TIPS ON PHOTOGRAPHERS INSTAGRAM MARKETING STRATEGY
Photography platforms have been in a way a perfect way for any photographer to get seen and not just locally but globally. Instagram has become one of the main platforms for a photographer to not only get seen but get influence and get booked.
When I first started on Instagram it was mostly about posting what you observed daily and then sharing it but nowadays Instagram allows a photographer to use it more like a portfolio and get reviews on this almost immediately. A feeling of appreciation allows you to establish a following. This is a powerful tool if used correctly. Building up relationships with advertising agencies and production houses in each city is not easy these days, why? well because the downside of Instagram is that everyone is one there and can be seen by the creative industries based on popularity, followings, and presence.
It seems that these days it’s not about your work and work ethic and how they have been crafted over the years! It is most definitely how much of an influence you have, you may not have worked for big brands, not produced large shoots and for sure not built up a range of clients that support you. In fact, these clients now look to book a photographer who has influenced more than a heritage in what they do. In short, having a great social presence will attract more clients as it gives them a better chance of coverage of their product and with this, in mind, you need to follow some simple tips that I have followed to grow my audience.
Here is the thing though, as Instagram changes their algorithm on a regular basis then don”t be surprised to find it n increasing challenge and that the carefully built following suddenly stops liking and commenting as time goes on I fell that Instagram as its now owned and run by Facebook that it is gearing to edge out the masses who DON’T advertise in favour of those who do. What was a carefree and interesting platform to me has become controlling and a little like Big Brother not allowing us to use it as it was first intended which was to share pictures and get appreciation.
However below are my top 7 tips for photographers on Instagram and what I follow to grow my audience.
1. POST ONLY YOUR BEST INSTAGRAM PHOTOGRAPHY.
Treat your Instagram feed as an online portfolio by posting only your best images. Curate your images and if it doesn’t do too well after a few days then remove it is my advice.
As your own photographic style develops, make sure each post delivers its own ‘Wow!’ factor on a picture by picture basis which really sometimes is a challenge even to me with my large portfolio of pro shoots. It has been said creating a consistent aesthetic—through a common theme, colour palette, saturation or style—visitors will become engaged followers. For me, I shoot in an erratic eclectic way and most of my images are a mix of styles based on clients’ requirements or the styling used. My work does look better sometimes in black and white but I am not purely a monochrome shooter. I do however make sure that my images or processed correctly and not on the phone. All my images are edited in Photoshop for Instagram or Lightroom and then copied across to my smartphone or smart devices for posting
2. PHOTOGRAPHERS USING A SMARTPHONE OR DSLR?
So this really is down to your feed and how you work. I am not saying that DSLR cameras( My cameras are Nikon D85o and Sony A7Rll and FujiCamera XT-3) are any better than Smartphones (Mine is iPhone XSMax) It’s all about how your feed has developed. I tend to use my smartphone behind the scenes and use a couple of beautifully crafted steady-cam or gimbals for this which create a silky smooth video that is great for stories or posting quick behind the scenes. However, my own approach is to produce coverage with my iPhone and keep the main shots on my Nikon D850 DSLR. These go back to the studio and then I process and post.
It was once quoted by Chase Jarvis when he was asked “what is the best camera” and he replied “The one you have with you” which makes sense. I would say that there is no right way to take your pictures for Instagram. It is whatever your style is and how you interpret this to your followings. Either method produces great pictures at the resolution seen which is screen-based. In fact, some YouTube influencers (Unlike me 🙁 at this stage) have done comparisons for a whole range of cameras and phones so if in doubt go to YouTube and see some in-depth reviews and samples.
3. CROSS-PROMOTE YOUR DEDICATED HASHTAG.
So you created a #jamesnaderphoto hashtag for your brand, but who knows to use it to share content about you? Make sure it’s in your profile. It should be seen in all of your marketing materials. You in effect have another portfolio based around your hashtag. Have you thought about trademarking your hashtag? so long as you are in a position to demonstrate that you are providing a product or service to the general public that can be directly associated with that hashtag then you can do this. Copyrighting it is is also possible.
When posting your content and you are writing your comments make sure that you try to include this and also add this to your relevant hashtags on your post. You can then create a buzz around your own branded hashtag. When someone searches #jamesnaderphoto then this shows a grouping of all your relevant imagery.
4. GET CREATIVE WITH HASHTAGGING AND DON’T GET YOURSELF SHADOWBANNED!
When it comes to Instagram hashtags and caption ideas, look beyond the one-word and the most obvious hashtags. Good research into these is essential. build up lists that you can reference against for relevant posts. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE these as Instagram doesn’t like this also DO NOT POST THEM ALL INTO YOUR FIRST POST. This once again can get your picture SHADOWBANNED This is where the Instagram algorithm suspects black hat activity and bans the hashtag, picture or even lead to temporary banning for 24 hours.
Make your hashtags tell the correct story the same as YouTube likes to hear the code keywords in your actual video. It shows a correct approach to your posts and keeps you seen. A shadowban is something you don’t really see but you suspect something has happened to your pictures as it gets fewer views or comments and in general less interaction. What Instagram does is limit your post to ONLY your followings and keeps it from appearing in the Instagram search browser. In general, keep it mean and keep them lean – No more than 15 is a suggestion.
If you would like to know more about how to check a shadowban send me a contact and Ill point you in the right direction
5. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BIO URL.
Your Bio is what you are about on your Instagram profile. Make this interesting and truthful. As descriptive as possible in the allowed space. Should your bio to only link to your website homepage? A good idea is to keep changing this slightly every so often to keep it fresh. Use it to promote what you have been doing elsewhere. Drive fans to other projects you have been working on recently.
6. GET DESCRIPTIVE WITH YOUR INSTAGRAM CAPTIONS.
Posting a picture entirely o its own can be powerful especially if your audience knows you and what you care about. However, in the bigger picture, it’s a better option to use great captions. Rather like on Google if your keyword and craft a supertitle to your image it should help capture the attention of the greater audience. As titles on YouTube and on Google, carefully crafted descriptive titles and captions for Instagram will help you post get discovered. Some users even prefer to see a caption as this sets the story for the image. Back this up with an interesting caption and storyline with a question thrown in and you have a recipe for a successful post.
7. DEFINE YOUR INSTAGRAM NICHE AND DEFINITIVE STYLE.
Try to think of Instagram as an online portal to develop and define your brand’s presence. Use your feed to showcase photos that revolve around a central theme in your work, be that fashion photography like my own niche, portrait or landscape. You can not just focus on your niche but also on your own particular style of shooting. if you shoot mainly as a black and white photographer shooting black and white photography then stick to this. I stick to fashion photography mainly but if you look at my feed @jamesnader you can see diversity in style from portraits to models in landscapes and models in studios. This is as a pro photographer I show my client work as well as my own.
I have a very clear message to all of you photographers out there. If it doesn’t fit don’t fog your niche. Create another Instagram feed and add dissimilar images or images that are so random they don’t fit on your main branded feed. my own @lifewithnader is all about other subjects that capture my imagination which can be stills, products, location, and people in fact anything!
Your followers will expect you to maintain a feed that features a cohesive style or subject matter—one which will ultimately keep them coming back for more. Instagram users will typically land on your profile and make a decision to follow based on your last nine images. Because of this, it’s a good idea to make sure the top of your feed always represents who you are as a photographer in order to attract and build your audience. I change my mind consistently and my feed changes its look over time, however, it does come back to my brand feel in the end. The message is experiment with your feed over the weekends or in between your main posting times.
8. BUILD YOUR INSTAGRAM COMMUNITY USING STORIES.
Instagram Stories has proven they are great value of real, uncut content in the eyes of audiences, so documenting your journey with Stories makes your brand approachable. A story tends to identify with people who may not already be following you, they gain your attention and new followers sometimes outside of your immediate niche. Some brands use Instagram Stories as a more interactive extension of their Instagram feed. Their Instagram Stories content reflects its larger Instagram strategy and branding.
Colorful stories are a real insight into you and what you are about, they allow clients, brands and other influencers the opportunity to see you from afar. They are a great way to help others and give a shoutout.
I am only really just understanding the benefits of Instagram stories for photographers, a direct connection is allowed very easily between your story viewer and your post. A direct message is perfect to target them with a nice little into post to somewhere you would like them to go. A super tool for promotion and sales. James Nader Fashion Photographer will b doing many more stories so I hope to see you on one soon!
This is a brief rundown of my 7 tips for photographers to organically grow on Instagram, this is how I have done it and so thought it might be nice to share the information. If you like what you read please join me on my social media, visit my websites or indeed sign up to our member’s area coming very soon for private members and only available to a select amount for now.