The Instagram hustle is real, and it’s here to stay. Everyday photographers are using Instagram to get more coverage and be seen by their potential client pool. But with all the noise on social media, do you actually need a huge following on Instagram? I don’t think so, and here’s why.
Every time I log onto Instagram, I’m bombarded with new follows from photographers desperately trying to grow their IG following by playing the “follow/unfollow” game. If you’re not familiar, count your blessings. The strategy of following someone, then unfollowing them a short time later has, unfortunately, been successful for anyone trying to rapidly grow their Instagram audience while keeping their own follow numbers down. This allows photographers to seem more popular or successful than they actually are. But it leaves me to wonder, what is their endgame, and what do they hope to achieve with all those empty follows they’re getting?
Likewise, I know many photographers who’ve bought follows and likes to bolster their own numbers. It may seem gratifying in the moment, but in the long-run, it does nothing for a successful photography business other than setting the photographer up for future failure in the way of setting improper expectations with clients.
As I peruse Instagram these days, I can’t help but question what photographers are hoping to get out of these futile tactics. Stable businesses aren’t built on an empty foundation, they’re built upon fundamental business values and strategic branding. So, why aren’t photographers treating their Instagram profiles accordingly?
There is no doubt that Instagram is a powerful tool for anyone trying to utilize free marketing, but if misused, Instagram will do you no favors.
How to Properly Utilize Instagram for Business Growth
Instead of treating Instagram like a popularity contest, photographers should be asking themselves what they’re hoping to achieve by using the platform. Instagram is handy in many ways, including marketing, brand-building, and relationship-building (with past, current, and future clients.)
If you know what you’d like to achieve with Instagram, then you’ll be able to cultivate an Instagram marketing plan that can yield actual results, rather than hoping follower numbers will one day impress someone. And it just so happens that the new year is about to be upon us, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to start strategically planning for a successful year for your photography business, so let’s talk about how to make an Instagram marketing plan that works for you.
Once you know exactly what you want to achieve with Instagram, start brainstorming ways you can accomplish those goals. Whether your goals for Instagram are long term or short term, you can begin building a plan of how to achieve what you’d like to happen in the coming year with Instagram. Here are a couple of ways you may want to utilize Instagram for your business:
- You can use Instagram as a platform for showcasing a current portfolio on a regular basis.
Most website portfolios aren’t updated regularly, but with Instagram, you’re able to show potential clients your most recent work on a daily basis. This is great, because it shows your client pool that you are busy churning out new work.
- You can use Instagram as a way to strengthen your relationship with past, current, and future clients.
One of the downsides to owning a small business is that photographers don’t have the luxury of having already established trust with clients like a big corporation that a notable brand has. Being able to build a relationship with clients is invaluable for creating that necessary trust that will propel people to hire you. You can do this by posting personal content to your Instagram (that is still on brand with your business) so that people feel that they’re familiar with you. Remember, clients want to know the person behind the camera before they hire you to take their photos.
Build a Plan That You Can Follow Daily and Weekly to Achieve Your Goals
If you want to make the most of your goals, you need to write them down and start crafting a plan. If you don’t have your plans and goals written down, you’re more susceptible to getting distracted with menial tasks that won’t help you achieve your end-goal (like pointless IG follower building.)
Try downloading a content planner for your Instagram. This will help you map out a plan and keep you on task to achieving what you’d like with Instagram.
So often, Instagram gets a bad rap. It’s because people don’t understand how powerful and useful it can be, and people often abuse it. But if you look at Instagram for the potential it offers, you’ll see that it can be just the tool you need to achieve your goals in the new year.
Lead Image by fancycrave.com via Pexels, used under Creative Commons.