Instagram is a thing of many uses. Finding your audience, marketing your brand, promoting your products… And also getting your voice heard. This blog post demonstrates that with a clear project in mind and some quality photos to back it up, anybody can make their voice heard on Instagram with a little work and a lot of passion.
Michelle Gagné, a young Canadian photographer with a love for dogs decided to use social media to fight back against plans for a new law to ban Pit Bulls in Montreal and Quebec City from January 2017.
Her plan was simple: to show the love between Pit Bulls and their owners by capturing them together in a photograph, and posting it on social media with the hashtag chosen for her campaign (#PitLuvMTL).
The hashtag has been growing nicely since the launch of the campaign on July 4th, with over a hundred Instagram posts so far, and a total of 1.4k likes received on the media posted.
I was lucky enough to speak to Michelle about her project and why she decided to use social media – Facebook and Instagram in particular – to get her campaign heard of and share her voice on the matter.
This is Michelle, and here is her interview:
Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself!
A. I’m a Montreal (Qc) lifestyle photographer. Passionate to a fault about what I do. I work hard and get stuff done. If I want something, I’ll make it happen. Always perfecting my art, trying out new ways to set myself apart from everyone else. Strong believer in Girl Power. I hold a great importance in networking with other strong women.
Always on social media. Paradise for an introvert. Perfect for me, a shy and awkward artist that only wants to get noticed. I want to connect my art to as many people as I can. I dream in hashtags. #oops
Q. What motivated you to start this project?
A. I felt that the recent media coverage on Pit Bulls was (and still is) utterly unfair and I could not wrap my head around how they spun their stories with misinformation and hate. I just wanted to create something positive and send some love to this oh so misunderstood breed. If anything, I just wanted to open people’s eyes and hearts and make them realize that Pits are loving and irreplaceable family members. Throughout my series of portraits, anyone can see how strong the bond is between the people and their dogs. #PitLuvMTL
Q. Why did you decide to use social media as a channel for this project?
A. Using social media is only natural to me. If I want to reach as many people as I can, it’s going to be through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on… And what’s going to connect all these social media outlets? Hashtags. Find a catchy title (In this case, a participant in #PitLuvMTL helped find it! Thanks Jacinthe Benoit!), put a hashtag in front of it, have a strong message to support the project and there’s a good chance people will “join in” by sharing the original content and then their personal content with the hashtag in question. #ShareTheLove
Q. Was this project easy to organise?
A. It always seems complicated at first, but when you jump in wholeheartedly everything seems to fall in place. The hardest part is of course trying to schedule people, because let’s face it, we’re all busy and all have different lifestyles. But everything worked out great.
I also had some help for the introduction of the project; Writing/ correcting and then translating. Thanks to Tamara Bavdek and her boyfriend Maxime Dumont, who are also featured in the series.
Q. What are your objectives in terms of visibility on social media?
A. My objective, and goal, would be to reach a certain following with the same interests as me and that one day, I would have the opportunity to inspire and empower them.
It may seem like an unattainable dream, but “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough”.
At this point, I do feel that the reach it gained surpassed any of my expectations. I couldn’t be happier. Especially since the feedback was only positive. #PitLuvMTL was based on, created and then published with love. I would like to think that it was received and then shared with love as well. Full circle.
Getting the hashtag to be a bit more “viral” on Instagram would be the cherry on top.
Q. How do you moderate entries on your hashtag #PitLuvMTL
A. Since this subject is “delicate” and very “black and white”, I was afraid that it would attract negative feedback. From the moment it was published, I kept a very attentive eye on the comments and attention it got on social media. Having worked so hard to keep this project only positive, I would not have accepted for some to bring it down in any kind of way. Much to my delight, I did not have to moderate anything. I had the chance to simply watch the project grow and bloom.
Q. Overall, do you feel that social media could be the future for this kind of campaign?
A. I truly believe that social media is the best way to promote and share any kind of project/ campaign. Not only can you reach people in your hometown, but if you utilize well your social platforms, also people around the world. How great is that? And not only that, but you get to receive feedback and then have the chance to adjust and perfect even more your work! Social media has opened so many doors. It would be foolish not to take advantage of this modern opportunity.
And we agree!