Social Media has been a dominate topic of conversation ever since it started to impact small business owners. It's how our customers find us, interact with us, contact us and ultimately (and hopefully) hire us. I will admit that I didn't really understand the power of social media until a few years ago and have since put in a lot more effort using it to grow my wedding photography business. I thought I'd share my social media tips with the biggest platform I use, and know the most about, Instagram. I am in no way an Instagram expert but I do feel strongly about these 3 tips for wedding photographers who are using Instagram.
No. 1 - Create A Business Account - If you already have an account on Instagram you should convert it to a business account immediately. Heres why:
- Link Your Pages: Facebook owns Instagram (if didn't already know that) and you will be able to easily link your instagram account directly to your Facebook Business Page. You can share your feed in both places, respond to messages and reply to comments from inside Facebook.
- Contact Buttons: Your profile will now display the Call, Email and Directions buttons directly above your feed. This is so helpful because viewers will be able to easily contact you with a click of a button, making it much easier and faster for potential clients to contact you.
- Analytics: This is probably the BEST feature of being a business account. After you've converted your profile, Instagram will start to track your engagement on your posts and within a few days you will be able to see your statistics. This is the most useful and priceless information to creating new content, crafting your ad's and engaging with your audience.
- Swipe Up - The rumor is that sooner or later ALL business accounts will receive the coveted Swipe Up feature from Instagram. As of today, you have to have 10k followers or more have this feature activated. I will 100% honest, I'm dying for this feature and hope Instagram would share it with everyone sooner rather than later.
No. 2 - Plan Your Feed & Have A Plan - Social Media can actually become very stressful. It's hard t come up with new content everyday so I recommend planning your feed & content a few weeks at a time and all in one day. For myself, I sit down at my computer and plan my feed two weeks at a time twice a month. How do I do this? I created a Instagram cheatsheet for myself. I made my own grid with nine squares and in each square I put in a topic I wanted to discuss. For my wedding photography business, my grid will consist of photos of Brides, Grooms, Bridesmaids, Engagement Photos, Motherhood, Maternity, Babies, Photo Tips, Tea with Jainé and Personal Posts. Knowing what I'm going to be talking about takes all the stress out of planning because now that I have a plan, I can map out my grid quickly in advance and not stress about what I'm going to post.
How do I plan my grid? I use Planoly to plan my Instagram account and use their Auto Post feature which is amazing. It's such a time saver! There are other applications to use such as Later and Iconosquare which are different software options. I encourage you to do a trial of each software and pick the one that best for you.
Quick Tip: Every few months I will go back into my old wedding, engagement and style shoot galleries and pull content from my archives. There is absolutely no rule about what you can post and how old or new it is. If it's relevant to your business and you can write good copy, I say use what you've already have.
No.3 - Advertise - I hate to break it to you but the days of instant success and gazillion followers on Instagram are O V E R! So, instead of complaining about it, you can use Instagram to your advantage play the game. I'm NOT recommending paying likes or followers (honestly, it's so bad if you decide to do that and everyone can tell when your account isn't genuine) but investing some of your marketing budget in Instagram Ad's is going to give you a very good ROI. First off, you have to remember that Instagram is F R E E. You do not have to pay to join, use their application, interact with people and potential book couples from Instagram. Instagram is a very big way that my clients find me and I happy to advertise on Instagram.
As I mentioned above, Instagram is owned by Facebook which means that Instagram has access to your clients Facebook status (engaged, single, married, ...it's complicated) and where they live (ie. their zip code). With this information, you can create incredibly targeted ad's aimed for your ideal client. You can create ad's that will just show up in a specific zip code, for engaged couples who are interested in weddings. Get it?! It's unreal the power of Instagram Ad's and the best part is that they are very inexpensive. But, if you think that advertising isn't for you, or you don't "do advertising", I'm here to ask you why? Why do you feel that way? Let's be honest, how many purchases have you made because you saw an Ad and thought "hey, I LOVE that and I need it immediately!". I have too many to count! Don't believe me? I would highly suggest you follow Gary Vaynerchuk and listen to his wise words of wisdom. Seriously, he's amazing! Ok, back to Instagram Ad's...
Advertising on the biggest platform that couples are spending the most time and paying amazing low advertising rates, is an incredible way for you to get your name out there directly to your potential couples. Also, you have to keep at it. You simply cannot create one ad and then give up. You have to see what works and what doesn't. You'll be able to see the analytics from each advertisement so moving forward you can make an even bigger impact or adjustments. For myself, if I see that one of my photos is really doing well with a lot of likes and comments, I will promote it because I know it's connecting with my followers.
Most recently, I booked a fantastic couple who saw my Instagram Ad. They saw my ad, liked the photo and visited my profile, checked out my work, contacted me and ultimately hired me to capture their wedding day. I think I spent around $30 dollars on that ad to run for a few days and it was worth every penny because my couple is amazing and the exact client I am hoping to book. I can't recommend Instagram Ad's enough!
So what about you? What do you love about Instagram? Do you have any features or applications you'd like to share? Please leave us a comment below and I hope this article was helpful!