Before we start talking about how to do Instagram, I really wanna start talking about why Instagram, and why social media in general. Why is it important at all? So when you look at social media, you see that about 63% of social media posts are made up of images, so because Instagram is an image-centric network, it's really well-poised to do well. So one of the biggest benefits of social media, Instagram in this case, is that it really helps to amplify the reach of your work. And in talking about this, I actually really wanna tell this story about my father. This screenshot here is of a post that I made on my own Instagram account. It's a photo that I took a few years ago of my father's hand, and in the photo he's holding one of his drawings that he's done. He's been an artist for his entire life, basically. He started drawing as a kid in school, and has been sort of like, head down on paper ever since. So he's in his 70s now, so he's been an artist for probably over 60 years, he's bee...
n a career artist, so that's all he's really done in his career. He was also a teacher, as well, an art teacher, because we all know that it's not easy to make a living as a creative. So in any case, he has been an artist for probably over 60 years. I took this photo of him and his art, and I put it on my Instagram account, and I showed him, at a certain point, when it had reached something like 6,000 likes, and he was just floored by this. So he said to me, I had never really, I think you get really jaded after a while, you start to not really pay attention to what this all means and sort of like the larger implications of it. But my dad said to me, he said, the number of people who have liked your photo, 'cause not everybody who sees it likes it, so it's not even the number of people who've seen it, but the number of people who have liked your photo is greater than the number of people who have ever seen my work in my entire career all put together, which was like, mind-blowing to me. I had never really thought about it. Here's my father, who's been doing this for 50 or 60 years, he's been teaching year after year of students who've come through his class, and he's been having gallery shows, he didn't do them throughout his whole career, but he had gallery shows around the world. And my one Instagram post reached more people than his entire career as an artist did? That's just incredible to me, and the more I think about it, the more it makes me wanna take a step back and like, rethink about how I'm using the platform. Instagram, then, can really also serve as your long-term active portfolio. It helps you network with other artists and potential clients. It helps you really build relationships, of course. So once people get to know who you are, they build that relationship with you, and then in turn, it results in brand loyalty. Who are we gonna hire? We're gonna hire this photographer we know and like that we see on Instagram every day. Or whose jewelry are we gonna buy? A lot of jewelry starts to look the same after a while. There's a lot of styles that are kind of overlapping, but maybe I'm gonna follow the person who has that cute dog who also happens to make jewelry, 'cause I've connected on that level. So you're really building relationships with people. It also enables you to reach new audiences and stay fresh for old audiences. So the same sort of thing, just like, stay on top of everyone's mind. Not every day is somebody gonna hire you as a photographer, because they don't have that need. But you want to be the first photographer, or one of the first people that they think of, when they do need to hire a photographer. It's very, very cost effective advertising if you have a business, and it really provides invaluable user data, and that comes into play when we start looking at insights and analytics that Instagram has to offer. The last thing that it's really great for is social listening, and this is really important for small businesses. And really, social listening is basically, you're hearing and seeing how your product and your brand is doing in the real world. So it's a great way to know how your business is performing in the real world, and to hear about what people are saying about you or your work, your business, and you can make adjustments as necessary. So if things are going really well, by all means, keep doing what you're doing. Do more of that. But if things go poorly and people start talking about it and it starts kind of coming back to you that this is sort of the reputation that you have online, then that's maybe time to change what you're doing. And I should take a step back, I forgot to mention that this is really, this whole course is not just for creatives and photographers, but also it's really great for people who run small businesses, because of course, most of us who are photographers, we're running our own businesses.