Day 1: Misadventures of a social media dunce learning digital marketing

4 min readFeb 6, 2021

To start, I would like to introduce myself as someone who uses social media (read: IG) mainly to look at posts, like random things and then get sucked into completely unnecessary online purchases.

Yeah, one of those people.

But one thing that amazes me is the raw ability of social media to suck me into those purchases in the first place. What goes through the minds of people who successfully deploy these digital marketing strategies? How do they generate leads and make solid revenue just by catching enough eyeballs that the fingers attached to the eyeball’s owner click ‘Add to Cart’?

So I thought I’d try my hand at being a part of that ecosystem through IG as an experiment. Mind you, I have zero background in advertising, marketing, design, nothing. If I played it right, I’d get paid a small sum in products or coupons in one year’s time. If I got it wrong, I can look back at these writings and laugh at my own idiocy. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

Now I’ve worked for years in a strategy unit of a large corporation, so maybe it was time to apply my “solutioning” skills to a real life conundrum. You know, Corporate Strategic Planning the heck outta this thing.

One small problem, though. I hated taking photos. With a passion. With that in mind, what kind of content can I generate to catch eyeballs on IG?

The answer became evident once I scrolled through my bursting photo gallery.

My two clueless cats. I would monetise my cats.


In a sudden fit of pique, I went right ahead and started their IG account, which was a disgustingly easy process. Then I filled out the necessary profile info and uploaded four photos with snarky captions.

IG handle: twofelinestooges

Then I waited.

In ten minutes, a pet product account commented on one of my posts, saying I should DM someone for collaboration. An online store for pet products based in Europe, to be exact. My mind was boggled. Seriously, ten minutes? You gotta be kidding me. What’s the catch?

It turns out this market has gotten pretty smart. Oh yes, you can become a brand ambassador for their website, you get a decent discount code for yourself and another lower discount code you can share with others. If someone uses your discount code three times, you get a free product. Sounds good, right? Ah but you have to buy something of theirs first to become a brand ambassador.

Clever. I did not expect this level of sophistication in pet product marketing. Half a chocolate bar was consumed as I literally chewed this over. I need to tone down the excitement and get a clue, fast, if I want to survive in this cutthroat market.

So while this was going on, I decided to do my research on the broader market. #catsofinstagram has 155 million posts, #cats has 117 million posts, #catstagram has 76 million posts.

I sat down. Ok this is going to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. Competition is fierce. Galvanised by years of experience drawing out critical plans by the seat of my pants, I quickly prepared my 5-step action plan to generate social media momentum:

  1. Post cute cat pictures with funny/ironic captions. The captions will be my Unique Selling Point
  2. Post with minimum 4 hashtags on each photo
  3. Collaborate with other IG cat accounts, target follow-for-follow to start with
  4. Research optimal time (note: peak IG traffic) for postings to catch maximum number of eyeballs and increase probability of views in that window
  5. Get my cats to jump through rings of fire for the gram

Ok, no, #5 is a joke. I would never do that. Or would I? Hmm, I start questioning myself now.

Tl;dr, my target is to monetise my cats in a small way via Instagram within 365 days by strategic trial and error.

I will document my evolving strategies and random meltdowns as I go on this journey, sharing lessons learned, key milestones, leads generated and all that jazz. It’s a learning experience for me, and if others want to see me groping blindly in the dark as I go along, do feel free to join me.

I glanced at my phone. 2 hours since starting the account. 4 posts, 3 followers, 8 following, average of 4 likes per photo. Is that good? I have no idea. I need to start my research on IG traffic peaks.

Game on.