Promote Your Photography on Instagram
There is no doubt that we live in the Golden Age of Social Media. New platforms come to the market almost every day but the majority still sticks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With its 500 million active users, Instagram is among the most popular applications and websites world wide. With traffic rapidly growing, even businesses have started focusing on marketing there. So how can we, as amateurs or professionals, take advantage of Instagram to promote and even sell our photography?
Before we get to the answer we need to ask ourselves “Why Instagram”. Among all the social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google +, Ello, EyeEm, 500px and more, what makes Instagram special? Why is this the platform so many photographers choose to focus upon?
- More than 500 million active users
- More than 300 million daily users
- Companies have begun to pay influencers for promotion
- A visual platform with the purpose to share photos
- Great place to connect with fellow photographers
- Great place to connect with a new audience & customers
These are only some of the points that makes Instagram such an attractive plattform to promote your photography.
As you can imagine, getting noticed among so many users can be a difficult task. In fact, statistics show that the majority of Instagram users have less than 300 followers. So, if you have more than that – congratulations, you’re above average!
Obviously, all the active users on Instagram don’t use it with the intent to promote their photography, or even follow photographers. The majority of people only wish to share pictures from their daily life with friends and followers, and have no desire to follow strangers. Trying to reach this market can be a huge waste of time.
There’s no blueprint to promoting your photography on Instagram but there are many actions you can take to get more followers and engagement around you and your photography. It all starts with the content.
Share quality content
As Instagram is a visual platform, sharing the right content is a key ingredient to gaining followers. Knowing what content to share can for many be challenging, especially if you’re new to the world of marketing via social media. Not only should the content be of high quality, it should also be relevant.
For photographers it will be more effective to share high quality images rather than pictures of your daily life. Still, adding a Behind the Scenes image every now and then can be a good idea (try to keep that type of content on your Instagram Stories).
Since you’re trying to promote your brand and your photography, stick to posting quality images.
The subject of quantity can be quite controversial. Studies have shown that posting 4-6 images each day will increase the following quickest. However, the interaction and your likability might take a hit.
People don’t want to be spammed but they also want to see enough of your images to remember you. Finding that golden line can be hard.
A typical downside of posting as many as 4-6 images per day is that the image quality most likely won’t be as high as if you posted 1 per day or just a few per week. If you post 1 good and 3 less good images every day, you won’t be remembered for the good one.
At the end, much depends on how many quality images you have and how many you’ll be able to capture in the future. Don’t upload all you’re images straight away, have patience and build a organic and solid following.
Most photographers who have gained a solid amount of followers aim to post at least one image daily. Perhaps even two so they reach a wider audience.
How to get followers on Instagram
So, to the million dollar question: How do you get followers?
We’ve already covered what type of content and how often you should post but how do you get the images seen? Just posting the pictures isn’t enough.
Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to get your images seen on Instagram. There are a few different ways to do this but I recommend adding your hashtags in the first comment of your picture rather than in the caption. This gives the post a less spammy look and it’s also easy to tag people and groups without damaging your reach.
Use a combination of popular hashtags and hashtags that are relevant to your post. On the post embedded below I used a combination hashtags that are “owned” by Instagram Hubs and relevant hashtags such as #waterfall and #Iceland.
Including one or two hashtags mentioning the location of your image can always be beneficial as locals (or people visiting) often browse those tags for inspiration. I’ve found using location hashtags to be very effective in reaching a new audience.
Remember to use our the hashtag #CaptureLandscapes for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and website..
Getting shoutouts is an important part of being noticed and reaching a wider audience on Instagram. This does not mean you should comment on peoples posts asking for shoutouts. Avoid shoutout for shoutout and begging for them – that will look bad and not be a wise move in the long run.
Getting people to share your images is one of the hardest tasks you’ll get on Instagram. Don’t expect it to happen right away. Ideally, you want larger hubs and pages to share your images but don’t forget about the smaller groups. It’s often from the small hubs you’ll get the most interaction.
Using the right hashtags is a good way to be noticed by these groups, as the moderators often look through the hashtag in search for good images to feature.
Once you’ve gotten a few images shared you will notice that others are slowly picking up on you as well.
This might be the most important part of using Instagram for business or even just for fun. Interaction is the key to getting noticed, building a network and promoting your photography.
Have fun. Make friends. Comment on others images and respond to those who comment on your images. Be nice and take part in the community. But most importantly, be genuine.
Responding to those who comment on your images is something many don’t do, unfortunately. Ultimately this will have a negative impact on your engagement, as people will eventually stop commenting on your images as they never get a reply.
Another thing you can do to improve your interaction with your followers is to answer questions. If someone asks you something about you or your photography, answer them! If you find that there’s a question that pops up often you might even want to do a FAQ on your website that you can direct people to.
Earn money from Instagram
During the last years it’s become more normal for companies to pay Instagrammers for shoutouts, mentions or other services. There are many ways to earn money from Instagram but most of them do, unfortunately, require a high amount of followers and good engagement. Don’t rush into getting many followers as more companies are also paying attention to the amount of likes and comments your images are receiving.
Here’s a couple examples of how you can get paid from posting images on Instagram:
- Run campaigns for companies
- Do photoshoots for companies and offer sharing the pictures and mentioning them in the posts
- Become a brand ambassador
Note that just mentioning a company in a post is rarely enough to get paid. Most of the time, especially when running campaigns for them, they will want to license some of your images. I don’t want to talk to much about this topic as it highly depends on each individual company and campaign.
Instagram to Promote Photography: Last words
Having a large amount of followers online can give you many benefits but most likely it will not be life changing. If you’re a photographer and wish to promote your photography, don’t let Instagram take away the attention. Continue creating art and don’t rely only on one social media or platform. What happens when Instagram shuts down?
There are many factors involved in growing your following and promoting your photography on Instagram. Yet, the key factors are: quality content and interaction.
Stay true to yourself and don’t start posting unrelated or even low quality images just to squeeze out one or two posts extra each day. In the long run it’s better to post less but higher quality, at least if your goal is to promote your images and business.
Be sure to follow CaptureLandscapes on Instagram for daily inspiration and a chance to get your images shared!