How Photographers Can Market Themselves on Instagram
Instagram is a fast growing image sharing site that was established in 2010. It has grown from a fashionable iOS-only app to a huge Android social networking platform and with over 150 million users it shows no signs of slowing down.
National Geographic was one of the first major brands to realise Instagram’s full potential as they signed a brand partnership within the fist week after its launch. They now have over 4million followers and professional photographer’s now take over NatGeo’s feed and post instant photos of their travels. As a result of this a number of well known photographers have taken to the site with their own accounts and have built a mass of dedicated followers.
With major brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola already benefiting from Instagram accounts, smaller companies are now starting to notice the publicity that an Instagram presence can generate. Instagram can be used by photographers in addition to their portfolio website to showcase their work and to show off behind-the-scenes action from shoots. By doing this, it can help to promote the personality of your brand. The content that you share can allow potential customers to take a sneak-peek into your life and convey the type a person and photographer you are. This kind of personalisation can indefinitely aid you in obtaining new business.
Build An Audience
The key to photography is to build an audience of people who have a relationship with what you’re doing. These people are the ones that may hire you, support you or buy your product. Instagram provides a mode of strengthening this relationship between you and your potential audience. However, posting a vast number of images from one session is a sure fire way to diminish your number of followers. Nobody wants their entire feed to be back-to-back photos from the same shoot.
When it first started off Instagram had a bad rap for the over use of filters on photos and feeds bursting with images of what people had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. In recent times these trends have diminished as users seem to be taking it a little more seriously. There are of course still pages full of filtered selfies and food but with the additional of professional photographers to the mix the quality bar has been significantly raised. For those of you that are using Instagram for business, be sure to define your style from the very start, either use no filters whatsoever or stick one or two that are consistent with your professional portfolio.
If your Instagram bio reads “Jane Doe Photography, Fashion and Wedding Photography. Dublin based Photographer” but you have your page set to private it makes absolutely no sense. If your private Instagram is full of images of your work that you want to sell to the public but you’re afraid of people stealing your work then Instagram, or the Internet in general, is not the place for you and you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential clients. However, if you are going to keep your keep page private then at least link to your website in your bio.
Turn “Likes” into Business
If your photos are getting multiple “likes” but you’re not seeing any boost in your business and you’re still not showing up in search engine results then you need to properly brand yourself. Instead of primarily focusing on how much attention your images can get you need to target your ideal clients so they can find and book you.
You need to figure out who your target person is. Who are they following? What tags do they use in their day to day life? How can you target your photos and your hashtags to target and to engage them? Put yourself in their shoes and use Instagram for business and marketing. Getting your name out there is all well and good but not if it’s not targeted, not focused and not intentional.
Finally, you need to link all your sites together. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc. should all link back to your website. Linking all these sites to each other means you’re captivating the widest possible audience from each individual site. Your brand will be promoted more extensively and your potential clients will have a much easier job of actually finding you.
So, what does Instagram mean for professional photographers? If utilized correctly, it can mean a new way to promote, advertise and sell their work, build relationships with other photographers, potential clients and budding camera-jockeys alike.