor had hashtags, calls-to-action or engaging captions been implemented. From my own research, I also couldn’t find evidence of the use of Instagram Stories, Reels, IGTV or Guides, nor any differentiation in content across the brand’s Instagram feed during the timeframe Charlea was employed. Therefore, I couldn’t identify any examples of prototyping and testing. Additionally, as she hadn’t included a starter pack or any information about her project’s audience, it was hard to determine whether the content being shared was actually effective in reaching Shaggy Chic’s target market as both enquiries featured were referred by existing clients.

Fortunately, her most recent project is looking significantly more promising. Aware of her previous projects’ faults, Charlea’s shifted her focus back to the defining and planning stages, utilising a number of resources to support her content creation and curation process. She has also ensured her content is in line with both the FIST principle and existing Virtually Emma brand guide, though has again neglected the development of a starter pack to more clearly define and understand her audience. As she is only just beginning her journey with Virtually Emma, I strongly encourage her to reflect on her target audience and social utility goals, and include these in her Contextual Report alongside the insights she uncovers as she begins sharing content and initiating feedback loops with users.

Moving forward, I also would suggest experimenting with Instagram’s other features, such as Reels and Guides. Virtually Emma’s previous Reels have been reasonably successful, and Guides would be an appropriate way to highlight the various services she offers businesses. As video content is known to perform significantly better than still posts, this is definitely something else to consider in future content (and can be repurposed for TikTok or other platforms, too)!

Overall, I’m excited to see how Charlea’s digital artefact progresses over the next few weeks, and wish her the best of luck with Virtually Emma.

Peer Review 2: Julia Farrington

Unlike Charlea’s project, Julia has persisted in her management of indie-rock band The Tin Knees’ online presence, despite the challenges faced due to current lockdown restrictions across New South Wales which significantly limited her ability to capture new audiovisual material. Primarily, she has focused on creating, curating and communicating content for the band’s Instagram account, with direct input from The Tin Knees.

Prior to even watching her Beta Presentation, I was extremely impressed with the depth of Julia’s accompanying blog post and how clearly each aspect of her project’s developmental trajectory had been communicated. Her constant prototyping and testing were extremely clear through the use of embedded Instagram posts, and her discussions were consistently justified with user feedback in the form of Instagram Insights and peer evaluations, the results of which were collectively used to inform future decisions and project iterations. Further, within the Beta Presentation itself, she’d included screenshots of various posts she’d shared over the past few weeks, in addition to the account’s overall performance which highlighted the most successful posts in that timeframe. This allowed her to identify the content most favoured by her audience so as to cater future material to their preferences.

Most notably, I admired the way she responded to the initial peer feedback received following her Pitch Presentation. After careful consideration, she’d taken on board several suggestions such as better defining her target audience (i.e. through the creation of two starter packs – one for local fans and one for international fans) and ensuring simplicity in her content creation (i.e. adhering to #FIST). While some recommendations weren’t implemented, such as using Twitter for more candid and unscripted interactions by The Tin Knees, she ensured to justify her decisions and reflect on alternate ways certain goals could be achieved.

To conclude her blog post, Julia optimistically reflected on the near future and how the changing environment will impact her ability to successfully manage The Tin Knees’ online presence, such as the increased availability of video content to share on the band’s Instagram page, as well as the upcoming release of new merchandise. This further demonstrates her solid understanding of her users and the Instagram platform as it incorporates content that has previously proven successful with her audience while abiding by industry best practices.

Overall, I think Julia has done an incredible job with both her Beta Presentation and digital artefact. Her various iterations have demonstrated consistent improvement throughout the semester, and she is actively prototyping and testing new ideas to maximise the effectiveness of The Tin Knee’s Instagram account in reaching and engaging their audience. In considering this, my only suggestion is to consider integrating more frequent and varied audiovisual content as this has clearly performed significantly better than other posts. While I understand Julia’s not yet able to capture new footage such as live performances, it is fairly easy to animate an image or convert a music video to a gif and add background music. Hence, this recommendation follows the #FIST principle, and can even be repurposed as Reels, IGTV or Stories!

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