Last Updated on 05/02/2017 by Chris Gampat
Instagram: if you can name another social media platform that pisses off photographers as much I’d be shocked. But the truth is that lots of photographers seem to focus highly on Instagram vs Facebook or Twitter; and sometimes for obvious reasons. However, it’s not easy to figure it out. So here are some insights and tips that you may not have known or noticed as of May 2017.
The Mentality Behind Separating Your Personal and Professional
Instagram has two options for your account: professional or personal. Pro accounts get stuff like analytics. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Instead, what we’re talking about is being more careful about the stuff you post. Lots of photographers will go about sharing moments from their personal lives vs the professional work they’re trying to do. And if you’re trying to simply build an account to get sponsorships due to being a social media influencer, then fine. But otherwise, who cares about the shrimp you had last night? We instead care about the great photos you’re creating if we’re following you.
For example, you wouldn’t follow David Allen Harvey to see the moments from his family life. But you’d instead most likely follow him because of his fantastic work and the zine that he’s working on. So for that reason, he’s feeding the channel with that type of content.
You Should Probably Cull Who You Follow
Situation: you’re going through your feed and on your professional account you may have followed another account that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your account’s purpose. But you like it anyway. What that means is that you’re telling Instagram the type of content that you want to see and interact with in the future.
So be honest, did you double tap on that McRib from McDonalds from your professional account? This is sometimes the reason why a lot of accounts don’t follow anyone else.
Stories Affect What You See First in Your Feed
If you look at the way that Instagram stories are presented, they’re not necessarily in chronological order. It’s partially based on which ones you actually watch and interact with. Those ones are designed to come up more often than other accounts. So then the question is, how do you use this to your advantage?
It’s fairly simple: start doing more stories. The Phoblographer gets sometimes more traffic from Instagram than we do Twitter via Instagram stories.
Interaction With Followers: Is It Overrated?
There’s the idea of Instagram pods: which is basically like a group for Instagram who symbiotically helps one another grow through interaction. Does it work? Well, not totally. If you’ve got an account that’s small, it may help a bit. But if you’re over a certain amount of followers, it probably won’t be as effective. But even inciting your followers to interact with the content you put out on Instagram sometimes isn’t always the most rewarding experience. Some of our posts have well over 40 comments and conversations back and forth but they don’t always work out.
To that end, unless you’re tagging a curator channel or someone pertinent to the content shared, I recommend not tagging a channel or account to begin with. Those channels sometimes get tagged in hundreds of images. Ours does, but we share original content vs what a lot of other publications do: which is sharing user content.
What Works For Your Channel May Not Be Part of Your Identity
Lastly, with all of this said, what works for your channel may not work for your photography company’s identity. You can try as hard as you can to have something work for you as a street photographer, but it may just not work with your followers. Again, this all ties back into what we were talking about throughout the piece. Example: if you’re a portrait photographer, then certain types of portraits may be more successful for you on Instagram vs others.
Perhaps you can use this to shape where your account goes.