November 26, 2017

my philosophy

How Creative Entrepreneurs Can Use Instagram to Get More Inquiries

Instagram, for creatives entrepreneurs, has the potential to be your biggest tool *or* the bane of your existence. Finding new and ideal clients on Instagram can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but there are several tips and tricks to help those inquiries come in. In the past year, about 75% of my bookings have come from Instagram. I’m no Jenna Kutcher or Tyler McCall (see the bottom of this post for some of my favorite resources from them!), but I’d love to share what has worked for me!

  1.  Maximize during the “impact week”. This rule mostly applies to those in the wedding/event industry. I call the week following a wedding day “impact week” because it has the most potential to make an impression. You want your work to be seen by the bride and groom (pleasing them is your first priority!!), but you also want guests and vendors to see your work because future inquiries may come from them.
    1. Most bride and grooms have a hashtag for their wedding. Posting sneak-peaks using the hashtag the night of or day after the wedding ensures many eyes will see it. Guests who were at the wedding and those who couldn’t make it want to see pictures almost immediately after the wedding. There’s a certain “high” that people experience after a wedding; the more time that passes after the wedding day, the more that “high” dwindles. Most young people go to many weddings every year. IF you don’t post any pictures from the wedding until you’ve finished editing it, that wedding is old news because guests have been to another wedding by then. Posting pictures hours or days after the wedding ensures many guests will see your pictures, and engagement on those posts will be much higher than if you posted them months after the wedding (because people are so excited and on that “high). **Little tip: Make sure to ask your clients ahead of time what their wedding hashtag is! I include that in my questionnaire; if they are undecided, I usually take a picture of their hashtag sign at the wedding so I make sure I will be able to remember it.  
    2. Tag vendors/send them pictures to post.  Getting your photos in front of multiple audiences is a game changer. Make sure you email vendors some sneak peak images of their work so they can post professional photos on their instagram! Chances are, guests and their following will see those posts and click back to your page to check out your work. I remember one wedding I shot this year…I sent sneak peaks to vendors who had a combined audience of about 50,000 followers. I probably got 5-10 great inquiries that week and have booked multiple weddings. Don’t forget that this is a way to serve others; don’t do it just for selfish reasons. If you’re a photographer, you have the means to provide vendors with quality photos of their work; you get to use photos of their work in your portfolio, so it’s only fair they have access to those photos. Creating relationships with them go a long way in business as well.
  2.  Geotag locations. I think this one is pretty obvious by now, but it’s an important one! For those who don’t know, geotagging just means adding a location on your instagram posts before you post the photo (underneath the “caption” and “tag photo” option when you’re posting). I have booked several weddings from people who are researching venues and come across my photos. Sometimes wedding guests will look up their friend’s wedding by looking up the location instead of the hashtag, so geo-tagging during that week of impact is important! Also, don’t be afraid to geotag locations even if you haven’t shot a wedding there. Go take a few pictures of a venue (as long as that’s allowed), post them on Instagram, and you never know who may see it!Instagram Tips for Wedding Photographers
  3.  Create an aesthetically pleasing feed. Let’s be honest…we’re all drawn to instagram accounts that are aesthetically pleasing. It’s important to have captions that connect, but no one will ever see the caption if they click on your account and immediately click back because your feed is all mumble jumble. No matter your style (light and airy, dark and moody, etc), you can create visually beautiful feeds. Here are a few ideas…you don’t have to do them all, but one or two may make a big difference!   
    1. Alternate light and dark images. Go look at Jenna Kutcher’s feed and you’ll see what I mean. It’s easier for your brain to process what you’re seeing when images are broken up into light and dark segments. It also breaks up your feed so all the photos don’t look like they run together.
    2.  Alternate kinds of pictures. Again, to keep your feed from running together, add some variety. Alternate close up and pulled back portraits. Add details in between. Put in pictures of flowers and different products instead of only adding ring shots.
    3. Coordinate colors. It takes a lot of work, but coordinating colors makes your feed SO pretty. If you scroll back to my feed around the January/February of this year, I was coordinating colors in blocks of about 9. I semi- alternated light and dark, and all the “dark” images had the same color tones.
    4. Play around with the drag and drop feature in Planoly. Planoly is a great tool to help you schedule Instagram posts…AND there’s a drag and drop feature to help plan out what you’ll post when! It’s free if you only want to schedule one post a day. Drag images around until you feel like the aesthetic is right! 
  4. Test! Everyone’s audience is different. I could share with you all of my exact strategies (and trust me, there are more!!), but it wouldn’t work the same because our audiences are different. You have to be willing to try different things (and maybe fail a few times) in order to get to know what your audience will engage with and how people will find you.
    1.  Times to post: According to paid advertising expert Rick Mulready, the best times to post are at 10:00am, 5:00pm and 2:00am. The best day to post is Monday. Although this is true for Instagram as a whole, your audience may be different! Test out different times until you know when the best time for you to post is (for me, it’s been 9:00am and 9:00pm for the past several months!).
    2. What your audience connects with. Most of the time, your audience will connect with more personal things, because posting personal things gives a personality and reason behind your brand. If you’re a photographer, don’t just post and talk about your pictures. Post about your dogs, your husband, your unhealthy addiction to all things Pumpkin Spice or whatever your life looks like. When you find a few things that your audience connects with, and that you want to be known for, stick to those things. Other than my dogs, Greg, and our baby, I post a lot about apple pie, my addiction to The Office, and my love for Maui because my audience connects and engages with me about those things. And with Instagram, engagement is king.
    3. What hashtags work. For me, #bayareaweddingphotographer is a big one. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients which hashtag they used to find you (if they found you on instagram!). 
  5.  Be there for your audience. Jenna Kutcher uses a brilliant analogy to illustrate this point. Say you create a beautiful dinner for your friends. You invite them over…but spend the entire night standing in the doorway yelling at people outside to come join the dinner. Why not focus on the friends you already have seated at your table? When they comment on your posts, comment back. Follow their journeys and engage with them. Chances are, they may want to hire you when they get engaged, or recommend you when their best friend gets engaged. Focus on building a community with those who are already there for you; after that, others will come.

comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *