Photographers have a love-hate relationship with Instagram.
Mashup of Manet and Instagram by Thierry Van Biesen
There’s the ones who “got it”, have tens of thousands of followers, and love it…and then there’s the ones who are struggling to take their follower count off the ground, and hate it.
This is because Instagram is linked to our emotions, through the process of validation, of “likes”. So the more it loves us, the more we love it. And, unfortunately, vice-versa.
But beyond the emotional aspect, there is also the commercial aspect. Instagram means business. So it can be treated more methodically. And there are best practices to follow. Hence the importance to share experiences and look for advice.
INSTAGROW is a group that will help you build your Instagram account and use it as a marketing tool and a revenue source.
Below is a list of tips and advices gathered during our workshop: aside from some “form” advices (did you know that pastel or soft colored images attract 7 times more likes than saturated ones?), there were also substance advices. It is important for photographers to research the values that their current or ideal clients need to communicate, and try to illustrate them in their imagery.
10 TIPS TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM
1. Avatar and Bio => your profile should include an attractive avatar, a short exciting Bio, and of course, a link to your website/blog
2. Keep a balance of 75% pro images & 25% your daily life (it can be your professional daily life) => IG is the reign of the authentic instant
3. Keep it square. Even though IG recently allowed other formats, the original and still preferred format on the platform is the square, and square images integrate seamlessly into other people’s feeds.
4. Warmth: it is important to keep your tone warm, your images’ tone as well as your comments and captions. IG is where people come to connect and connection is warmth.
5. Post regularly, even if it means you produce a lot of images at a time, but spread out posting times over the period it takes you to produce your next batch.
6. Hashtags must stay relevant, and not show a craving for attention. Ideally try to stay within 8 and 10. Don’t forget to tag other accounts that are bigger than yours, and have the same style of images.
7. Try to find a hashtag that fits your specialty, that is very scarcely used for the moment, that you can adopt and can become your trademark.
8. Research the biggest influencers in your photography niche, follow them, and interact with them. Also, connect with bloggers whose niche is relevant to your specialties, and try to collaborate with them.
9. Networking: it is important to start discussions and dialogs within the community, it is part of the IG game and is recommended to interact with bigger influencers, to increase your influence too.
10. Love endlessly: don’t be stingy with your likes, and comments on others’ posts. The more you interact, the more you grow.
One last general rule, especially true if you have less than 1000 followers and want to grow your account sanely, you need to have 5-10% of followers interacting with your content (likes+comments). Less than that is a sign that your account isn’t getting enough audience and will be seen as less relevant.
Then, the more you grow, the more you’ll tend towards a ratio of 1%.
CONTENT THAT WORKS
4•Faces (35%more likes when there is a face in an image)
6•Sharp, no blurry images
9• Social living
Lastly, information, as always is key, and there are tools, like Websta, to analyze your Instagram account, but more importantly to look for other successful users in your niche, find users by keyword, analyze your trending hashtags etc.
So go at Instagram like a business, not a romantic affair, and who knows, you might fall in Like.
written with the help of Salomé Bidaux