I pull up to Andrew and Kara’s house at 3:30pm on a Thursday to pick up Andrew for our gig with Greenpeace on board their boat The Arctic Sunrise. Kara is on her way out to run a quick errand, but suggests that Andrew borrow one of her scarves because he’d been feeling under the weather and it will probably be cold and misty on the boat. He insists that he is not a scarf man, but he tries it on anyway and models it for himself in the mirror.
His eyes brighten as he realizes that not only is it comfy, but it also looks good. So good that he pleads with Kara to take a picture of him for Instagram. After dozens of shots and a couple location changes, he gets one that he is pleased with and immediately posts it. The picture looks great and 15 minutes later he delightfully announces that the picture already has racked up 20 likes. This prompts me to check a post that I made a few hours prior; an announcement that my new song will be coming out on Friday. It has 5 likes. Despite the fact that I only have 150 Instagram followers to Andrew’s 600, I can’t help but feel defeated. I don’t say anything, but my mind becomes restless as I consider that I have chosen to use Instagram as a primary method of marketing my music and I don’t really know how to use it.
I spend the next 10 minutes researching what kinds of post get the most traction on Instagram. And then the following 20 minutes taking awful selfies because the article I read says that good pictures of yourself tend to do well, something that Andrew apparently knew already. None of the pictures I take are remotely presentable and I just wind up feeling awkward and uneasy. But I am not ready to give up. The whole point of me using social media is to be vulnerable and put myself out there, so I ask Andrew if he will help me. He eagerly obliges. After a number of attempts, we wind up with this photo.
A few of the failed attempts…
It’s weird and silly, but it feels right. I post it and wait. I give it 30 minutes until we’re on the road to San Francisco before I ask Andrew to check the likes for me. It already has 15 likes while the one from earlier about my song being released only has 7. My anxiety subsides and I can now focus on the performance ahead of us. It is still frustrating to me that the post I used specifically for marketing my music got so little traction, but I don’t feel defeated anymore.
To be completely honest I don’t really understand why a photo like the one I posted worked well. Part of me thinks it’s because it captured a genuine piece of my personality. Another part of me is aware that this genre of photo is popular these days. Why though? I’m drawn to these kinds of images too, but I’m not sure why.