BY SASHENKA PAATZ
Instagram has become the most popular social media advertising platform among photographers.
The platform works well to promote photography for one main reason; pictures are the forefront of every post.
The Instagram community encourages creativity and new ideas. This mindset means that the platform is constantly evolving.
“I will admit that as a business owner I have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with Instagram,” says Jenny Vinson, owner of VP Studios Photography, “as in the last two years the platform has changed significantly, and it is up to me to stay current and moving along with the flow of things.”
The platform has several facets that work together to encourage growth in a company’s following. Consistency is key, but can be hard work. Monitoring a business account on Instagram is time consuming.
“I do use tools to help streamline things like scheduling posts and profile management which is helpful but it does take time. I try to plan out my content for about two weeks ahead of time if possible,” says Vinson.
Finding the right platform can make a large impact on customer engagement. Facebook was the main social media platform for VP Studios Photography before 2016, according to Vinson.
A photographer needs to keep their target demographic in mind when choosing the appropriate social media platform to promote their work.
“One of the biggest ways that it impacts our business is that the average age of the Instagram user-base fits our target market and a strong percentage of those users have a deep appreciation for photography,” says Vinson.
VP Studio Photography’s audience is between the ages of 18 to 29. They specialize in wedding photography and have 68 per cent female clientele.
Instagram has particular tips and tricks that make advertising more effective. Learning and growing with the platform is important for success.
“I’ve only just recently started using hashtags to categorize my photos on Instagram. I’ve been doing some research on different hashtag projects and trending hashtags,” says Faith Pickran. She is a blogger, aspiring photographer and post-secondary student in Oakville.
Hashtags work as links to related content. This allows for connections to be made between Instagram accounts.
“Cross-marketing among businesses that have the same target market is a powerful tool,” says Vinson. “Tagging those companies is huge as well as being mindful of what hashtags they are using and adding applicable visual content to those tags is beneficial for all.”
Instagram is a great way to form a community around a photographer. The platform’s tools help businesses and people to keep connections and make new ones.
Photography is not just promoted through hashtags and tagging other accounts.
“I do use hashtags but find that making sure I have regular, engaging visual content has more impact on my quality of followers than hashtags. My thought is that I would rather have quality vs quantity,” says Vinson.
Excellence in a product is the defining marker for a business. Photographers can appear successful on a social media platform by the number of followers they have. The number is not important. The engagement in the product is the goal.
“Every photo I post on Instagram represents some memory. I believe every picture is worth a thousand words, and my goal is to look back on my feed one day and see all my photos and what they represent to me,” says Pickran.