How do you decide which photos to post? When do, or should you post them? Is there a specific time of day, or a specific reason why you publish a photo online?
I’m constantly asking myself these questions. It stems partly from working in social media marketing, where it’s important to optimize your posting in order to reach the widest audience. I also feel a need to “curate” my output.
I want there to be a method to my madness.
Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t
Perhaps it’s an insecurity, but I tend to overthink when it’s appropriate or “best” to post a particular photo. As a result, I tend to post more often on special occasions, which I’ve found isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
While the amount of reach or attention a particular photo gets isn’t the most important thing about my art, it’s still the nature of the social media world we live in. Of course I want my work to reach the widest audience possible, or strike a nerve at just the right time!
Posting with Purpose
This may all have started from some underlying fear of rejection, but I can’t deny that it’s there and ultimately part of my process. So, I use it to my advantage, and do something I like to call “posting with purpose.” I’ve found that utilizing this “special occasion” mentality can actually help my creative output and bring me out of creative ruts.
Here are a few ways you can post with purpose:
- Holidays present the perfect reason to post a photo. As a bonus, they’re predictable, giving you a clear deadline on when an image needs to be taken, edited, and posted.
- “Newsjacking” is a term used for marketing, defined as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.” Is there something particularly news-worthy that’s sparked your creativity? Seize that opportunity and make sure to use the coinciding hashtag if appropriate! You can pick big, important events like the Women’s March, or pop culture events like the release of a new movie or movie trailer.
- Contests and challenges. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about using contests to fuel your creative fire. I also like to pay close attention to communities on social media that hold weekly or monthly challenges. There are even themed hashtag events (like Raptor Pack Day on Instagram) you can use to generate new photo ideas!
- Days of the Year. Just about every single day of the year has some kind of special and (more often than not) bizarre holiday attached to it. Today, October 14th, for instance, is National Dessert Day. Luckily, plenty of websites provide calendars for such days so that you can plan ahead. Scroll through the list and see what kind of ideas you can come up with!Months and weeks have designated themes too. October is, among other things, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Pizza Month.
- Life Events. Is it your birthday? Your nephew’s high school graduation? Your marriage anniversary? Turn these life events into opportunities to take personal and memorable photos!
Hopefully, over time, I’ll get more comfortable with sharing shots on a random day, unprompted. In the meantime, I’ve found that posting with purpose has helped me stay consistent, and keeps my creative juices flowing!
Do you find yourself curating your feed, or post for specific reasons? Share your methods in the comments below!
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Great post James. Thank You! ☺️
I found out that I use most of the methods You mentioned. I learned them during my practice on IG and lately on G+. The newest is the geek calendar I use in my photos. I try to take photos early enough to have them ready for day of the UFO or something like that. Due to my job and family life I have problem with quick reaction to current situations like the SW trailer. I have an idea, the fig and only I don’t have the time 🙂
Thank you! A geek calendar is an excellent idea. I am quite active on Twitter so that’s how I get a lot of my pop culture news, but it’d be great to be able to plan ahead on all of that stuff as well. Like you said it’s sometimes hard to have a quick reaction to things with real life and work getting in the way. And in today’s 24-hour news cycle you sometimes have to act quickly, or the opportunity is gone.
Nice insight into your process and REALLY like the shots. The hot dog guy is great and I missed that one evidently. Lucky you that there are so many holidays now!
Thanks Kim! There’s a great story about the hot dog photo. One morning Jordan woke up excited and said, “It’s national hot dog day!” I quickly took a shot and went to post it, only to have her say, “Oh wait… It’s national DOG day. Sorry.”
So, I shelved it and posted it later, when National Hot Dog Day actually came around! 😂