By Dorian Martin
If you want to achieve your goals and find success on Instagram, you already know how competitive the market is. The competition is fierce, and the barriers to entry are relatively low: even beginner photographers with a decent camera can find their tribe on Instagram. New phones have great cameras, and it’s not so easy to notice the difference because of the picture size on the phone screen. That’s why it’s important to resort to some out-of-the-box methods to expand your audience, methods that your competitors might not be using yet.
In order to gain traction and start climbing the success leader, you’ll have to combine the talent you have for photography and marketing skills. We get it – your passion is photography, and you might not be as interested in social media marketing. Still, this segment of doing art is now essential for modern photographers. You need to know and learn how to sell your work.
We did the research online in order to find the best tips for you, and those findings are available for you below. Use some of these tips for a fresh look at your Instagram marketing approach.
1. Start with Why
If you want to achieve fulfillment in any activity you perform, you should know why you are doing it. We don’t want to say that your road to success will be easier if you know why you’re dedicating time and effort to your passion. That would be an understatement. What we can say for sure, your struggles will be easier to overcome once you know why you’re doing it.
Friedrich Nietzsche famously stated, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” or in shorter terms, “Why can bear any how.”
Everyone is different, and we’re not advising you to put this 1st tip as a must on your list. After all, many people are confused about what they want to do and how they want to do it. Don’t let these philosophical questions paralyze you from doing actual work: Every. Single. Day.
You can enjoy your journey even without thinking too much about The Why, but if there’s any doubt in your mind whether you should do it or not, in that case, you’ll have to think about The Why in depth.
Start with why if you want to someday have as many followers as Daniel Seung Lee.
2. You Should Be Different
If we look at Instagram as a product, we could say it’s in the maturity phase right now. Instagram now has more than a billion users, and out of these billion users, there are many famous and influential people out there.
If you want to succeed, you have to look at your future journey from the marketing perspective as well.
If you decide to publish your content randomly and your work in a way that makes you a generic type of content publisher where you’re trying to please everyone, your chances of success are not great.
Estelle Liotard, a writer, editor, and content marketing expert at EssaySupply, says, “When we work with an Instagram creator on their new content marketing strategy, we always encourage them to think outside the traditional concept of what works on Instagram. By definition, true trendsetters are people who try new things and offer something different from the mainstream. That’s what every photographer should aim for on their Insta pages.”
On the other hand, if you decide to be different, you’ll have to either recognize your own skills or define what skills you want to learn.
Even after you recognize your skills, you have to continue improving them. Luckily, nowadays, there are many resources to choose from, and you won’t have to set aside too much financial resource to deepen your knowledge and skills.
The next step is to choose your niche, the type of work you want to create. Here, you want to be different, as well. Since you’re doing photography, this is not a “job,” especially if you’re doing it on your own. It’s a passion, and you should treat it that way. Choose the subject you’re in love with, and the rest will follow.
The more precisely you define your niche, the greater your chance for success is. For example, if you like nature, you have to narrow your selection even more. Do you like to photograph mountains or rivers? Do you want to photograph plants or animals?
Whatever you choose, make it as narrow as possible. Intuitively, it seems that if you target “the general audience,” you will find success more easily, but in reality, that type of non-niche content gets drowned in the noise.
3. Choose Your Audience and Interact With It
Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to always attract the audience, you have an option to choose one even if you’re not aware of it at the moment. Marketers always talk about attracting an audience like gaining followers is always a good thing. However, if you fill up your page with non-relevant followers (who won’t engage with your content), you’re not doing yourself a favor in the long run.
Everything you do on Instagram will determine the type of audience that will follow you later on. By choosing whom to follow, with whom to connect, the subject of your work, you’re indirectly choosing your audience.
Now, if you’re strictly thinking about your success in business terms, the way you choose your audience will make a great impact on everything you do afterward. Your work makes this process easier for you. If you’re only driven by your passion, your work will choose the audience.
On the other hand, if you’re business-driven, you might think about the audience first and base everything else upon this decision. By choosing your audience, you’re deciding on its overall size, budget, the potential for growth, and many other things.
That’s why the first step, “Why,” is so important. It helps you determine how much you want to anchor your work to profit and measurable success and how much you just want to enjoy your hobby.
Whichever road you take, you have to interact with your audience. Make sure to do it from the heart, in a sincere and caring way, because that will be felt and recognized. Those small details are actually not small at all. They could be a game-changer for you.
If we take one similar industry, the game-streaming industry, for comparison, we might recognize why it’s so important to interact with your audience in a sincere way. Be authentic!
Everyone can stream games, but only a few succeed in interacting with the audience and keep them on their channel for a long time. Why? Because they are different, honest, and sincere. The audience responds to honesty and authenticity more than anything else.
When it comes to communication, these things matter a lot.
4. Details Are #GameChangers
When you’re posting your photo, make sure not to use generic hashtags. This is the part related to choosing your audience. You need to dedicate enough time to do it right.
One great example of a popular hashtag can be found below, dedicated to #landscapeLovers
When you receive messages to your inbox, choosing to answer, and how to answer is very important. Are you going to write “Thank you” to everyone, or you’re going to focus and dedicate the time and attention to read the message and answer?
If you want to improve your skills, you should reach out, communicate, and follow other photographers. There is always something new to learn, and on top of that, you can increase your following base by quite a margin with reciprocity.
While you’re browsing and looking at your own feed, notice the small details that you like from other Insta creators. You can pick up some cool ideas for Instagram stories, highlights, captions, and much more. This doesn’t imply copying what someone else is doing but simply finding tiny trinkets of inspiration on the network.
5. Quality Over Quantity
You should take great care and pride in your work. Only publish the best work on your profile. You should post regularly, and that’s definitely advice that applies to every photographer, but if you don’t have a great photo to share with your audience, it’s better not to post anything rather than posting some random, below-average-quality photo.
Every action and every minute of your time you invest will pay off in the end. Everything has its value, especially in the long term. You might get away with one bad photo, but the real danger is if you turn it into a habit.
If you accept average quality the second time, it’s already a habit.
Now, when we’re talking about average work or bad quality, it’s important to emphasize what we mean by that. If you’re not satisfied with a photo, if you’ve done it in a sluggish way and you still decide to post it, that’s what we mean by average or bad.
If you post something you regard as good, but you receive bad comments from your audience, that’s not average or bad. That’s called a mistake, a learning process, and you didn’t mean to do it. It’s called authenticity.
6. Choosing Your Location
Instagram connects more than a billion people, and you might have a goal to reach all of them. We already talked about the importance of choosing your niche.
You can choose your niche by choosing the type of work you do, by choosing your audience, or even by choosing the way you do things.
Choosing your location might help you a lot to achieve success.
For example, if the subject of your work is weddings, this step is crucial.
Even if you want to photograph nature, by choosing the location, you are choosing the language, as well. It will be easier for you to interact with your audience in a more authentic way.
In the end, by choosing your location, you’re choosing your competition at the same time. It’s much easier to succeed in a defined location compared to having the whole world as your competition.
7. Keep Improving, Keep Learning
In this modern day and age, knowledge is not expensive. There are many resources available at your disposal to learn online.
Starting from free YouTube channels, through inexpensive courses all the way to hiring an expensive mentor, you have so many options to choose from.
The most important part is to be focused and aware of these options and to keep one eye open to watch everything that’s happening on the market. You should be aware of the new trends, technologies, and equipment.
Only in this way, it’s possible to keep up with the fast pace of this online industry.
Instagram is a highly competitive platform and, in order to succeed, one has to know where to start. The best way to start is to find your own why. Any question of how will be answered by your own and intrinsic why.
It’s important to be consistent, never quit, and always keep learning and improving your skills. As a photographer, it’s really important to learn marketing skills in order to succeed on any platform online.
By combining these two fields, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage, which should make your road to achieving your dreams a lot easier.
The most important advice of them all is to never quit.
Dorian Martin is a professional writer, editor, and blogger. He started his writing career doing coursework writing help, and now he’s writing what he is passionate about – digital marketing, PR, and business development.