Day 2: Understanding the platform

4 min readFeb 7, 2021

To recap: my target is to monetise my cats in a small way via Instagram within 365 days by strategic trial and error.

So, off yesterday’s plan, I did the research (read: quick Google) on IG live traffic and I netted this sweet little table for future reference:

This is all in EST, so I have to add 13 hours for my timezone. Therefore, aiming for the Sunday 7–9am EST window requires me to post at 8–10pm where I am. Seems easy enough.

But as a control, I posted a short video at Sunday 10am (9pm EST) just to see the response. It’s been five hours and I can safely say engagement isn’t good, I’ve only had 6 views since. I will cross-reference against this control to check if these time windows work for me. It could be that cat lovers and product sellers don’t operate in the same time window as the average IG user. Who even knows.

I did, however, get a comment from a random account looking for pets to represent their brand. Yeah ok, mate, I’m onto you. Not gonna fall for that again.

While I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting for 8pm, I decided to contact my friend whose day job is actually marketing. I asked him, how does this whole marketing via social media thing work? One would argue I should have asked him this before I committed to this harebrained scheme, but hey, I did say I was on a learning journey.

Well, he proceeded to shatter my worldview of how I thought IG worked. He said it wasn’t about the number of followers you have, rather it was about the level of engagement you got on your platform. Likes, comments, legit interaction. Knowing that I was both a social media dunce and a corporate strategy person who can only work with process flows and tree diagrams, he also helpfully shared a good infographic.

I stared at this feeling pretty dumb. I’ve been going about it all wrong, anchoring my strategy on getting as many followers as possible when actually I need engagement to move the needle.

Oh lord, I knew what that meant. I needed consistent, super good quality content and I would need to interact with actual people on IG. Me, the raging introvert who can spend days just sitting at home and talking to just one other human and two cats. Upon this horrible realisation, I got up and made a cup of coffee to prepare for my remedial steps.

Curse you, intelligent IG algorithm.

So I reviewed my 5-step action plan to generate social media momentum from Day 1:

  1. Post cute cat pictures with funny/ironic captions. The captions will be my Unique Selling Point - still relevant
  2. Post with minimum 4 hashtags on each photo - still relevant
  3. Collaborate with other IG cat accounts, target follow-for-follow to start with - still relevant but I need to start liking other people’s stuff and commenting as well now
  4. Research optimal time (note: peak IG traffic) for postings to catch maximum number of eyeballs and increase probability of views in that window - still relevant, will test in a few hours
  5. Get my cats to jump through rings of fire for the gram - still joking, but maybe KIV as absolute last resort

With the revision to #3, I considered my current IG standing after 21 hours of creating the account.

So far the follow-for-follow strategy is paying small dividends. I’ve averaged 12 likes per post for the 5 posts already on there. I figured if I can get 10 new followers a day, hey, I could maybe manage 3,000 in a year, right? It’s all about baby steps.

Plus, I think the more content I put up, the more interested people will be once they can assess the general quality, tone and mood of the postings. Then they can better decide if they actually want to see the two snarky cats on their regular feed or not.

With that, I opened up my followers list and started liking some of their posts. Ok, this is easy so far. Since I follow cat accounts, you basically immerse yourself in hundreds of pictures of cute cats. There are worse ways to spend your weekend. In fact, some of them are so stinking cute, I actually wanted to comment on those posts.

After aggressively liking and commenting on strangers’ posts for fifteen minutes, I was done. Didn’t feel too bad, actually. Felt quite nice in fact, because it was all about cats and the general posts are so positive and harmless, you kind of feel pretty good after. This could potentially work for stress-busting in lieu of therapy and drugs.

Then I waited.

After ten minutes, I added one new follower and an increase of two likes per post on my own account from people whose posts I liked. Interesting. This reinforces my long-held view that reciprocity is a powerful thing. So you should never be jerks to people.

I glanced to my left. My cat is sleeping in a very awkward pose on the couch. Snapped one pic for the ‘gram, this one’s going into Benny’s dossier. Likes and comments await.

Or so I hope.