my top 5 tips for instagram
I don't claim to be an expert, I just like talking.
So i've decided to write a few blog posts that will hopefully help you in some little way with your businesses. Being self employed can be a lonely hard slog- and i'm a big believer in sharing information.
My first one is Instagram, with the ever changing algorithms it's hard to keep up, but working on the certainties will always help build a solid foundation and at the very least make your feed an interesting place to be. Not just to grow your following but to engage with the following you have! Focussing on numbers isn't the priority for me, but connecting with current and potential clients definitely is.
**Note there are pretty, interactive blogs out there, this is not one of them**
Engage with other accounts
Following and unfollowing Instagramers to gain a follower is just pointless, most people have an app that will notify them of the unfollowing anyway and then promptly unfollow you too. So don't waste your time.
Follow and engage with accounts you enjoy, accounts you want to work with (venues, suppliers, etc) and of course your clients' and potential clients accounts.
Search relevant hashtags that you want to target. Like, comment and get involved with posts that stand out to you. A potential client will always notice sincere comments. I often congratulate people on their engagement, sometimes they follow me, sometimes they don't but it's a way to make yourself known to potential clients that doesn't cost money.
5-10 minutes per day isn't a big ask!
Join an Instagram Engagement group
Most genres of creativity on Instagram will have groups for boosting engagement, similar to an Instagram Pod* but on a much larger scale. There are also generic Instagram Engagement groups you can find by searching Facebook. Personally I enjoy the group i'm in that is 90% photography based, created by a fellow wedding photographer. I prefer this because it's easier for me to comment genuinely and actually relate to the post.
You would post your image at a specific time each day, on a thread, everyone has 1 hour to post their most recent Instagram image and they then have 2 hours to engage with all the posts on the thread. By commenting something positive on each post and liking each post in the thread you are boosting their engagement and vice versus. I am in an Instagram Group and although it can be time consuming if it's a particularly busy thread- it's definitely benefited me overall and i've noticed a consistent spike in my engagement following the group posts.
If you're a wedding professional I highly recommend joining Agnes Black Instagram Engagement Group, I like this one because I know most of the members and it's a good group of consistent people. But the options are endless and you can always create your own.
*Pods are a smaller version of the Instagram Engagement groups, where you along with 14 others will have a direct message thread with the same concept, when one of you posts you'll link it to the direct message/group thread and need to comment and interact with the other 14 members posts in your group. The group size is capped to 15 members by Instagram. This method is ideal for those who can't commit to the time constraints of a large group. Giving you the entire day to post and interact with your other members.
Keep it consistent
Your feed, your quotes, your colours, your times of posting. Consistency is key, I always try to post around 7:30pm when I do post and post a minimum of 4 days a week, especially in the more quiet months. Other photographers I know swear by twice a day morning and evening, by trying and testing various times and tracking your engagement you'll swiftly see whats right for you. I know the algorithm changes mean timelines aren't linear but i've not found it harmful to my current stats keeping to a routine.
Here are a few examples of some consistent Instagram accounts that personally appeal to me, they all vary but if you're posting with your ideal client in mind you can't go far wrong.
Tag EVERYTHING. So you've taken your pictures, you've posted to Insta. But you've left out key engagement boosting FREE tools.
Tag tag tag!
In the location bar above your post, add the location, if it's a venue- even better, add it there and tag it in the image too. This will mean your image will show in searches for that specific place.
Tag the suppliers- we've already established that sharing is caring. So get tagging other industry suppliers that may re-post or interact with your image. As a quick brief I usually scan my posts for-
- The PEOPLE- your clients/friends/whoever is in the image!
Utilise the thirty hashtags- target them to fit your goals, keep them varied day to day and use them in the caption. This gives your image the best chance of being seen. If you love accounts that often re-post related or similar content to yours and they have a hashtag competition running- add it in. Switch it up and use them to their full potential. It goes without saying really, but....
>> DO NOT USE BANNED HASHTAGS <<
Banned hashtags-some are banned temporarily, some forever. This article helped me to understand what to keep an eye out for.
Use your bio
The little 150 character space above your images. USE IT! It's your quick chance to shout about what you represent, what your account is about, your recent or greatest achievements, or even stand up for what you believe in. I'm a big fan of emoji's and change my bio frequently.
When you follow a body positive account- the bio says it doesn't it? Same with photographers, if you want to shoot more elopements, get it in your bio. If you put God first say it in your bio, if you're obsessed with dogs, add it to your bio. If you love tea.. Get. It. In. Your. Bio. You see where i'm going here...
Of course it's 150 characters so choose them and use them wisely. What would appeal to you? What would appeal to your ideal client? Consider this and nail your bio.
People will look at this little window to your soul and make a snap judgement.
To follow or not to follow- that is the question.
A good bio can be the difference between a follow and a scroll.
So that's the end of my tips for Instagram. They were short, they weren't that sweet, you've probably heard them before or if you haven't you'll take this and create Insta Magic. I'll update this blog as and when I discover some new voodoo.
You may notice I have missed off the biggest key to Instagram for me, intentionally.
Everyone knows I love a good Instagram story. If you're not using stories are you even with it though?
More on those coming up.