#InstagramMarketing by Catherine Guidry
A few days ago, I was deep in a conversation about business. My friend “Susan” discussed her frustration with social media and how she could never quite wrap her head around the how and why of it? Not only are there a ton of social media platforms but there’s specific strategies for each to be successful.
With Instagram quickly becoming the “Go-To” spot for social media (especially for photographers and creatives), knowing how to use it is powerful. And in my humble opinion I think clients and creatives are slowly moving toward this (if not already) being the #1 spot for artists.
My first interaction with Instagram was when I discovered my “I woke up like this” photo was not just filtered and saved to my phone but posted to an online feed where any person could see. Needless to say, I’ve come a long way since then and realize Instagram’s true entertainment and business potential!
Below are a few strategies I’ve found successful on the platform:
* Post Valuable Content
Creating value is the difference between watching QVC for an hour and a TV Series split with 3 min commercials every 15 minutes. If every post coming from an artist feels like a promotion for a product or sale, it may be difficult to gain interest. However, if the artist is sharing strong and relatable content in conjunction with “exclusive” promotions, your followers are hooked.
Try mixing in fun stories about your shooting experience or tips on how to make your images stronger. Even beautiful imagery is a great way to off set sales and marketing images to promote your brand. Sharing insight and providing value to your followers will make them more likely to purchase from you when the time comes.
* Make it Personal
Photographers spend more time with the client then any other vendor for a wedding; so it’s important that they’re able to connect with who you are. People want to know the person behind the camera (in addition to loving your images)!
Make your feed interesting and engaging by making it personal. Behind the scenes posts and work in progress shots are a great way to engage your followers and let them know you are human. I’ve also been able to personally connect with instagram followers over things such as my love for travel, animals, and good food! The more you put out the more likely you are to draw a following of people just like you. Like definitely attracts like.
Promoting and sharing other creatives is always great way to introduce one “friend” to another; and reinforces the idea of community over competition. You can do this by reposting images (with permission and including photo credits) or by actually collaborating with others and instagramming the process or final product. Some of my most re-shared images are images created in collaboration with other artists. I think the natural tendency is to be afraid of giving away the potential of sales by promoting others. But you’d be surprised at how the more you give, the more it comes back to you. Let’s rise together!
Lastly, always keep in mind that promoting others is a means of aligning your brand with theirs. So, choose wisely!
* Use Hashtags to Connect:
Hashtags are not only fun, but practical! Using them in your captions will link your images with other images specific that verbage. If you’re not familiar with how they work, here’s a few examples:
– (For connecting future clients) : When looking for wedding cake ideas, potential clients/future brides can stumble upon your work if it has been tagged “#weddingcake”.
– (For connecting creatives) : Say, you’re a Nikon shooter and you use the #nikon or #nikonshooter, you’ll instantly be connecting to any other instagrammer who used the same hashtag!
– (For personal use) : I’ve seen instagrammers use #’s for creating a journal of almost anything! Examples include behind the scenes images or fun traditions that mark milestones in their business.
– (For promoting workshops): Workshops are an especially opportune time to get everyone involved using a mutual hashtag: it’s basically free advertising!
– (For advertising at weddings): One of the most recent ways I’ve begun using hashtags is by asking the couples what they’ll be using for their wedding hashtag and adding it to an engagement image the day before or day of the wedding. This way, when all of the guests use the couple’s wedding hashtag they’ll see my photo(s) standing out amongst the iphone shots!
* Brand Your Instagram
Instagram may be your first impression for some; so it should leave as strong an impact as any other element of your brand. Create a visual identity with color by selecting a palette that works well for your feed! It may be neutrals or neons, one color or many. Having those colors scattered throughout will collectively make your feed feel intentional.
Only post images that align with your brand and the message you’re working toward. If it doesn’t fit, don’t post it. This may even mean creating a separate instagram account for your closest friends and family memebers.
Consistent branding not only looks professional, but sets you apart from the clutter.