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We are not far from all of our cameras sending a small JPEG to our phones, so we can share it right away with our audience.

 

Why Use Instagram?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, even if you may be feeling a little cynicism. You may be thinking that Instagram is a site for anyone to take amateur photos with their cell phones, slap on a filter, and then upload it instantly. If you let that stop you, you are missing a HUGE opportunity to grow your business.

Look at it this way. Instagram is a way to share images and video seamlessly. People can find images by interest, location, and links. Instagram is currently the best social media network for photographers. (It is also the best social media network, period – but that is another discussion)

When you decide to post your professional-level photos on Instagram, you have an instant advantage over all those that take pictures of their boring lunch or the sunset. Your interesting and story-telling images will be loved and shared. The best content on any network wins, and on Instagram, the only content that really matters is photos, so if you take great photos – you should be dominating Instagram.

Many photographers already know that if we build a large audience online, this can translate to photo shoots, recognition from magazines/agencies for print jobs, and for other opportunities just from reputation. Building numbers on Instagram can become that valuable to you in all these areas as well.

How to Build an Audience

Before you started any account on social media, you should have identified who you want to reach. After creating a page on Instagram, and making a few posts, go search for users based on the keywords that are related to those that you are trying to reach. If I wanted to reach teens and young adults in summer in Florida, I would search people who checked in at the beaches, creeks, bars, movies, and malls.

Give to Get

Comment, share, and Love photos of users in your target demographic. Follow them in droves. Comment tons. Then increase the amount of photos that you share as you gain new followers. Always give, give, give to get.

Managing Instagram Photos

Prepare Instagram photos in batches. You are going to want to resize and crop them to square, and make sure that they are very sharp because the phone is going to take some of that away. I have also read of photographers suggesting to increasing contrast slightly before uploading. Photo editing software can be very slow in batch editing, so try IRFANVIEW to quickly resize, crop and make changes.

We suggest that you also start searching for popular keywords that are related to your images. When you post your image, add the keywords as a hashtag, and this will help more users to find your photos and follow your account. Instagram allows a max of 30 tags per photo.

TagsForLikes is a useful app for all Instagram users. It allows you to copy popular hashtags to your images fast and easy. (Click to Tweet!)

So What is Next?

So you have been giving to get, and you are sharing your great photos with searchable keywords. How do you turn that into business?

  1. You can sell images that you post on Instagram on stock websites
  2. You can use the comment section to drive traffic to your website
  3. You can use the comment section to drive traffic to a squeeze page and gain email addresses
  4. You can drive traffic to other social networks, such as a blog where you sell advertising
  5. You can advertise events or online workshops

Remember that for every time you sell, give far more. Give to get.

Other Ideas

Instagram also has video. Try filming short videos of your photography subjects as previews of your photo shoots.
Host Contests. You can give away items, such as gift cards to your fans to help drive your numbers up.
External Ads. When Instagram starts making you good money, you can drive traffic from Google, Facebook and Twitter by promoting an Instagram post with paid ads.

We would love to hear your stories! Leave us comments and tweet @yourbizallies

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