Instagram is a constantly evolving tool, and one that has changed drastically over the past year. Now, more than ever, it’s important to follow some simple rules when posting to the social networking platform that can help you engage with not only your fans, but potential clients.
Tag Businesses and Locations
This might sound obvious, but oftentimes, it’s overlooked. Mention your clients or potential clients by tagging their Instagram accounts in images that feature them or their products.
On my recent trip to North Carolina, I stopped at several bars and restaurants, as I have a passion for shooting food and drink. Once I processed these images, and prepped them for Instagram, I made sure to mention the official Instagram account for the business. This made them not only aware of the image, but also made them look at my photograph. Doing so can create the potential for them looking at more of your photos, and potentially hiring you for an upcoming job.
Likewise, it’s important to tag locations. Even if you’re at your home, tag the neighborhood or district you live in. Doing so will make it so your photo is seen by people who are searching for location-specific images. And sometimes, these could get the attention of potential clients.
Use Applicable Hashtags
Just like tagging businesses and locations, be sure to use appropriate hashtags in the caption or comment of your image. This spreads your image across anyone looking for a specific type of image.
In my experience, it’s better to use hashtags that are more specific. When using a generalized hashtag with thousands (or millions) of photos tagged to it, your image is bound to get lost in the shuffle.
More is not always better here. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in a post, but if you put hashtag after hashtag, you might annoy your followers, as it seems spammy. Instead, pick relevant hashtags that will draw an audience to your post.
Consider Creating a Series of Images
Something I’ve recently discovered is the advantage of creating a series of images. For me, I typically post three images over the course of one or two days. This helps my audience not only know what to expect, but it lets my account be more known for a certain type of photography, instead of a hodgepodge of images.
Use a Scheduler
It’s helped me tremendously to use a schedule website like Buffer or Later.com. These tools allow you to upload your images, apply appropriate captions and hashtags, and schedule them for publication. When your image is set to be posted, you get an alert on your phone, and then your post is copied over to the Instagram app.
Why do this instead of just post directly on your phone? It allows you to think more in-depth about what you’re posting, and come up with a plan.
Keep Up On Your Comments
When you get a comment from a follower on Instagram, be sure to thank them and reply back. Likewise, if you get a direct message (that little envelope in the upper right hand corner), answer it! Being responsive with your audience and engaging with them shows that you care about your photography.
That’s not to say you have to say “thank you” to all those spammy comments though. Instead, remove those and report the profile to Instagram.
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