There’s been a lot of fuss on social media amongst active Second Life users around the recent announcement that Flickr was going to start limiting free accounts to 1000 pictures. For those of you that are heavily involved in taking pictures and blogging, this may impact you more so. Also, if you like to post in volume (for example, if you are a landscaping blogger that can easily create several shots from one destination sim), that can easily add up over time. Sure, you can manage this by deleting old pictures or refine the quality of your feed. I could encourage that as a solution. But the honest answer is that Flickr is not where you want to be if you want to build your brand. The fact that it’s changed hands often and went through other issues like forcing people to have Yahoo accounts and implemented 30/60 limits indicates it’s an unstable and declining platform (see my numbers later in this article that supports the latter). Yes, it works NOW, but all signs are pointing to its purpose being obsoleted by newer platforms like Instagram.
Casual bloggers wouldn’t have to worry about it much but if you are seeking an audience that wants to see more from your brand, I promise you that Instagram is a very underutilized platform that will easily burst onto the Second Life alt-account scene. To put it in simpler terms: Flickr is the equivalent of pre-mesh Second Life. It’s time to upgrade your tools.
I don’t talk about my personal life much here but one of the things I do professionally outside of Second Life. I’m paid to analyze social media accounts and consult clients on how to improve them or to manage the accounts for them. This included several high-profile clients whose followings I manage to grow very organically. While I’m used to managing much larger audiences, there were some really simple ways that we can upgrade our approach to promoting our content creation (blogs, store releases, events) that will leave us prepared for when Flickr loses its steam entirely.
Here are 5 ways that Instagram is going to be the platform you want to be on if you’re serious about building your Second Life blog or brand:
Flickr will make you pay for better analytics. Instagram won’t.
If you set up your account correctly you can gain access to a plethora of information that will tell you everything you need to know about your audience. It will tell you the best times to post, what your followers are comprised of and where they are from. It also lets you keep tabs on your different areas of growth, including engagement and follower counts. This can help you know how to create the biggest impact on what you post.
*You will need to convert your Instagram account to a Business account in order to access the analytics and benefit from the added visibility. This costs nothing and can be linked to your Facebook business or blog page easily.
INSTAGRAM DOESN’T FORCE YOU TO ADD YOUR PICTURES TO A BUNCH OF GROUPS TO GAIN EXPOSURE.
Matter of fact- it’s better to keep things minimalist when it comes to hashtags. You could seriously get by just by using #secondlife. No groups, no 30/60 limits, no-nonsense. More impact with less effort. If you bulk up on hashtags, it actually negates a lot of the effect. You need to know how to identify what works for the audience you’re seeking, not trying to attract just anyone for likes from people that aren’t even involved in Second Life.
If you want to grow your presence and brand, you need to get with the times.
I cannot stress this enough. I am sure many will say “but I’d have to use a cell phone to do it, that’s too much work” but they’ll spend the time adding to the previously mentioned hoard of groups. That’s great, but this is what is going to separate the small guys from the big players. You can’t sit and rely on antiquated methods that are publicly becoming less ideal when new platforms are surfacing as contenders for alternate ways we can showcase our work. Instagram is essentially a more powerful and less cumbersome way to manage your blog pictures. If you have it linked to your Facebook blog or business page it’s now easy to cross-post between the two platforms via a mobile device.
If you are a blogger and do not have a Facebook page specifically for your blog, you will want to remedy that before linking anything. It’s best to keep your professional interests separate so you’re giving your audience what they’re actually there for- not the memes (I’m guilty of not recognizing this myself at one stage).
The day will come that Flickr will crack down on virtual images.
Don’t buy into the hype that Flickr is already doing this, but there’s a good probability that the moves to start cracking down on limitations for free accounts will eventually lead to them restricting the platform to actual photography (versus digital art). There’s a palpable stigma on the platform and we’re not always recognized as digital artists. However, Instagram is a widely accepted (and accepting) platform for the more niche digital art out there. There is a clear community budding there already and it’s far easier process to cross-promote your Instagram versus your Flickr.
Look at the numbers.
Here’s a very simple fact that is worth mentioning. According to some reports that I found, Flickr users (as of January 2017) at peak times were uploading around 25 million on a high traffic day. However, there were also numbers from February 2014 that indicated the average was more around 1 million per day.
Instagram has over 1 billion active users (June 20th, 2018) and over 500 million active daily users. That includes 8 million business profiles. You can also have up to 5 Instagram accounts, which allows you to easily separate your interests. The depth of their analytics also allow you to know the best days and time to post, and there’s a pool of information around how much time the average user spends on Instagram, statistics around how often people are logging in each day, and revenue. Flickr seems to be rather stingy with their information.
At the heart of it, vanity and exposure kind of go hand-in-hand. While Instagram is rather narcissistic in nature, it is one of the reasons it’s the ideal platform for promoting what we can really deem as digital art and content. It’s where people know they have to be on point. It’s where you can go to check out people that really have a keen eye for the aesthetics. The #secondlife hashtag already boasts over 347k results on the platform- and people haven’t fully woken up to its capabilities.
Still not convinced? Give it time. I promise you that those who stay ahead of the curve and learn to incorporate Instagram into their Second Life social media regimen as a way to expand their brand will see a huge benefit from being proactive. But I stress to all of you that want to keep your brands fresh and relevant: you will want to get started now if you want to take a seriously professional approach to grow your audience. Do not put all of your eggs into one social media basket, or even two. It’s a concert of moving parts that you should learn to master if you want it to work FOR you.
If you’re not sure how to get started, you may want to consider some affordable options to bring on a social media manager or identify a blogger manager (if you are a brand rather than strictly a blogger) that is capable of managing social media accounts and can juggle that for you. There are also external resources that are available via platforms like Fiverr where you can find great consultancy or management services.
Or, you can ask little old me! I would love to help you learn how to elevate your analytics to make a difference in your online presence or even train your team so they can execute the best social media management for your brand. Just leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Remember: content creation is half the battle. Consistency and knowing how to make the biggest impact is a very misunderstood area of managing your brand online. Don’t be reactionary; be proactive!
Follow me on Instagram! It’s brand new, but I’m not waiting around for the fallout ♥