I see the same types of mistakes over and over again on Instagram. Someone posting a photo, throwing a one liner and some hashtags with it and just walking away. That’s just not enough! So, today I’m sharing my top 3 tips for how to grow your photography Instagram account.
Let’s start with captions, because that’s really what creating a cohesive post is all about. The key point that I want you to walk away with is this: When you get ready to post your images, you’ve got to tell your current and prospective clients what to do with the picture.
On Facebook, you might post your photo to get a certain reaction, because that’s the goal on Facebook. With Instagram, you want them to engage with you and go further than just double tapping your image in order to grow your photography instagram. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to double tap an image. Your goal with Instagram is to get comments, have them vote on polls and send DMS. In order to do that, you really have to talk to your followers very directly and tell them exactly what you want them to do.
With that being said, I was going to post a lifestyle image of a mom with her kids with an end goal of getting people to share their favorite part of motherhood and what part of motherhood they would want captured in photos during their children’s current phase of life. You have to be very specific and add a call to action. My call to action would go like this: I would tell them a little story about what this mom said she wanted and then, at the very end of that caption, I would something along the lines of “If I could photograph and lock in time, that one moment that means so much to you right now, what moment would it be? Comment below!” That’s it. You simply have to tell people what to do or they’re going to do nothing.
What to Post
Another issue with captions many people mention is not knowing what to post about. I totally get it! I struggled with this for so long. Here’s a little tip that I often give my clients… When you are going to a session, start making mental notes of moments that you can talk about later on. Then, when the session is over and you get back in your vehicle, open the Notes app and your phone or voice record some some topics or a short outline of what happened that you can bring up later in your posts. Did you make the biggest mistake and leave your camera battery at home? Did you have a funny mishap or see an extra sweet moment? Write that all out in a note, so that later on, when you’re done editing that session, you already have stuff to share along with your photos.
So let’s say you follow those tips and write the perfect caption with a great call to action and then get crickets. Don’t stress! This might happen to you. It’s a very realistic thing. If you don’t have a very engaged audience right now, you basically have to train them to talk to you. They’re not used to having to talk to you, because you came out of nowhere and now want all this engagement.
There are two things I recommend that can really help get engagement coming your way. Number one, get four of your friends, four family members, or four other photographers together and for one to two weeks, just commit to commenting on each other’s posts. This is not meant to be a long term strategy. It’s just meant for you to have a little engagement, so you can avoid getting crickets and take the first step to grow your photography instagram. Once people start seeing that there’s one comment and then there’s three or four comments, they’re more likely to comment too. Number two, give yourself grace, it’s gonna take a little bit for engagement to pick up as you train people to talk to you. You can’t simply grow your photography instagram overnight, but if you begin using these tips consistently and intentionally, the growth will follow.
2. Your profile
Now, let’s optimize your profile, so that people will follow you quicker and make a decision to want to be on your page or to get off of your page. This starts with your bio. Let’s dig into the bio formula you can implement right away. First thing a lot of people do not realize is, there’s a bolded portion of your bio. When you click Edit Profile, it says your name. When you first sign up for Instagram, this is either going to be your business name, or your actual name like Brooke Jefferson, but I want you to go change it. In this bolded section, there needs to be searchable terms.
For instance, mine says Oklahoma photographer, and that means when my ideal client is searching for a photographer in Oklahoma, they’re going to go type in Oklahoma photographer in the Instagram search bar and I’m going to be one of the people that pops up under that search. I do this for absolutely everything. I found my website designer by doing this, I found my VA by doing this. A lot of people are searching for what they’re looking for in the search bar and if you don’t have anything specific there they won’t find you as easily.
People aren’t going to know your photography business name or your personal name ahead of time, so you need to tell them what you are in that bolded section. You’re using two billboards side by side, and if they both say the same thing it’s just wasted space. You might as well change it to something a little more searchable to what you do. You can even get as specific as the city you’re in.
Take a second and go into your Instagram right now and see what you have in there. Still just have your name or business name? Go ahead and update it now.
Now let’s start filling in the actual bio section. I want you to start by picturing yourself sitting at a table in a coffee shop with your ideal client who you wants to book a sitting across from you. How would you introduce your yourself to them? I’m going to assume you’re probably not going to lead with “I’m a photographer, and I do this and I shoot all these genres and book now to my website.”
No, you would get a little more personable, so that’s what you should do in your bio (Your Instagram introduction). Use those first two lines of your bio to give a little more insight into who you are. We know you’re a photographer, more than likely your business name has already given that away. If that hasn’t given it away, your feed already will, so say something a little more personable, that can make a connection.
Your goal in your bio is to immediately have a follower decide, I like you or I don’t need to be here. That’s the goal. So give some personality in the first two lines. Are you a mom? Do you have twins? Do you love dogs? Are you a coffee addict? Tell us a little bit, so someone looking at your bio is likely to think “Me too!”. Then after that, then you can tell us whatever your photography genre is and then give a call to action to click on your website like “To see my recent work” and then add little finger pointing down emoji that’s pointing to your website link. You’ve got to tell your people what to do plainly and simply. .
Who do you want to book? If you’re speaking to photographers, then other photographers who follow you. If you’re speaking to your ideal clients, then more of your local people will follow you.
So, everyone knows they should be doing stories. The main thing I see is people simply aren’t utilizing highlights enough. For me, as an Instagram user, I always check out people’s highlights. In fact, if you’re trying to get me to spend money with you, I’m going to your highlights first. More than likely I can get more insight into you, what you offer and how you offer it there.
For my final tip of the day, I’m going to give you the top five must-have highlight categories. Then you’ll need to take action and put them in place.
1. Start Here
You need to have a ‘start here’ icon. Think about what you would want to say if you only got one shot to try and get someone to do something. This could be five quick slides including an intro of who you are, a link to your website or whatever you want to add. If you’re running certain promo, you could just have that in this highlight.
2. About Me
Then next icon to add is an ‘about me. icon. This is simply a place where people will get to know you. You could put some of your fun stories that really just show off your personality and lifestyle.
3. Your Work
This will be a place to showcase your best work. Just have a couple different ones. This is probably the one slide everybody already has in their highlights, which is great.
The is where you’ll share all your great reviews. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to gather your customer testimonials. This can be in the form of formal reviews or even an old text a client sent when they were elated with their photos. Just screenshot it, crop it down, stick a sticker over their picture and remove their name.
5. Your Process
This highlight is one that a lot of people don’t have. If people can see what happens after they messaged you, you will turn more leads into clients faster than what you are right now. Whether it’s face to camera, or just a set of awesome graphics that you created, it’s great. People will feel like you know what you’re doing, because you have a legitimate process.
Time to Wrap It Up!
Ready to dive in right away, so you can begin to grow your photography instagram account? Then, snag these five captions, and five Instagram story prompts HERE. You can simply swipe those in and implement them immediately.
Want to learn more about how to grow your photography Instagram and take your business to the next level? Just click below to listen or you can find the Book More Clients podcast on iTunes and Spotify too.
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