It’s 2020, and gone are the days where photography businesses are pouring all of their marketing time on Facebook. Heck, there is even talk that photography business owners should be spending time on places like Tik Tok and even Linkedin.
The truth is many photographers are still gaining massive exposure and even getting booked via Instagram. Since Instagram is a very visual tool, it is still a terrific social media platform for photographers. But how can you get your photography account noticed on Instagram? How do you get photography clients from Instagram? Let’s dive in.
Get Local on Instagram:
I have spent the last few years teaching Local SEO, and there is a lot of overlap with social media. First and foremost, IG acts like a mini search engine, so ideally, the algorithm must associate your account with the location you serve at. The more they know you are affiliated with such an area, the better for you.
So how do you do that? First and foremost, add a location to your IG bio. Secondly, you should be consistently geo-tagging your Instagram posts and Instagram stories. Just because you may not have an actual photography studio, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t geo-tag. You should geo-tag everything: restaurants for personal posts, stores near you, city geo-tag, and so forth..
To geo-tag, just go to add a location when you post on your feed. For stories, click on the stickers button and then choose the city or area.
Businesses know that hashtags are relevant to Instagram, but many business owners still don’t know how to do hashtag research correctly. One tip that I have used is to mix high volume hashtags with lower volume hashtags. For example, if a hashtag has over 200,000 posts, it may be very competitive. I then look at the top 9 results. Think of the top 9 results like the first page of Google. If you see that the average top 9 results for the said hashtag is getting over 1,000 likes and most of your photos get 45 likes, well, you will probably never land that top 9.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this hashtag, but it does mean you should also find hashtags that hare lover competition so you can land a top 9 and be found via the hashtag explore section.
Since users can now follow hashtags, it is vital that create hashtag groups for your self. Find the typical categories you post about, and you can generate hashtag groups around those: Here are some examples:
- Wedding Venues
- Wedding Details
- Wedding Decor
- ( Town) Weddings
- Mompreneur if you are a mom
- Featured local vendor in the wedding industry
Now you can find hashtags with a mix of broad competitive ones and local ones. For example, if I look up, Miami Weddings has over 200k posts, but Miami wedding venues hashtag has 94k posts. Those are two useful local hashtags to use if I am a wedding photographer or even a planner in Miami.
- Newborn Poses
- Newborn Props
- Personal Posts ( owning a studio)
- Local town event or tip for moms
- Mom hack or productivity tip
- Maternity tip or local maternity tip related
Then find hashtags you can save in each category you post. I recommend at least ten. I typically do use it in my caption, but I know many people like to use most in the comment area, so it looks cleaner. Try mixing it up to see which one will work best for you, and by that, I mean which one will yield more engagement.
Use Instagram Stories
One can not do Instagram marketing without being active on Instagram Stories. I understand that we may not feel our very best to show up on camera every day so you can feature a photo, a quote, or even a repost from a fellow vendor or client. I recommend at least 3 stories daily, so you are active. Remember, once you post on Stories, you will show up on top, so you must be engaged. Show behind the scenes, food, places to shop. Explore your town and be a mini city guide, especially for your ideal target audience. If your audience is moms, moms are always looking for things to do with their kids. This way, you will attract moms in your area who will save your tips.
Instagram marketing is more about relationship building than selling. You are a storyteller, so tell stories. Feature client testimonial and client reposts, and mention where that client is from.
Now that I am growing a local niche account, I realize the importance of getting out of the house. I also see how connected my South Florida community is and how they build each other up. There is such power in a city, then one of the best things I have done is to get more involved in my local community. I can’t always make it to all the meetups, but what I do is nurture the relationship online. You can do so by:
- Leaving a thoughtful comment on some one’s post
- Sending them a DM with a thoughtful comment
- Send them an audio DM if you know them
- Repost their content to your stories often
- Network with local businesses and repost them
- Feature things to do and new businesses
You are not alone on an island. You live in a community, so get plugged in. You will find that people are thirsty for connection and authenticity.
If you are a photographer, most likely you are in the business of your, alone or a small team. Your business may even be a personal reband and not a studio name. It is important to showcase more of who you are and your personality. Don’t make it just about work. You don’t have to tell your full life story and show all the things but people do connect with vulnerability way more than with perfection. Don’t show a perfect world. Be you boo.
Automate your Instagram Scheduling
Instead of scrounging for a post idea, you should set some time up every month in order to get a few ideas lined up. I find posting 4-5 times a week ideal. One tip that has helped me has been to divide the days by ideas so Techie Tuesday, Travel Thursday, Local Friday. I then can come up with 4 Travel posts for example. So if you are a wedding photographer, maybe on Wednesday you feature a wedding venue, this way it will be so much easier to find 4 wedding venues to feature a month instead of thinking what will I post today. Secondly use a scheduler. This will be a game-changer. I used Planoly which has a fantastic free account, but I have now switched to Tailwind for Instagram and I love it.
Why? Because they have a hashtag suggestion tool that is so eye-opening and a game-changer. You can also save hashtag groups in there too and it auto-posts for you if you have a business account. If you want to try it for a month, use my affiliate code and try it for free for a month. This will help you design your Instagram feed which can be complex even for us photographers. One downside is that you do have to schedule the post first to see how it will look in the design. I wish one could do that with drafts, but maybe they will have this feature in the future.
Organize & Plan Your Content Strategy
As I have shared in my Marketing Hacks blog post, sorting your posts by categories or topics can help you fill up your schedule. Here are some ideas that you can do:
Wedding Photographer Ideas
- Monday – Wedding Details
- Tuesday – Bridal Party
- Wednesday – Unique Venue
- Thursday – Something Personal and Inspiring
- Friday – All about Bride
- Saturday – Wedding Decor Ideas
- Sunday – Personal content
Portrait Photographer Ideas:
- Monday – all about baby
- Tuesday – Cake smash
- Wednesday – Family outfit ideas
- Thursday- Personal or behind the scenes
- Friday – Props and more
- Saturday – Portrait Products
- Sunday – Personal inspiration and Life
Setting a theme for the day allows you to create content for a full month. It is a lot easier to find 4 photos of a bride a month, 4 photos of the venue, 4 wedding detail photos then scrounging for what to post for that day. Do it the smart way, then spend some time just engaging.
Instagram Strategy Recap
First and foremost, start using more location keywords in your captions and also always geotag your posts and stories. Secondly, spend some time finding new local hashtags for your photography business. Next, connect with local vendors or moms and feature each other. Last but not least, get on a schedule, so you are not spending hours on Instagram.
So what has worked for you on Instagram? How are you finding photography clients on Instagram?
Bonus tip. Set a screen time, so you don’t get sucked in and waste too much time. Use your time to check on comments and DMs. Then spend some time engaging with posts from the hashtags you follow and from your local community.