by Simone Armer
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]nstagram is one of the most widely-used visual platforms, with 1 billion active users and over 40 billion photos shared to date. For a photographer, this offers unparalleled digital marketing opportunities. Using Instagram is also a great way to promote your work, connect with other photographers, build and engage with your audience, and collaborate with brands and agencies. You may be wondering how to create a presence for yourself and stand out from so many other individuals and businesses, but there are plenty of strategies to help you get better exposure for your photography.
Choose the right name
There are two elements in your profile that Instagram indexes to appear in search results: your account name, or handle, and your profile name. Both elements will appear together in the search results for your name, and will also be the first thing users see when they land on your profile page. The account name, or handle, should be recognizable, as short as possible, easy to remember and spell and be demonstrative of your brand. If you use other social media platforms, your name should be the same as those accounts. If you are new to social media, you could simply use your name or company name, with no periods or underscores. Your profile name can contain more information, such as following your name and brand name with the word ‘photography’ and can even include your specialization or niche, such as portrait, lifestyle, travel, or wildlife photography.
Make full use of your profile
Since Instagram is a mobile platform, there is little ‘real estate’ to play with – be sure to maximize the space you’re given to connect with users and show them what you’re about. Your profile picture, for example, appears as a small circle so you should choose a photo of your face or logo that is both high quality and cropped well.
The biography section is another aspect of your profile that users will see first when they land on your page – but it only offers 150 characters. It’s important to include the kind of services you offer, the city or cities in which you are willing to work, and your photography genre. You should also try to make it interesting and personal so that you can capture users’ attention and stand out.
There is also a dedicated section that allows you to add a link to your profile page which you could use for your website or online portfolio. Although Instagram only allows one live link per profile page, there’s nothing stopping you from adding your email address to your bio as well.
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Convert to a business profile
Instagram recently launched a range of business tools for companies of any size and up to 200 million users are visiting these accounts every day. Making the switch is free and gives you access to new business features and Instagram Insights. All you need is an already existing Facebook Page that you can associate your Instagram account with. A business profile can help you connect with new customers by giving you the option to add additional information about your company on your profile page. You can add a phone number, an email address and your company’s physical address, for example. When you add at least one of these options, a ‘Contact’ button appears at the top of your profile, which users can click to see options like ‘Get Directions’, ‘Call’ and ‘Email’. You’ll also get access to Instagram Insights, which provides you information on who your customers are and when they’re online. You can also view insights for specific posts or stories to see how they are performing and for your account as a whole, including impressions, reach, website clicks and profile visits.
To switch to a business profile, all you need is an already existing Facebook Page for your company to associate your Instagram account with. Then, simply log into your business’ public Instagram account on a mobile device. Go to your profile and tap the gear icon to access the settings page. Then select ‘Switch to Business Profile’ from the list and hit ‘Continue’ to select the Facebook Page. You can then review and edit your business contact information.
Share quality content
You should pay close attention to the content you share since that will be what interests users and keeps them coming back for more. In addition to using the insights gained from your business account to figure out how often and on what days you should be posting, you can make use of the following strategies:
Find your niche
Discover what makes your brand unique and stick to it. Not only will this help you stand out and develop a following, but it allows you to focus on the photographs you love to take
Write a good caption
One-liners may work for some but there’s no better way to share the story behind your work than writing a good caption. You can also use this space to engage with your followers by asking a question or including a call to action.
Use those stories
Uploading to your Instagram Stories is a great way to share content that doesn’t fit with your niche or brand but still allows you to connect with your audience. It’s also a good way to promote upcoming posts, like sharing that you’re on your way to a shoot, for example. Instagram also now allows you to save selected stories onto your profile page.
Tag your posts effectively
Instagram allows you to tag your posts in three ways: hashtags, location tags, and mentions. Hashtags are the nouns and verbs that, when placed in front of the # key, make your content discoverable. If a user does a search for ‘landscape’, for example, content that is tagged with that keyword will show up in the results. There is a lot of debate over what types and how many hashtags one should use, but there is no arguing that posts with at least one hashtag tend to receive 12.6% more engagement. As a photographer, you can hashtag things like location, type of photography, your equipment and details specific to the photograph.
Whenever you share a post on Instagram, you will be presented with the ‘Add Location’ option. Location tags allow you to tag your posts according to their physical location, which then displays on that post under your username. More and more people are beginning to use Instagram for recommendations, looking for everything from local restaurants to their next travel destinations. If you share a photo from your last trip to Iceland and tag it, for example, a user searching the location tag ‘Iceland’ might see your photograph and click through to your page.
When you post a client’s photograph on Instagram you can tag them via mentions, using the @ key followed by their username. This will send them a notification to view the photo, allowing them to like it, make a comment or even share it with their followers.
Focus on building an active community around quality content and the number of your followers will begin to grow. From there, the sky is the limit! Also, make sure to Follow Agora Gallery’s Instagram page.
Let us know what are some of your favorite ways of interacting with your followers! Comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Simone Armer is a writer, photographer, and content creator. She was born in New York, raised in South Africa and spent four years living in Japan. She blogs about her travels at www.simonearmer.com.