These days, social media is an essential tool to any business marketing strategy. First of all, it’s free. Second, it’s all-reaching, meaning nearly everyone is a user. Last and most important: it works. It works if you know how to properly use it to your advantage. I’ve even heard photographers who have gotten paid work on Instagram or based on their Instagram account.
If you have thousands of followers, you are considered an ‘”influencer” and brands will send you their product or book you for gigs because any image you post is like a free billboard for them, immediately garnering tens of thousands of views in a second.
This influencer status is not reserved only for the elite, or famous, or even the most talented. It is given to those who know how to play the social media game and win. Below are a few tips to using Instagram to promote your photography to achieve this status and grow your business and brand.
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Essential to any business or personal development strategy is to be yourself, to be truthful about who you are not pretending to be someone you are not. We can’t all be that cool, hip style-savvy blogger with thousands of followers who posts amazing pictures of themselves from all over the world. Honestly, there are too many of them anyways now. You are unique, you have a combination of qualities and experiences that no one else has. Give yourself the exercise of digging into these attributes that make you unique, and create your personal brand around these.
More important to photographers, since this is a visual social media platform, is that you curate your Instagram. This is your portfolio, and you only want to show your best work. Maintaining a high-quality standard is essential to booking high-quality clients and appearing in high-quality outlets. Be sure to follow the quality of quantity rule here. If you don’t have any quality images to publish at the moment, wait until you do.
In addition, captions and hashtags are important in Instagram posts. You want your caption to add to your story, and humanize the image and yourself. Tell a behind the scenes story of what it took to get that shot, or explain what brought you to that location. The more personal, the better. This will help fans feel more connected to you, it makes you more relatable. It will also build your brand, and give you a stronger presence in your desired niche. Hashtags are also a great way to caption your images, and tie in with Connect and Style below. You can use hashtags which are associated with millions of tags, adding your post to additional pools of images, seen by more users than those who follow you. If you want your images to be seen by magazine photo editors, find the magazine’s Instagram. They all have their own hashtags now, and you can add them to your captions to gain visibility.
If you do not interact with others on Instagram, they will not interact with you. Set aside a few minutes each day not only to post but to go through others photos as well. Make sure you curate those you follow to stick with your brand category. You want to be associated with these people, so when others see them, they will see you. Continue to build these relationships, and start to form new ones. You’ll never know what this could lead to in the future, whether it be work or investments or just great personal relationships. To tie into the above, liking and commenting on others posts will humanize you, and help others feel more connected to you. It will also help you feel more connected to others, and you can reach out to those you admire for advice or even opportunities to assist.
Style and consistency go hand in hand when building a brand, whether personal or business. If you followed the first tip and are being true to yourself, this should come somewhat easily. Being consistent in what and how you post will make it easier for others to define your brand, and to feel more connected with you. They will see images and writing and know it is you before even looking at the name. This is what you want because these you’ve successfully given your brand a consistent style. You want people to think of you when they think of a particular style. This will lead to more booked gigs and a greater understanding of who you are as a photographer.
Being consistent in your Instagram posting also means knowing what time of day to upload, and being consistent in this schedule. Those who are serious about using Instagram to build their brand, research their target market and know when they are looking at Instagram. Timing your upload to post within this time frame is the secret strategy successful Instagram users employ. Doing this alone will greatly benefit your brand’s Instagram presence within your specific targeted viewer pool.
While the above may sound daunting and like a lot of work, it is essential to building a strong and successful brand on Instagram. Those who are successful are not that way by accident. They are very strategic in their posting, community involvement, and research. But, you need to make sure that you are having fun while working at this. If it is not fun for you, you will not maintain the consistency necessary to build a large following. Using Instagram to promote your photography can be time-consuming, but in the end, can make or break upcoming photographers looking to become influencers and authorities in their specific category.