Tips and tricks for Instagram success (despite the algorithm)
If you’ve been following along, you know that social media and I don’t always get along. But, unfortunately, it’s here to stay. We live in a digitized world that is incredibly visual (which can be great for photographers). It’s essential to be successful on Instagram if you want to grow your photography business. I know, keeping up with the algorithm can be exhausting. Recently, Instagram shared that it is no longer a photo sharing app, and it will be focusing more on sharing and promoting videos. According to my Instagram poll, A LOT of you were concerned about this announcement. But don’t worry, despite whatever the IG algorithm is doing this week, there are still a handful of timeless strategies that will help you be successful on Instagram. Here are 5 Instagram tips that every photographer should know:
Get to know your target audience
You’d be surprised how many photographers don’t know who their ideal client is. When you’re trying to figure out how to market your photography services, it’s important to figure who you’re marketing to. Who is going to purchase your services? What is important to them? So, step one is to figure out who you want to work with, and then start creating and posting content that will attract that specific person. For example, if you’re an elopement photographer, you’ll want to post content that is attractive to couples who love adventure. It’s as simple as that.
Consistency is key
No matter what, the Instagram algorithm is always going to favor profiles that post consistently. Instagram LOVES when you post, but it loves when you post consistently because it shows you're using their platform. The more time you spend on the app, the more your followers will engage with your posts, which will increase the time THEY spend using the app. I know, it's a whole twisted system, but here we are playing the game.
Another reason it’s important to post consistently is for your followers and potential clients (yes, they’re just as important as the algorithm!). Posting to your account consistently lets your followers know that your business is active. If someone stumbles across your IG account and you haven’t posted in a month or two, they’re likely to move on to another account that’s more active.
Make sure you’re using all 30 of your allotted hashtags when you post on Instagram! Hashtags allow your content to reach different audiences and they’re essential if you want to grow your following. One common mistake I see photographers make is choosing hashtags that are photographer focused and not client focused, so make sure your hashtags target your ideal client!
It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. I know it can be time consuming, but engaging with your followers is crucial. And engaging means more than just giving everyone on your feed a quick double tap. You need to comment on your followers’ posts and watch their stories as well. Posting stories on your profile with questions or polls is great way to engage with you followers. Just be sure to respond to your messages within a day or two.
Engagement really helps when you’re trying to grow your following. Are you a wedding photographer? Search those “newly engaged” hashtags and start engaging with the accounts that posted the content. Those happy newly engaged couples will see a photographer liking and commenting on their post and boom – with any luck, they’ll head to your page to see what you're all about!
I mentioned this briefly, but make sure you’re responding to your messages. Check your DM's regularly, (especially the message request or spam folders), and respond to all of your messages. Treat every message like a potential client. Talk to them like they are your long-lost BFF and you can’t wait to hear what they have to say. I know, this sounds like a lot of energy, but if you carve out time in your day and treat it as part of your work day, you can get it done quickly and efficiently!
Instagram can be frustrating and overwhelming to master, but don’t stress, no one REALLY knows what they’re doing 100%. We are all at the mercy of the dreaded algorithm. Don’t panic if your follower count ebbs and flows, that’s totally normal, and it doesn’t mean you are any less valuable.
I hope these Instagram tips and tricks offered you some insight to kick your social media game up a notch! Looking for more social media tips? Click here to browse my free downloads!