Well I’m back from 4 days in the Big Apple! What a fun few days with my kids, but you know, when you are gone, the work just piles up and I have mountains to do along with a full shooting schedule for the next few days! I will share more about our trip and some awesome tips about traveling to the city that never sleeps next week, but for today we are talking about Instagram!
If you know me at all, you know I love Facebook, even with all the changes, it is still a very powerful marketing and business tool, but Im becoming more and more in love with Instagram. Why? because as a photographer it’s a dream as it’s all visual. It’s simple and it’s personal. But, Instagram has going through some changes and there is all the uproar about the fact that it’s no longer going to be chronological (meaning that your posts will show up most recent to the oldest) but it’s going to a “most popular” post first. But I’m hear to tell you that just like facebook has had MANY changes and we survived them, we will also with Instagram! So here are a few tips!
Your feed: Make it consistent, make it cohesive to who you are as a brand. This is still important! What do I mean by that? I mean, that if someone were to click on one of your random pictures that will show up, and then want to go and see others, when they go to your profile, they are not surprised…they will look at it and the 9-12 squares that show up, truly represent who you want to portray. For example, I recently had someone go through my Instagram feed and tell me what words came to mind. Here are just a few: Soft light, organic, colorful, pretty, beachy, etc…that is awesome because as a brand that is exactly what I want to portray! Your feed is a extension of you and your brand. It’s the snapshot story you want to tell. It’s the few seconds that you have to imprint whether someone wants to learn more or just move on!
Notifications: So I have a few thoughts about this, and it’s probably a bit different than some of the things you are hearing. You’ve probably seen all the “turn on notifications” posts recently. Small business owners want you to do this, because it means that you will see when they post. I get that and I totally understand the reasoning behind it, but I feel that in order to create an authentic brand and to have genuine followers who truly love seeing my work and what I’m up to, they will find me! They will seek out my feed so that they see what the latest things Sara-Anne Photography is up to, or what the most recent Holden Beach family session was, or what business tips I have. Yes, it may mean that I loose some “likes” for a while, but the ones I have will be authentic and that is what I am about. Am I saying that if you ask people to turn on their notifications that means you are not authentic, NO! to me, it just feels a bit like “help, Instagram is changing and I want to make sure people sitll like me”
Keep things Personal: Why? well for me, the basic fact is that my personal posts get the most likes and interaction! It’s hands down a significant difference. So before I would post a personal post every 5 days…well now, because I want my posts to be seen more, I need to make them more personal…it’s just the plain fact that my followers enjoy pictures that have a personal touch. Does that mean that you will now see a feed full of my family and me, NO, but it does mean that I will continue to try to ad a touch of personal in each post. (that means being creative)
Engagement is the Goal: This is even more important than before, because Instagram will now prioritize your images due to the engagement (most popular will show first) then you want to do whatever you can to get people to comment, to love, to engage with your content. I will say that something that I do, is that I have a few small business friends (okay more than a few) but we are committed to always commenting and engaging on each others feeds. This helps us all out! This will bring me to one of my pet peeves of social media!
SOCIAL MEDIA IS SOCIAL..you can’t expect to just post content or pictures or posts and then just stand back and never like, comment or engage with others and expect your following and brand to grow! My rule of thumb? on EVERY platform is to like and comment (GENUINELY) on at least 10 posts each day. This speaks volumes! 1. to my clients…it means that I’m engaged with their lives, that they are more than just a “like” to me. I have one client who posts the most adorable facebook/insta pictures of her daughter, I get to see the daily life of her grow and then, when they come to do a session…I can talk about it! It’s about relationships! (this is a whole other blog post) 2. It helps other small business owners. The more you comment and encourage them, the better it is for everyone! To quote JFK “A Rising Tide Lifts ALL Ships” 3. It truly is the most authentic way to build your brand! So please don’t just be a poster, be social, engage in others’ posts. I promise it will come back to you 10 times over!
Hashtags: Well you are going to have to be more intentional with your hashtags. Make sure you have consistent ones for your business and the images that you post. I personally keep mine in my “notes” section on my phone, so all I have to do is copy and paste them. I also make sure I use a location in almost every post (helps with searching) and I try to ad one or two creative tags for each post for the random follower!
So there you have it, my thoughts and some ideas of how you can navigate the changes in instagram! I know we don’t like change, but don’t loose heart…you can do this and it will propell you to be a smarter business person!