How important is Social Media Marketing for Photographers?
Social media marketing is now recognized as a very effective way of winning new customers and building trust and loyalty with existing ones. Many experts are citing visual marketing as one of the most essential business trends for the years to come, and social media platforms such as Instagram are a perfect tool for this.
Pictures appeal to human emotions, and they are a compelling way of promoting products and services and developing a brand.
Considered using Instagram marketing?
Instagram marketing may not be something you have considered for your photography, but the increasing popularity of this social media platform means it could be an excellent opportunity to reach more audiences.
If you currently take photos for a hobby, a living, or are just starting out as a photographer, and you are not on Instagram, you could be missing out on a ton of potential exposure. A lack of familiarity with this social media platform could mean that you don't know where to start, so we have created a simple guide to help photographers get up and running on Instagram Marketing.
These questions and answers will help you decide if Instagram marketing is a productive activity from which you will see a return?
1. What is Instagram Marketing?
Launched in October 2010, Instagram is an online platform for sharing photos. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other networks, and allows the user to share pictures instantly. One of the things which set Instagram apart from other similar photo-sharing apps is the ability to apply different filters for aesthetic effects. Simple snapshots can be made to look like professional photographs with the creative use of digital filters.
Publish or perish!
On Instagram, the more often you publish, the more you can boost your brand awareness. Yes, you are not only an artist but a brand as well. The channel is brimming with thousands of curators, potential clients, and agencies looking for fresh talent like yours.
Furthermore, having an Instagram photography account will help you build an enthusiastic community that will hopefully, associate with your imagery. This platform allows for one-on-one engagement that can bring you valuable feedback on your work and endless inspiration.
The Best Part
The best part of Instagram marketing is that you don't even need to be a professional and seasoned photographer. Instagram marketing is all about capturing and sharing the moment and making your audience feels close to you.
The quality of photos most smartphones capture is very good, so there's no need to worry about technical skills. If you want to share pictures of your products, you just need to make sure they are in focus and in a well-lit environment. If your pictures look too professional, you could lose the impact of sharing images which should appear to be taken at the moment.
2. Do I have to have a product?
Visual marketing is advisable for marketing products, but you can also use the same techniques for services you offer. If your business is in the fashion retail niche, it's easy to see how sharing photographs of your apparel can raise awareness and lead to revenues. An industry like dental hygiene, however, may need to think more creatively when it comes to Instagram marketing, sharing abstract images associated with freshness and confidence.
Several of the most successful examples of Instagram marketing involve sharing pictures of satisfied customers with testimonials, and this is a great idea if you have willing volunteers.
3. What Should I Post?
Instagram shouldn't really be a carbon copy of your website or portfolio; think of it more to showcase the world your own unique personality and style. Try and strike a balance between excellent shots that show your ability, and some ad-hoc phone photos as well that offer a glimpse into your business – a bit like a visual diary!
You can likewise use Instagram to experiment with different styles and get some feedback from your followers.
4. To Filter or Not to Filter?
Instagram's wide range of filters are completely adequate for a lot of users and being able to modify the levels of these certainly makes it easy to beautify your images until you're satisfied and happy.
Nevertheless, as a serious photographer, it is likely that you have your own style and technique already. Using filters is okay (after all, it is your Instagram account, and you can do whatever you please), but you may get closer to the output you are looking for by experimenting with the various editing apps on offer or using your own preferred software until you find one that's perfect for you.
5. Is There an Ideal Time for Posting on Instagram?
Posting content at different times of day will affect how your audience responds and engages to it. You want to post your content during a time when most of your audience is online and engagement could be high, so the Instagram algorithm identifies your content as popular. This way, it will have a much better shot at landing a place on the explore tab where you can get a ton of new followers. Once you know the time that works best for your chosen audience, schedule all future posts around that time.
However, this can vary depending on your location, the type of content you post, and your audience's routine. So how can you make sure you're posting at your optimal time? Post, experiment, learn, repeat.
Trial and Error
Like many other things in life, the only way to figure out what works for you is by trying out many different options. Before you decide on a specific day or time to post on your Instagram photography account, play around with different publication schedules. Keep in mind that the most important thing is to be constant. There's no point in searching for the best time to post on Instagram if you only do so once in a blue moon.
6. What Caption Should I Put?
On Instagram, you don't have to write a lot. That's one of the reasons for its huge success. Still, don't forget to add a description (or "caption" in social media slang) to each of the images you post. It can be short but should still be rich with valuable info for your community.
Lacking inspiration when it comes to the caption?
Don't worry. You have much more to tell than you think. For example, you can talk about where your picture was taken, the gear that you used or even the people you met along the way. For the more adventurous audience, shape a funny haiku-like caption to show that you're as sharp with words as you are with your lenses.
Useful tip: Don't forget to tag all the people involved in the photo (from the hotel where you shot it, to the client that commissioned it. This way, you will multiply the chances of your image being seen, liked and commented on.
7. What is User Generated Content, and How Could It Help My Brand?
Some marketing experts believe UGC is arguably the best form of digital marketing. Word of mouth recommendation is deemed as being incredibly powerful, and businesses have thrived on this for decades. In the online realm, customers can have an active involvement in how your brand is perceived by others.
Satisfied customers may share photos of themselves enjoying your services and products, and this is a very powerful marketing tool. UGC builds trust and boosts awareness. More and more business owners are encouraging their customers to take Instagram pictures that will ultimately lead to positive reviews and further sales.
Moreover, it promotes authenticity. Consumers are twice more likely to view user-generated content as authentic, compared to content created by brands. That offers brands an important credibility boost since most people say less than half of all brands create authentic content.
8. How Can I Grow My Audience with Instagram Marketing?
Instagram marketing only works if you already have an audience and followers. There are several ways to develop a following, and the strategies are like those utilized to build audiences on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Engaging potential customers by following them and liking their pictures is a great place to start.
Great way to Attract Attention
Once you are comfortable with Instagram, it is a good idea to turn your attention to expanding your audience – especially if photography is your primary source of income because of more followers = more potential customers. Instagram accounts with big audiences will also attract the attention of prominent companies like Associated Press, and National Geographic, Getty, who may be on the lookout for new talent.
9. How Can You Make Sure It's Not Just Your Friends and Family Liking Your Photos?
Follow people whose Instagram accounts inspire you, and don't just limit this to the most popular posters – by searching hashtags yourself, you can find other photographers who are interested in the same subjects, techniques, and technology as you.
Benefit of Interacting with Other Photographers
Once you start using Instagram to interact with other photography accounts, the app will begin to understand what your interests are and will, therefore, populate the Explore tab with photos it thinks you'll appreciate. This is another great way to find new accounts to follow.
Engaging with your fellow creatives by commenting on their images and starting a conversation will introduce your work to more people, and you might make some friends in the process! You may even be able to find a local community that you can become part of, to the benefit of everyone involved.
10. How Can I Draw More Attention?
This is an easy, fun, and quick way to engage in social media culture. You need to be up to speed with current trending topics and relevant hashtags. Then you should shape some of your work to fit the current trends. This can be an excellent way to get your photography in front of millions of brand new and fresh eyes.
Use of Hashtags
But with thousands of images published every minute, there is little chance that a random user will stumble upon your photos unless they are one of your followers. That is why we use hashtags: to allow for new curious eyes to see our images without needing to pay for a promoted post. A hashtag is a text following a # symbol that is connected to a certain topic. Social media users can search a hashtag to discover content that would be most interesting to them, allowing them to discover new exciting artists.
You can utilize the power of hashtags every time you attach one (or more) of them to each of your picture's descriptions. Thus, you'll multiply your chances of being discovered and attract more followers, likes and comments.
Three questions will automatically arise:
1. How many can I use?
On Instagram, there is a limit of 30 hashtags per publication. However, on the contrary, there is no reason to skimp on this. The most serious, scientifically driven studies show that on Instagram, unlike Twitter, the more hashtags you put, the better your posts perform. Since you don't want to overload your pictures, you can safely go for something between 3-10 hashtags per post.
2. Where will I put them?
For your follower's sake, please don't write your entire description with one hashtag per word. #Because #it #is #not #really #legible #is #it? Simply put your hashtags at the end of your posts for a clean look. You can also hide your tags, by including them in the comment section below the post or by burying them beneath five lines made of one dot line breaks (that's because Instagram caps off captions after the third line, so your hashtags won't be visible).
3. Which should I use?
Don't try using obvious, common words like #photographer, #love or #landscape. They are overused, which means that your pictures will be instantly buried under thousands of new posts within a second. Plus, you'll receive a lot of spam comments from bots, which can be extremely annoying.
And the worst?
Instagram could shadowban you, and your posts won't appear when people search using those hashtags. Instead, go for photography tags that are just popular and relevant enough to give you potential, but not too crowded, so you have a chance to stand out.
How to establish your hashtag repertoire?
· First, check out which hashtags other photographers in your field are using.
· Second, consider related hashtags by browsing through different posts containing a hashtag you have already successfully used.
· Thirdly, don't forget to use Instagram's search function to discover a list of valuable new ideas and the number of related posts.
By shaping your content to be relevant to these tags, you can find a huge range of new fans.
11. How Can I Protect My Photographs on Instagram?
Putting a watermark on your photos is hugely important because images on Instagram are meant to be shared. Without a watermark, the source of a photo can quickly be lost. Make sure your watermark is visible, without detracting too much from the image itself. Check out our guide to Where to Put Your Watermark for ideas.