Did you know, way back in 1934, the US created a plan that they could use to invade Canada? Yes, the very same poutine-covered land of maple syrup and apologies that I'm from.
In fact, the highest-priority target in that plan was my home province of New Brunswick, which today, is famous for its incredibly high meth use and number of illiterate people.
...Good choice, America.
Oh, and don't think the Canadians didn't have their equivalent plan to invade the US. Their plan was called "Defense Scheme Number One."
Canada's first target in their plan? The very city I live in now: Seattle.
I would have died no matter which side I was on! Hooray!
While these plans were just speculative and (obviously) never came to fruition, it's kind of fascinating to see what sorts of barriers each country would have put in place to prevent too much damage from happening.
And most of the time when we think of barriers, they're seen as an impediment to progress - something that holds us back and keeps us from making headway.
However, there are some barriers that make things better. For example, we wouldn't marry the first person who we go on a date with, nor would we be interested in joining a group that's for literally anyone. And when it comes to social media, having a small barrier to entry is ideal. Twitter and Facebook allow anyone to post whatever garbage they want - which is why those spaces are some of the most toxic out there.
However, Instagram requires people to post a picture or a video with every post. That barrier makes it so there are far fewer jerks and weirdos - it's just way easier for them to yell at people on Twitter or Facebook, so that's where they stay.
And that one tiny barrier is what makes Instagram the absolute best platform to network online, find projects, get paid work, and share your stuff. Here's what we're going to cover today
Part 1: Why Instagram is the best place for creatives to be right now
Part 2: How to use Instagram to find projects and network anywhere in the world, even during a pandemic
Part 3: Auto-posting, cross-posting, and app suggestions
Instagram, contrary to popular belief
Isn't just for your food pictures. Sure, you can use it for that, but it's easily one of the most powerful business tools you can use right now.
It's a place where people can authentically talk to one another (you can direct message anyone, even if you're not following each other), share their work in a visually appealing way, and find work no matter where in the world they are.
Yes, that's right. It's easily one of the best place to network online, even if you live super far away from a game industry-focused city.
Creatives of all sorts are on there, seeing one another's work and hiring each other all day every day. Unfortunately, next-to-no-one in the game audio space has picked up on this, but hopefully this guide will change that.
There is a ton of nuance on how to use Instagram
But we'll cover some of the super important basics here.
Before we get into this, I'm writing this with a few assumptions:
1. You want to find more game projects to work on
2. You want to grow your network regardless of where in the world you are
3. You're not already an expert on Instagram
4. You want to find work even during a global pandemic
Firstly, when it comes to Instagram
Posting on a consistent topic is absolutely key. Most people will make the mistake of mixing their personal posts with business-focused posts.
For example, maybe someone will show off some of the sound design that they're creating, but they'll also mix in pictures of their vacations and pets. This is a huge mistake. The more consistent you are with the topic you post about, the more Instagram will surface you and recommend you to other people.
Granted, if you can tie a personal picture/video back to your work/your portfolio, then that can work perfectly well. Just be sure to use your caption below your post wisely (covered later in this article.) If you take a look at mine, you'll see that it's 90% sound design and education focused with only a few pictures of my dog.
Having a few bits of purely personal posting here and there is fine, but keep that at a bare minimum if your goal is to find new clients.
When you do post
Make sure you use hashtags.
Hashtags are the way to categorize your posts. For example, you might add the hashtag "#gameaudio" to all of your posts that have to do with music/sound for games. That way, when someone searches for #gameaudio, your post will be one of the results that comes up.
At the time of this writing, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post. You don't have to use that many, but I do recommend using them super liberally. Use as many as you want that are relevant, really.
Here's an example of hashtags on the bottom of one of my posts:
But what do you even post?
The key here is (in the words of Gary Vaynerchuck) to document, not create. You don't need to make posts specifically for Instagram. Personally, I just record the various sound design things that are already happening in my day, and then post them to Instagram.
Have a camera (I just use my phone nowadays) ready, and/or some screen capture software if you're making videos of your screen (Screenflow/Camtasia are great paid options. OBS is a decent free option), and just record/take a picture of the work you're already doing.
If it's a video that you need to edit, use DaVinci Resolve (which is free), then post your masterpiece.
And yes, self-promotion on IG is totally okay. Do a few helpful/educational/funny posts, then add a self promotional post every so often.
For example, you could post 3 sound design pictures/videos, and then post a picture of your website and mention that you're available for hire on the 4th post. And don't worry about how often you should post right now. Just get started. What's funny is
That posting isn't the only way to gain attention and followers. The best way to make Instagram work for you is to comment on other people's posts with thoughtful, positive remarks.
99% of people on Instagram never comment on other posts, which means you'll automatically be noticed if you do leave a comment. Just make sure it's thoughtful, longer than just a few words/emojis, and kind.
Here's an example of an ineffective comment:
As you can see, it's just an emoji, which is what most people do when they're commenting. It doesn't add anything and the original poster probably isn't going to care.
And here's an example of a great comment:
It's thoughtful, talks about the content of the post, and is enthusiastic. Absolute perfection.
If you do this enough, then the people who's posts you're commenting on will start to notice. At that point, as soon as they like your comment or respond to it, you can direct message them on the platform and start chatting with them on 1-on-1.
There's a ton more nuance to this, so I'd recommend that you use the $1.80 strategy by Gary Vaynerchuck right here. Pretty much all of your questions about this will be answered in there.
And when you do post, you have to realize