As one of the fastest growing platforms, Instagram is an ideal social media network for you to fully utilize for your photography business. With Instagram, you have the opportunity to reach ideal clients and share your images, which helps you build connections with them and lead them to your website and blog. Regardless of how many followers you have today, there are always things you can do to maximize your strategy and expand your reach.
During our Online Training: Our First 5,000 – What We’ve Learned, our President Jared Bauman and Marketing Coordinator Kaitlin Cooper shared things we learned in our first few months with an account on Instagram. Keep in mind, these are strategies that worked for us, and may be different for you and your business. Take a look at our observations and modify them for your account.
1. Find a Goal
With everything you do for your business, you need to have a defined goal. Goals help you stay focused and give you something to work toward. The same can be said for your Instagram account, and what you decide to post for it. Here at ShootDotEdit, our goal on Instagram is to inspire photographers, which influences the way we curate images for our account.
As a wedding photographer, you will likely share your own images a majority of the time. But, it is still important for you to identify your goal, or refine it, before you build a strategy to attract ideal clients. When you have a goal, it can guide you to know what to post, when to post it, and who the posts should talk to.
2. Interact with Followers
From very early on, we realized we needed to interact with followers on a consistent basis to stay top of mind. With Instagram’s new algorithm, interaction is more important than it ever has been. Because of this, we have a very active engagement plan to interact with photographers we follow and new photographers we find. We learned the more we interact, the better we do when it comes to our overall goal.
Make time in your schedule to interact with your followers, vendors, and ideal clients so they become more engaged with your posts. Remember, it does take a lot of effort and time to do this, but is well worth it to create these interactions. Don’t forget to use Instagram Stories to allow your followers to get to know you better. Plus, you can see who clicked on your Story, so you know who is already engaged with you.
Tip: So you can spend a bit more time on your interaction plan, use SchedGram to save time and schedule your posts in advance.
3. Use Tags and Geotags
For every image we post, we tag the photographer in the image and feature their handle in the caption. This notifies the photographer they were featured on our account and gives them proper credit for the image. For your account, it is important to tag your clients, as well vendors you worked with during the wedding day. When you post images from past weddings, you can use either photo tagging or placing their handle in the caption (or both).
If you decide to tag everyone that was a part of one image, you can use tag them in the photo to keep your caption area clean (rather than cluttered from including every handle). When you tag just your clients, or one or two vendors, you can include their handles in the caption and tag them in the photo. Remember, using their handle in the caption notifies them they were mentioned, but the tag allows the photo to live on their account for others to view.
Geotagging is a great way for your followers to know where you took specific images and which venues you shoot at. Although we do not use this feature, it is highly recommended from wedding photography duo, Justin and Mary Marantz. In addition to your followers being able to know where your images were taken, it allows anyone who is searching for that geotag to have the opportunity to see your image (and thus, interact with you).
Watch the video below to see how Justin and Mary booked their dream venue through geotagging:
4. Use Specific Hashtags
On Instagram, hashtags are a method for you to insert your posts in front of your ideal clients. We learned that in order to encourage interaction, we needed to use hashtags that were specific and relevant. This approach changed the way we published hashtags, and the way we strategized about which to use.
When you look at the hashtags you use regularly, are they specific and relevant? Do they speak directly to your ideal client, and encourage them to learn more about you and the services you provide? The hashtags that are best for you might have to do with your location, your specialty (ex: #outdoorweddingphotographer), your business name, or your clients’ unique hashtag (ex: #julieandmikeforever).
What other hashtags can you use for your Instagram account to be specific and relevant? Take a look at this blog post, where we share 19 hashtags you need.
5. Test Multiple Strategies
Just as you should for all social media platforms, always test your strategies on Instagram. We learned Instagram is unlike other platforms, so we had to create a new strategy to ensure we would meet our goal. During our tests, we evaluated areas, such as which images received the most likes and the time of day images were posted. We discovered dramatic images and ones with the bride in them performed better than other images. Also, we found that the evening during the weekdays is the best time for us to post for high interaction.
These are all things you can test on your account. Take a look at what type of images you post, and what receives the most interaction – sunsets, off-camera lighting, posed images, landscapes? You can make more accurate decisions for your strategy after the tests you run on your account.
Tip: Use Iconosquare to help you with analyzing your results.
Every photographer will have a different strategy, so it is important for you to choose one that works for you and your business. Take a look at your Instagram account today and decide if there are any adjustments you can make to encourage interaction and meet more of your ideal clients. What other techniques can you use to maximize your Instagram account? Our Guide, Instagram for the Wedding Photographer, is full of expert tips from some of the top pros in the industry. Grab your copy today!