Show of hands… Are you frustrated with Instagram?

Yah, me too.

And, we are not alone!

Instagram is constantly changing the game, making it harder and harder for our content to be seen organically which is, of course, frustrating since many of us rely on the platform to fill our calendars.

I’ve compiled a few of my fav helpful Instagram tips for you:

1.Plan your content out ahead of time
We are photographers so we have it pretty good compared to other creatives who need to figure out how to get or create content. We have beautiful content already at our fingertips so putting the work in ahead of time and scheduling it shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
Apps like Planoly make it even easier to get content auto-posting! Scheduling your Instagram makes it so much easier to have a solid Instagram marketing strategy, but that’s not to say that you can’t also post manually if something comes up that you hadn’t planned. It’s there to help your content plan — not restrict it!

2. Pick the right Hashtags
Take your fav hashtags, head to the little search bar within the app and let’s see how your fav tags level up.
I’m going to go ahead and look up #marketing. #marketing has a whopping 31.5 million posts! That’s a bit much… There is no way that my one post in a sea of literally millions will be seen so there is no way that I am going to bother wasting one of my 30 tags on that post. BUT, look a bit deeper, if you use #marketingstrategy, there are only 1.5 million posts… still a lot but a big difference! If you take a look at all the suggested tags Instagram shows you under #marketing, you can get a real clear picture of the different options that you have. #marketingstrategies only has 116k posts and #marketingideas only has 180k. My advice is to choose hashtags that are somewhere between 50k-500k ideally, or at the very most 4million is my max.

You don’t need to use all 30 hashtags. Research has shown that 11 hashtags are the golden number.
If you’re a photographer who wants to stay in your city and not travel much, use local hashtags such as #fortpierce #florida. If you’re a traveling photographer and hosting a workshop in a new city, start to use those cities hashtag ahead of your travels.

I also love using Hubhack for hashtags! Hubhack gives organized theme hashtags delivered straight to you every day. All you have to do is copy/paste their hashtag lists and go ahead and use them.

3. Build a Story
Don’t just tell a story. It’s easy to just tell a single story in a single post and yes, it will get engagement because your audience wants to hear from you authentically but take it a bit further and build a story over several posts. Building a story keeps your audience coming back for more, they want to hear the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Keeping your audience engaged, interested and waiting for more will keep them from unfollowing you, it will build authenticity, it will build a genuine connection between you and your following. The ideal story takes 5-10 posts or stories.  If stories aren’t your thing, you can still keep the connection by incorporating microblogs into your posts. What is a microblog? Simply, a mini blog post in your captions. Imagine if we took this blog post and divided the tips up into 5 different Instagram posts? Each tip will be a post that builds unto the next post.

4. Engage Engage Engage!
This should be a no brainer by now. Social media is meant to be social. Respond to every single comment that is left on your posts. Leave comments on other peoples posts, respond to their stores, answer the polls out there, send DM’s and say hello to others and wish them a great day. My Project Manager Noella has a great freebie on her site to help you build an authentic following by engaging, check it out HERE.

5. Look at your Insights.
There are two places that you can look at your Insights, one is your overall account insights and the other is your individual posts insights. Both are equally valuable!

I use my overall insights to give me information like knowing when my audience is taking actions on my profile, like visiting my profile, clicking into my website or sending me emails. Knowing what days are the most active, can help me pick and choose what days to schedule content. I also love knowing the age range of my following and where they live.

Post insights are what I look at the most though. I will compare different posts to see how many people interacted on that post, how many people followed me because of it and how many people my post reached. Every once in awhile I will click into maybe 10 images and compare them. What type of posts had the best interaction? Was it that family beach session or the indoor boudoir session? Knowing this information can help provide my following with more of what they want to see!

TIP: Want to calculate your engagement rate? Use this formula: likes + comments ÷ no. of followers x 100!

Still want more? Download my E Book, to learn the 3 Marketing Mistakes Every Photographer Needs to Avoid!