I’ll kick off with a few statistics…
Joined Instagram for business: 2 years ago
Average number of weekly posts: 18-14
Current followers: 52,300
Content: 85% – 95% images taken from newborn client work and the remainder 5% – 15% iPhone.
Camera: Nikon D810 and lens Sigma Art 50mm f1.4
In light of the fact that I photograph newborns and babies exclusively, I tailored my Instagram approach to compliment my target markets. As a marketing consultant in a previous life (5-6 years ago), I have long been fascinated by the power, evolution, engagement potential and reach of social media. Added to that, the always enticing challenge of analysing and predicting its evolution to maximise marketing for our businesses. I am by no means an Instagram expert, however, here are a few things I have learned over the last 24 months:
TEN QUICK TIPS
1. Decide on your account content…and stick to it. Be consistent.
When opening an Instagram account for your business, decide from the outset what your goal for the account is. If it’s to promote and market your photography business, stick to posting content that is relevant to your core business so that followers are not confused or lose interest…..or even ‘Unfollow’. The majority of personal posts are generally better suited to sharing on your ‘personal’ account. As interesting as coffee cups and wine glasses are to you at the end of a busy week, think about how interesting these are to clients looking for a newborn/baby photographer.
2. Engage with other account users
It’s like life. Especially in the beginning. Don’t expect to grow and get something for nothing if you don’t give something back to kick start momentum. Comment, like and follow other Instagram accounts that you think fit with your business and you like yourself personally. Have fun. Look and watch what other successful instagram users do. Don’t just copy but look for your own inspiration. Be a generous person and compliment often. It comes back. For me, I love following other newborn photographers and prop suppliers and I often like, comment and share their work for fun.
3. Share some of ‘you’
Use Instagram as a vehicle to share a little ‘piece of you’ with your clients and potential clients in a fun and engaging way. Along with being quality focussed, photography is also a personality driven business and clients love getting to know you before they make personal contact and/or end up meeting you at their photoshoot. Always be yourself….don’t try to create a ‘social media’ version of yourself. People are savvy, don’t ever underestimate how smart audiences are.
I view hashtags as a little like ‘search engines’ and theme folders. They are one of the main tools for attracting new followers. Try to gain an understanding of how your potential clients would search for businesses in your local area and create or use existing hashtags to reflect this. I am a Brisbane based newborn photographer, so I always use the hashtag #brisbanenewbornphotographer. I also think quality over quantity applies here as too many hashtags or body content can be overwhelming for this image driven platform. I try to use between 6-10 hashtags per post.
5. Behind the scenes
These are often my most popular and engaging posts in Instagram. I wish I could share them more often, however, I tend to be very focussed during my photoshoots and regularly miss opportunities to grab these fun behind-the-scenes shots. It’s a little look into what goes on behind a photoshot and is a great opportunity to show the detail and planning behind what we do. Personally I love seeing behind the scenes shots that reveal a little of what goes into the final beautiful image you see in your new feed. I definitely need to post these more often.
6. Engaging Images
Instagram users love images, that’s one of the main reasons why they joined. Before posting, think about the impact of the post as an image and if it’s powerful just on its own, without words to accompany it. Try and choose images that are engaging and slightly different……and will potentially stop people from scrolling. Try to stand out by showcasing what makes you and your work different. Choose images that reflect the work you love as this will attract the most suitable clients to your business.
7. No place for negativity
Given that my Instagram feed features 90% paid client imagery, I have ZERO tolerance for negativity. You can’t please everyone. That’s a given. You can however, delete and block negative comments immediately. You have complete control over the content in your comments so use it without hesitation to keep your feed 100% positive. Thankfully there is very little need to delete comments, however, it is very important to moderate regularly for the sake of your clients and your business.
8. Give it the time it deserves
It can be very, very easy as an artist to get caught up in watching people engage with the work you are so passionate about and love dearly via social media. I put my hand up big time with this one (pushed up by my husband). I love, love, love what I do and I have always enjoyed being able to share the perfection of my beautiful subjects via social media. They bring me such joy on a daily basis, it’s hard not to share every single image. One of the most important things, however, is to keep track of time and make sure you give each social media platform only the time it deserves and not overdo it. In the beginning I was completely committed to responding to each and every comment. However, as time goes on and numbers grow, this becomes almost a full time job. There comes a time when you simply have to allocate 10-15 minutes a day (work days only) reply to what you can and leave the rest. Followers understand that as a working photographer, you simply don’t have 4 hours a day to reply to each and every comment. You can only do what you can and limits have to be set.
9. Client permissions
Always ensure you have client permission before sharing on social media. At the completion of each newborn session, I ask clients if they would like to see a sneak peek from their photoshoot on social media. 99% of clients love to see sneak peeks of their new baby, so it is a win win scenario as it also means promoting your business.
10. Get featured
Another way to grow followers is to be featured on other Instagram accounts. For instance, there are baby and maternity themed instagram accounts with large followings that feature photography work. Search for some accounts that fit with your business and are reputable and hashtag your images to be featured. Make sure you keep an eye on accounts sealing your images. Decide if this is really something you want to do to attract followers as it is certainly not for everyone.
Brisbane Newborn Photographer
And because no post is complete without images, here are some of my most ‘popular’, for lack of a better description, images from Instagram over the past 6 months.
1,301 LIKES1,173 LIKES1,472 LIKES2,124 LIKES1,500 LIKES1,319 LIKES1,487 LIKES1,531 LIKES1,455 LIKES2,112 LIKES1,6351,428 LIKES2,213 LIKES1,300 LIKES1,240 LIKES1,623 LIKES1,394 LIKES1,417 LIKES1,490 LIKES