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Importance of Instagram for Photograhers

Lesson 13 from: Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

Colby Brown

Importance of Instagram for Photograhers

Lesson 13 from: Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

Colby Brown

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Lesson Info

13. Importance of Instagram for Photograhers

Next Lesson: Why Use Snapchat?


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Ages of the Internet


What is Social Media?


Social Media by the Numbers


How Social Media Changed the Photo Industry


Social Media Myths


Finding Value in Social Media


How does Noise Effect Social Media?


Lesson Info

Importance of Instagram for Photograhers

- [Colby] So, Instagram. So, this is the login page for Instagram. Again, Instagram is super important, it's something that I highly recommend that photographers are on. Most of the people, every single photographer, actually, that I talk to, for the six that I'll be featuring in this class or in this content when we do case studies tomorrow, say that Instagram is one of their most important, and I equal that sentiment. Instagram gets more interaction than all the other networks in terms of total numbers correlating with your followers. So, Instagram was created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. I never remember. And it was purchased by Facebook on April 9th, 2012, for 1 billion dollars. Two years later, it was a team of 12 people, they all got filthy rich. All the angel investors got filthy rich. And Instagram was purchased by Facebook because of, at the time, they were struggling with mobile. That was a really ingenious purchase, and has drastically shifted how Facebook hand...

les a lot of the stuff they're doing with mobile. But in terms of features, has also been quite beneficial to Instagram in terms of what features they've begin to offer people with things that are competitive, with things like Snapchat, and Instagram stories, and stuff like that. So their pockets are much deeper, and they're still growing. I believe it's at 500 million active monthly users, which is considered still pretty accelerated growth for the platform. Over 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day. Eighty percent of Instagram user is from outside the US. Just interesting to take note of, there's a lot of engagement, there's a lot of people out there that have millions of followers. And a lot of that engagement isn't necessarily correlating or coming from the United States. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just something to be aware of and it's something to understand in terms of the market demographics you might encounter. So, 60% of users log in daily. How many people here use Instagram? Raise your hands. How many people check it every day? Just about the same number of people. You too? It's good numbers. It's good numbers from a content producer's standpoint. So, 75% of people once they've seen an ad on Instagram, actually do something about it. I'm not necessarily saying they purchase something, but they might click through, they might check out the brand. That's important because you can now actually put ads on Instagram. I do quite a bit, well, every once in a while. Post that include another handle, a tag, receive 56% more engagement. So, when I sit there and post out, and I'm posting out about being here at CreativeLive. And I'm sit there and say, "Hey, I'm super excited to teach this class. I'm here in Seattle at the CreativeLive Studios," tag it, that post generally will get 56% more interaction rates than if I don't have the tag in. Now, there's some correlation, obviously, once you get certain higher follower numbers and certain higher engagement, I'm not going to see 5,000 interactions when I tag it, compared to what I normally see right now, which is around 3,000. But, there's still benefit to having to tagging other people in your shots. So, whether it's when you're sitting there and you're plugging the camera are you using or something else, the idea of tagging either another hub, the larger pages, or someone else, can be beneficial. So, don't fear it compared to Facebook, which penalizes you a lot of the time. Question, yes. - [Woman] Does that tag, does it make any difference if you're tagging the user in the post or in the caption? Does that make a difference? - It's a good question. So, well, I think what you mean, because in the post is the caption in Instagram. But I think what you mean is whether it's in the caption, or it's in the photo. Because in the photo, you can tag it. What I've generally found is that inside the caption is more beneficial. Now, inside the photo itself, because inside the photo, once you're uploading it, you get ability to tag certain other people that allow you to do that based on their own privacy situation. Can be great, and I use it quite extensively when I'm working with companies I'm doing marketing campaigns for, or sponsorships, or things like that, where I don't want to sit there and throw it out in terms of the actual posts, but I want them to know that I made this post. That makes sense. So, I tag it so that they know, but it's not necessary easily publicly found. If you hit on the photo, it's going to show you the tags are. But it's just a way to, kind of, save it a little bit. So, posts with locations receive 79% more engagement. So, when you're posting out and you're here in Seattle tag, and you're in CreativeLive, tag the location. Again, Instagram, Facebook, is trying to discover all sorts of information about its users. And when it can correlate things with location, that adds a level of trust and connection and all sorts of other stuff. So, when you can, try to tag the location of the stuff that you're posting about, even if you're not there. So, you're posting about a lake in Canada, and it's three months later, tag the lake if you can. Post with at least 1 hashtag average 12.6% more engagement. Hashtags on Instagram are quite important, along with tags, can be quite beneficial for you to get your content in front of a lot more people. And we're going to talk a little bit more about hashtags and tags in a second. Ninety percent of Instagram users are younger than 35. Again, it's a social platform that is for a younger generation, that's a lot of the people. That still means that there are 10% of 500 million people on daily that are part of a larger different demographic. Older, generally have more purchasing power if you're running a business. Again, important information to know. So, Instagram users have doubled in the last two years, and has continued to see extensive growth in terms of the network. Engagement is 10 times higher on Instagram than it is on Facebook. So, the sheer number of interactions that you're getting per post are generally 10 times higher than Facebook. Now, again, that correlates slightly drops down as your followers and your engagement increases. But, in general, it's pretty true. On Instagram right now, I average generally around 3,000 to 3,200 interactions per post, whereas on Facebook, I'm probably more, so 700 to 1000 on average, at least for photos. Average engagement per post has grown by a 416% over the last two years. It's continued to grow as more people get on, as they adjust their algorithms, and they reward the people that are, based on consistency, quality of work, vertical images, which we talked about and we'll talk about it again, all sorts of stuff. Photos get more engagement than videos in Instagram. And this is true, and it's really interesting because you can see when they're experimenting with stuff. So, when video first came to Instagram, I was in Iceland at the time. I was with some friends, and it was great because I knew it was coming. I waited to find internet, I downloaded the update to the app, they did at the same time as, I think, both Android and iOS at the time. And I use the Google phones. I got the video stuff, and then essentially started creating some pretty awesome videos because I was in Iceland, I mean, crazy beautiful waterfalls and all that stuff. And a lot of my posts, at the time, one of my followers were much less than they are now, I was getting 16,000 to 20,000 interactions per post because it was so new. And what happened is that, over time, as people kind of got used to that honeymoon session being over, it's dropped. And in Instagram itself has dropped quite drastically. Now, Instagram, what will happen when you post the video it's not going to give you the total number of engagements, it will give you the total views. And it still can be beneficial, so if you're making video stuff and you make a square format, as we were talking about before, I still recommend doing it. Just know that photos, in general, are more prevalent on Instagram. That's what the network was built around, the idea of sharing mobile photos. And now, it's, kind of, increased to, kind of, everything. So, regardless, videos aren't as popular as photos, but they can have value. Vertical images are preferred over horizontal images, we talked about that, post vertical images. Some of the people that we talked about. Jose Villa here, who is one of the wedding photographers that we talked about in our case studies, he uses Instagram as one of his main sources of marketing and it's his largest social platform. You'll be hard pressed to find a non-vertical photo from this individual. And the same thing goes for a lot of the other people, Chris Burkard, even myself, I can definitely see the engagement is different on vertical images compared not, because people can see more of what's happening, it's a bigger presentation. And in a visual median, that's important. So, my thoughts on Instagram, again, I think everyone should be there. I didn't really mention it, but I think it's important to say that, now, Instagram allows you to create a business page. And all that really does is you confirming saying, "Hey, I'm okay with this." And at that point, you get insight, which means that you get some of the statistics, it's not nearly as detailed as Facebook, but you get something. And then you have the ability to create ads within Instagram itself. So, you can't boost post the same way that you can with Facebook, you can't boost an Instagram post, but you can turn a post into an ad to link out to something, or to get something, to purchase a product, or something like that. So I converted mine over the day it came out, I'm a big fan of it. If business-minded stuff or the idea of ever pushing out ads or something like that is something that's interested to you, then I recommend creating it into an Instagram business page. Hashtags are important, so I think that everyone should use hashtags, and we'll talk about it in a second, some of the tips and tricks. Call-to-actions also work quite heavily in Instagram, helps kind of continue to spur that engagement, that idea of creating a larger, more favorable profile. But overall, Instagram is again a place. If you had to pick two platforms to be on, to this day, it hasn't changed all that much in the last five years, Facebook and Instagram. Question, yes. - I know you mentioned having an Instagram business account, what are your thoughts on mixing business posts with personal posts? I know there are some photographers they say the same thing, "I am my brand. I want my clients to know who I am and what my daily life is like. I also want them to know my content." So I just wanted to get your feedback on that. - Yeah, good question. The question is about consistency. And while the question was brought up with Instagram, it kind of correlates to a lot of stuff. I think brand personality is huge when it comes to business. And I think that, yes, there are benefits to be advantageous, to let people into their lives, to become part of your own brand, if that's the direction you want to go. My problem is that the contrast of content sometimes is too great. So, if you're using Instagram like Jose was, we go back really quick, to showcase all this stuff. And all of a sudden, you see a picture of his dog in here, what value does that have? Probably not a lot. So, again, as we talked about it before and I can't remember it was while we're talking here or at another point. But essentially, the idea that there needs to be some sense of connectivity to it. And if not, if it's too much contrast, then what I recommend having is having two different pages. So, again, for me, on Facebook, I have my business page, which I like to be friendly and ask questions and engaging, and I'll share personal stuff, but it's more personal thoughts rather than personal content. And I have my personal page, which allows me to share whatever I want to, but I'm also going to use it to talk about business stuff. And what's happened on Instagram is a lot of photographers, now, are starting to create second pages specifically for the behind-the-scenes stuff. So, like Chris Burkard, again, we'll talk about him. He has a second page which is called Burkgnar, as I guess, Ragnarok and Viking stuff, because both of us have a love of Iceland. And that is behind the scenes stuff because his regular profiles is so large, has 150,000 followers just on his behind-the-scenes stuff. Because people want to engage with that personality, they want to know the behind the scenes of the stuff, his content he's creating. So, I think if there is some correlation, you can get away with it, but for the most part, the contrast is generally too drastic. And again, I don't want to be looking at your Instagram followers or your Instagram pages and be wowed by the work that I'm seeing. And all of a sudden, you are, again, showing me pictures of a leaf in your coffee, or something out like that, that to me is noise. And it's going to be noise to your clients, to a lot of them depending on the work that you're doing. So, for my clients, it would be noise. Maybe you're a wedding photographer and there's some aspects of that, or if you're a food photographer, obviously, then there's correlation. Then you're like, "Please, show me your coffee?" That's cool, but, I think, for a lot of people, the consistency is too much. So, if there's too much contrast between the type of content you're trying to do, to have a personal brand, then you need to have some sense of separation. So, tips for building your audience. A, again, self-explanatory, everyone should understand this, post visually stunning images. And the images should be vertical. Vertical images on Instagram, specifically. You can post the other ones, I do every once in a while. And the way the order goes with Instagram, for value in terms of the engagement you get, vertical's number one, square is number two. And if you absolutely have to, and I don't recommend that you do, you can do the horizontal ratio, which still can be fine. Obviously, it's going to be seen, it's just that it's going to be much smaller on people's screens that are viewing it, and generally gets a decent amount less engagement. Usually, for me, that can be upwards of 25% less. So, vertical, visually stunning images. Track the attention of larger Instagram pages. Now, these can be pages that are like the hubs, where they're curating other people's content. It could be other companies, CreativeLive has a good Instagram following. So, I can sit there and try to get the attention of CreativeLive and say, "Hey, maybe you guys can repost this and tag me in it." This, by itself, right here, the idea of both hashtags and getting the attention of other bigger pages is one of the surest ways to grow your Instagram following the fastest. Now, some of these hubs might actually charge you. I think it's actually illegal according to Instagram's terms and services, I've never actually done it. But there are still benefits of reaching out. And what you'll do, what you'll need to do is to do some research. Do some market research and sit there and say, "Okay, what type of content are you trying to share." So, for me, it's landscape stuff. So, I'm going to go on, I'm going to look through the discovery page on Instagram, and I'm going to see what is being shared by the viral, the bigger hubs. And each of them generally have hashtags, so that means I'm going to include those hashtags into a posts. And to answer your question about hashtags, if you're going to include hashtag into your caption of your post on Instagram, make it one or two. Maybe three if you absolutely have to, but one or two. And then, what I do and a lot of other photographers do, is that we will have a copy and paste ready of 15 different hashtags that we think is important to the type of content that we're sharing, and that's going to go into our first comment. So, it doesn't show up into your actual page, it doesn't look like you're sitting there and saying, "Hey, cool photo of fireworks over this van, #40Things." No one wants to see that, so you hide it inside the comments as your first comment, because you're going to post it, and you're going to be the first one that's going to be able to sit there and go into your comments and make it. And then, you get the benefit of its still adding the search value to you, so that other people are checking out hashtags to discover new content, that'll be helpful, but you're not getting penalized from a visual standpoint. So the people that are looking at your stuff and being like, "Why is this dude hashtaging 20 things every time he posts?" It's okay to do it, just tuck it away a little bit. But yes, attracting the bigger pages, post big stuff, super important. Experimenting with posting more than once a day. Instagram is one of the places where I feel that you can post more than once a day. Now, generally, that doesn't mean 10 times, but I would experiment with doing twice. Some of the bigger content places, the bigger hubs that have amassed millions of followers, they can do three to five. But for me, generally, I am generally sticking to one, I'm going to continue to experiment. I might start doing two soon because I'd like to hit different demographics different times of the day. And if you give enough hours in between the two, you've already reached saturation point for most of those interactions. So, we talked about the interactions on each of these different platforms in terms of longevity of content. Then you might be hitting people that are obviously asleep or have gone away or checking out different things. And so, that way, your posts aren't hitting into each other. But I recommend experimenting with posting more than once a day if you have enough content. Follow engage with other active users with similar styles. Again, like a lot of other platforms, the more you engage with other people, the more people might check out your stuff. The more your followers might increase, the more engagement increases, the more the algorithms help you out, it's all a big cycle. Utilize Instagram Stories. Right now, Instagram is promoting the idea of Instagram Stories, which is their Snapchat challenging feature. And the more that you do it, I generally found that engaged rates increase in terms of the reach of your actual normal content. So, if you're posting out stuff on your Instagram Stories, which are essentially small, I believe it's 10-second clips that you can post. It will live for 24 hours and then they disappear. So, if I do an Instagram Story right now, that's going to die 24 hours from now. But if I do an Instagram Story in two hours to kind of continue along that story of content being connected, that next post won't die until 24 hours from then. So, it will last two hours longer at least from right now, if that makes any sense and isn't too confusing. But the idea is that you're sharing some backstory. I use it sometimes, especially use it when I'm traveling around the world and working in my projects, and there's behind-the-scenes stuff to talk about that's engaging, for a lot of us, that's not the reality. So, pure bits-and-pieces of what it's like processing your work or ask questions out there, figure out ways to engage your audience that appeals to your current situation and what you're trying to get into. Don't necessarily not do it just because you don't feel that your daily life isn't the most interesting thing in the world. Because, to be honest, it probably isn't, most of ours isn't, but there's ways that you can make it interesting. So, utilizing Instagram Stories will help spur the reach of a lot of your stuff while Instagram is still promoting that internally.

Ratings and Reviews

Giles Rocholl

This course is designed to help you develop a Social Media strategy if you are Photographer. I am a professional photographer with over 37 years of experience and although I know how to use Facebook and Instagram I didn't really understand how to use them to achieve business and personal goals. I started watching this course about 2 months ago and have just finished it due to work commitments. However I have put into practice his advice as I learnt new understanding and my following has grown rapidly. Also my work load and quality of assignment has increased dramatically too. It takes some brain rewiring to understand how social media has taken the place of many traditional media streams but Colby does an excellent job of painting a picture that helps hugely. The best thing about Colby's strategy is that it is real life, honest and something I feel I can personally and ethically live with happily. I happily endorse this course and recommend it.

Beatriz Stollnitz

I was very lucky to be in the audience for this class. Colby is an incredible instructor - he has the rare combination of being successful, knowledgeable and talented, but at the same time down to earth, approachable and genuinely willing to help others succeed. The content presented is actionable - I have so many ideas of things that I can do right now that can help my online presence! I can't wait to get started!

Rob Lettieri

I learned a few things I never knew...especially the whole inside scoop on LinkedIn....who knew??? Easy to listen to....a lot of deflection to later answers to questions...which would have made a director allow for less...why ask if you cant answer just then....and he says every question is a "great question" but it clearly isn't in a few credibility goes down...I understand positive enforcement for the millennials...but every question is not great. otherwise easy to follow and straightforward....

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