Instagram is a great way to promote your photography business. Not only can you make yourself seen by potential clients in your area, you can also be seen by millions of users across the world. With more than 300 million users though, it can be easy to get lost within the massive crowd. There are a lot of things that you can do to help grow your following, but there are also a lot of things you can do to hurt your following. If you want your business to be the next Instagram sensation, then don't make these seven Instagram mistakes.
1. Having a private account
I’ll never understand this. You have an account setup for your photography business so that you can show off your work, then you set the page to private so that no one can see it? The majority of users are not going to send you a follow request just to see if they like what you are posting. So what ends up happening is you only get followed by current clients, or your friends and family. If you are posting images to your page that you don't want everyone to see, then you shouldn't be posting them to your business account. There is always the option of having two separate accounts, one for business and one for personal, but I don’t think that's the best route to go. Instead, post all your images to your business account and only show things that you are ok with everyone seeing.
2. Posting too many personal images
You have a business account for a reason. To show people your professional work and abilities. When people click to view your profile, that’s what they are going to expect to see. They don’t plan to see a bunch of cell phone images of your food, sunsets, and pets. If you have a business page, then you need to treat it like one. If all you want to post is cell phone snapshots, then make your account strictly a personal account. There is nothing wrong with wanting to post snapshots to Instagram, but it becomes a problem when those snapshots become associated with you professional business. There is also nothing wrong with posting personal images to your business page. These personal images make you more real and relatable and can help build a stronger following. The key here is to make sure the number of professional images strongly outweigh the snapshots.
3. No location in your profile
I see this mistake not only within Instagram, but also on people's websites. You have got to tell people where you are located. Not only does this tell potential clients that you are a valid option, but you will also get followed by people just because you’re a professional in their home town. If you want to segregate yourself as the traveling destination photographer, then say you’re a destination photographer located in XYZ. That way people know you will travel and they also know how far you will have to travel. This will also save you some time answering questions. I get asked a few times a month where I’m located, and I already have my location as part of my profile.
4. Using multiple images to create a large gallery image
Not only does this not bring in new followers, it will cause a lot of people to unfollow you. The majority of people following you will only see your images as they come across in their news feed. When you post six small images to create one large gallery image, your followers don’t see the large galley image, they only see the six small images. This causes frustration as they have to scroll through all these images in their feed. There are a few users who do this well, but you have to make sure that each individual image can stand on its own. The majority of the time though, each image alone doesn't make sense. When posting images like this, you also limit yourself in how you post because posting a single image causes your entire gallery to fall out of alignment.
5. Too many posts per day
This kind of ties in with the above, but followers will get frustrated if their feed is getting clogged up with only your images. I have seen users who post 10–20 images, one right after the other. If you want to post more than once a day, that's totally fine, but you need to space each post apart by at least an hour or two. This gives other people time to post so that your images don't show up right besides each other in your followers' feed.
6. Not being consistent
This is a big one. People need to know what they are going to get if they follow you. If you’re a portrait photographer and all of a sudden you start to only post landscape images, you will start losing followers. Likewise, if a user looks at your account and can't figure out what type of work they can expect, they may lose interest in following you. It’s very similar to building a portfolio, you will do a lot better picking a single genre then you will by trying to be a master of all trades. Similar to posting personal images, it’s completely fine to post different things, as long as the majority of your work is consistent. I love to do light painting images so when I post these, I make sure there are a handful of wedding images between them (or I post wedding images that have light painting in them).
7. Don’t beg for likes and follows
This includes commenting on images asking them to follow you, tagging people in comments asking for likes, and any other begging process. Not only does it not work, but it will just get you blocked by almost every person you try it on.
What do you think? Do you make any of these Instagram mistakes? What do you think the biggest Instagram mistake is?