With Facebook taking a huge plummet when it comes to organic post views, smart photographers are actively seeking new social media platforms to market their work and services. So if Facebook isn’t the answer, and Pinterest feels a little too crowded, why not market your work on a visually appealing and popular platform created exclusively for photography?
With over 300 million active participants (13% of all internet users), Instagram is growing by the minute, so we‘re sharing our 5 tips for using your beautiful images for sweet success.
Keep it Professional… While this seems obvious, it’s important to consider whether you plan to keep your personal and business accounts separate. While using multiple (personal and business) Instagram accounts is a sanity saver, it’s definitely more time consuming than maintaining one cohesive account. Since potential and existing clients will see your photos and associate them with your brand, make sure what you post publicly speaks to your brand and shows you in a positive light. There’s a pretty fine line here, so be sure to think before posting a potentially damaging picture.
Insta-Tip: Consider how your favorite brands and tastemakers are using Instagram. How can you put your authentic spin on what others are successfully doing?
… but Mix Business with Pleasure. Whether you’re sporting an all-in-one inclusive account or separate business and personal accounts, be sure to share a mix of business photos with behind-the-scenes captures to show fans what you’re doing. Case studies show that audiences not only want to connect, they want a storytelling experience. And, seriously…following a photographer who only posts their clients’ photos 100% of the time is pretty dull. Go for broke and share a fun pullback, or post a shot of your messy (or clean) desk while you’re marathon editing.
Insta-Tip: Studies also show Instagram users love photos of food, beautiful landscapes, animals and (our favorite) coffee. Have a cute pup as part of your family? Share his adorable hijinks and watch “likes” (and shares) go through the roof.
Use Hashtags. Hashtags (that funny little # symbol aggregating all like content) are a simple yet effective way to get eyes on your photos. Hoping for new, local followers? Hashtag photos of your area with your location (Think #PDX or #PortlandOR). Most of cities and areas have hashtags and Instagram accounts of photos specifically for their area, so keep an eye out for those. Want to shout out your favorite local coffee shop who displays your framed work? Post an image of their branded cup on your desk with the appropriate corporate hashtag.
Insta-Tip: Don’t #clutterup an #Instagram description of your #gorgeous #iphoneonly #photo with 15 #hashtags. Write a description and post hashtags within your comments area. Once your photo receives comments, the hashtags become hidden, but your photos still show up in the hashtag search. Nice and clean!
Send Fans to Instagram. Use what you’ve got. If you’re fronting a major Facebook following or your website is showing insane pageviews, highlight your Instagram feed and let readers know you’re sharing there. You can also write a status update that keep your fans in the know regarding your Instagram activities. The bonus: Your readers will feel they “know” you and will feel more authentically connected than ever before.
Insta-Tip: Use tools like a Facebook tab image or a website widget to keep your Instagram feed rolling on your homepage.
Use Apps. Do you need to edit a photo and manage multiple accounts? There’s an app for that! There are countless tools for editing your iPhone photos, but we especially love Afterlight and VSCO cam. App stores are just now launching several Instagram management apps, even ones that will allow you to manage multiple accounts!
Insta-Tip: We love the free app, Squaready, which makes a non-square crop image into square with a white border to fit nicely into Instagram. Easy, right?
Instagram can be pretty addicting, so make sure you don’t get lost in the millions of amazing photographs and experiences you witness on the site. At the same time, don’t be afraid to get inspired for a few minutes each day, make some new friends and become a part of the grand social experiment. After all, you are hanging out with your 300 million new besties.
Be sure to follow Design Aglow on Instagram to see these tips in action...and come say Hello while you are there: instagram.com/designaglow.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.