That’s right, I said it: If you aren’t sharing content on Instagram, you are shutting the door on a world of potential opportunities! With over 200 million users, this social network has the power to become one of your most important means of promoting your photography business.
Did you know that Instagram is the only social media built strictly around sharing photos? Instagram is literally all about photos. There is no text to junk up your feed, just pictures! And you are a photographer! It is basically a match made in heaven. Jump on the theoretical bandwagon already and capitalize on our fascination with photo sharing.
“But the quality of my photo will be lost,” you might lament! While this is true, companies like Getty Images and Sports Illustrated are curating galleries using photos taken from Instagram. If these big names (and more) think the quality is good enough to print in their magazines and license on their websites, it is pretty safe to say that your professional photos will be just fine. After all, you are probably already posting to Facebook and the quality on that platform isn’t all that grand to begin with. Link your website in your bio and you will be set.
Instagram allows your work to be discovered. My underwater photographer friend, Jenn Bischof, always knew the importance of Instagram. One day, she entered their “Weekend Hashtag Project” contest on a whim and won on her first try. This led to Instagram discovering her page, her gaining 10K followers, and Instagram featuring her photo at their convention in NYC. Similarly, I know many people who share photos of when their idols or famous people like and follow their pages. Many other social media platforms just don’t allow for this type of involvement. Instagram doesn’t discriminate between accounts with millions of followers and accounts with ten.
Instagram doesn’t limit your post reach (yet). One of my social media clients has 13,000 Facebook followers. When I share content through this page, Facebook “decides” that 400 people will see it. 400 out of 13,000 people. Sometimes, if I am lucky, that reach will jump to 2,000, but that’s usually about as generous as it gets. Facebook’s algorithm is set to limit the reach because Facebook wants you to pay to promote. Although Facebook acquired Instagram, we have yet to hear of any reach-impeding algorithms or pay-to-promote ad options. Share your photo, hashtag appropriately, post consistently, and watch the likes roll in!
Hashtags let you engage with your target audience. Sure, on other social media, you can hone your target audience, but Instagram takes it to another level with their massive hashtag database. Hashtagging your photos is easier than ever before! Instagram even allows you to see how many other people have tagged #landscapephotography or #weddingphotographer. You are allowed to have up to 30 specific tags on each photo. Use them wisely and to your advantage. You can even come up with a unique hashtag that is specific to your business and curate your content there.
Sure, you can stress to me all of the reasons why Instagram is a horrible invention and kills opportunities for the modern photographer, or you can jump on this growing craze, focus on your business, and set yourself up for social media success. Either way, the pros outweigh the cons and almost every major business, established photographer, and successful retailer has made the move to Instagram. Now, it’s your turn!