How to Organically Grow Your Instagram
Updated: Jun 14, 2020
I love the sound of free marketing, but free marketing on a platform completely based around imagery and aesthetics is a photographer's DREAM. Sound familiar? Yup, we're talking all things Instagram today!
Your username should be consistent across all platforms so people can find you easily. Be sure that your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc., all match! It should relate to your business and be sure that it’s easy to spell/search.
Pro Tip: A play on words is also really fun and memorable!
Humans like to see other humans! Putting a face to a name or business name will help you to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Headshots work well so you can see your face. Try to stay away from full-body photos, just because it’s hard to see the detail in such a small image.
This is the first thing people see in their search bar, and when they open up your profile it’s likely the first thing they’ll read. Be sure your name includes the name of your business, your own name, or the service you provide.
Throw in an emoji if that’s your vibe! Adding that bright colorful icon also helps increase the chances of someone clicking on your name in a search.
“Grace Jicha Photography”
“Tampa Wedding Photographer | Grace”
“Grace Jicha | Photography & Design”
Here’s your chance to let people know who you are, what services you offer and why they shouldn’t click out of your profile! Make sure that your bio is written in a voice that reflects your personality and branding.
Including a call to action, such as, “Book an appointment” or “Buy my presets” that leads to an external link can also help drive traffic to one of your other platforms.
Your website is the central hub of all that your brand is! It should serve as a place for potential clients to get a comprehensive view of what your business is, the services you offer, the pricing (optional), portfolio work and a way to get in touch with you. A strong website is key and can make or break whether a client decides to reach out to you.
Find Your Niche
Niching down is key in the Instagram game because people like to know what to expect when they see your posts. If they follow you for recipes and good eats, photos of your dog may not perform as well. Think about what you love, what you’re good at and what you do often. For me, photography is something I love and it’s something that comes naturally to me. I’ve always loved creating art, so building a business that involves all things creative, including photography, graphic design and writing, was the best fit for me.
Create Content Columns
Content columns will help you maintain consistency in both the images you post and the captions you write. It will help train your audience in knowing what to expect from your account/business when they see a post or story pop up on their feed.
Here’s how I do it: For the images I post to Instagram, my content columns are couples and wedding photos because that’s the audience I want to market to. A blogger’s may look more like outfit of the days, accessory detail shots and favorite product flat lays. Maintaining consistency in the content you post on your feed will instantly give viewers an idea of what you do and who you serve.
For my captions, my content columns are business/marketing tips and education, client stories (sharing the story of the couple in my photo), personal blog style chats and branding tips. There are a variety of topics I cover but they all reflect my branding as a photographer, writer and small business owner. I like to infuse my personality into every caption and I choose to really showcase who I am in my personal blog style captions where I share what’s going on in my life. My passion for storytelling comes through in the captions where I tell my client’s love stories, and I love sharing biz tips as well.
Write your captions like you’re chatting with a friend and telling them a story, offering advice or catching up. Instagram is full of other humans who value authenticity and seeing your true personality. People want to connect with other people, so remind them that there’s a human behind the business. Your captions should be written in a voice and tone that’s consistent with your branding including your bio, web copy and other social media platforms.
Story highlights allow you to expand on the information that you couldn’t fit into your bio. Use them as an opportunity to provide easily accessible information for potential clients. They’re also a way to connect with your clients on more of a personal level.
Including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) highlight can be really helpful, as well as an “About Me’ or “About the Biz.” Using highlight covers within the same color scheme can help make your feed look more cohesive. Using your branding colors in the highlight colors is a plus!
Posting stories also helps you to remain at the top of people’s feeds so they’re continually seeing your content, so use them daily for anything from business updates to what you’re having for lunch. The more your followers on board with you as a human, the more they’ll be on board with your brand.
More than 87% of my reach comes from hashtags. Yep, you read that right! So using targeted hashtags can be a complete game-changer when it comes to increasing your engagement and gaining more exposure.
Successful hashtags are both relevant and strategic.
The hashtags you use should…
Fall within your niche
Attract your ideal audience
Be relevant to the image (if you posted a photo of the beach, don’t hashtag it #snow)
Research the hashtags that are the most popular within your niche and your location. Using a mixture of frequently visited hashtags within your niche will help your post be seen and engaged with by your target audience while using hashtags for your location will help you reach a different audience that is within your region. I like to use a mixture of location-based hashtags, feature hashtags for accounts that feature photography similar to mine, and industry hashtags that are relevant to wedding vendors.
ENGAGEMENT + AUDIENCE
Interacting with your followers is just as important as producing high-quality content. If you’re not interacting with the people who support your work, your engagement rate will not increase, therefore the algorithm will not prioritize your posts and push them to the top of people’s feeds.
Follow the rule of 15
Spend 15 minutes before you post interacting with accounts on your home feed and within relevant hashtags, then spend 15 minutes directly after posting doing the same. Be sure to reply to the comments on your post as well as interact within the hashtags you used on the post. This shows IG that you’re an active user on their platform. It may also help new and presently active accounts find your post when you engage with their content within those 15-minute windows.
Attracting your ideal audience
Using relevant and popular hashtags will help new accounts find your content, but don’t just use them and dip. Take a few minutes each day to search those hashtags and spend time interacting with those posts. Be sure to also follow accounts within your niche.
I hope these Instagram Marketing tips were helpful! Social media is a great way to market your business, but it's definitely not everything. It can also be a huge breeding ground for comparison and falling into a "not good enough" mindset. If you find yourself less happy when scrolling through Instagram, it is 100% OKAY to take a break! Your business will be okay and you will still have the support of loyal clients and followers. Remember to take care of yourself :)
Keywords: Instagram Marketing, Instagram Growth, Photography Education, Getting Clients through Instagram, Social Media Marketing Tips, Growing as an influencer, IG Marketing