It's Time to Conquer Instagram
Hi Everyone! It’s an honor to be writing on The Daily Bustle!
My name is Anna McNaught and I am the founder of The Liked Photo – a site for photography and growing your Instagram. And if there’s one thing that I love, it’s Instagram!
Using Instagram to get the most out of your brand can be a challenge. We deal with the struggle of finding engaged followers, targeted hashtags, monetization and that’s just the start of it. I’m here to make Instagram a whole lot easier for you and your brand. Whether you are running a personal page, a business page, or a page for a client, these tips are sure to help you ace that Instagram game!
Instagram has over 500 million monthly users and growing. That’s a lot of people to make an impression on! Just as when you meet someone new, your page’s first impression should be your best. So ask yourself, how can I be different and unique? What is your personal style that you can bring to your page to make it stand out from others while still being “on brand”? These are critical questions to ask yourself before getting started.
Getting Set Up
Profile Name: Something that I recommend to clients is adding a niche or location after your name. This has a similar effect as SEO in Google and will “rank” you if someone searches for that word. For example, my Instagram says, Anna McNaught | Photography
Bio: You want to tell your story here but you want it to be short and to the point. Small bits of information are even better such as your location, your business email, a brief advertisement, a webinar or course annulment, etc. I like to start each of these with an emoji about the subject (email emoji in front of my business email)
URL: This is the only active link allowed on your whole page (Instagram might be changing this soon) So keep it up to date and active based on your current promotion.
Contact & Business Accounts: you may have noticed that some accounts have a contact button next to the ‘following’ button. This happens when an account is set up as a business account. If you have a Facebook page, you can enable your Instagram business account in your settings. This will also allow you to track ‘Insights’ to see best performing posts based on, time, the location of viewers, and gender. This is huge! I don’t use a third party app to track my Instagram (for some people it’s a good idea), but this little feature gives me everything I need to understand my audience. Business accounts allow you to do promotions separate from Facebook ads for a lower cost but still in very targeted segments.
Establishing Your Brand
In addition to each photo standing on its own, your Instagram page should have a cohesive look and feel. The faster you develop that page "theme" and style, the faster it will grow.
Color Scheme: within your theme, you’ll want to stick to a color scheme. Some people choose between warm and cool colors, dark or bright, etc. Make sure that this fits your personal style and feels comfortable. You can always re-brand, but it’s good to start with a look that you are happy with. I found that I really like cool tones and editing my photos heavily with blues and purples with occasional bursts of warmer tones.
Editing: Sometimes people forget the importance of editing and being consistent with your edits. If you are using Instagram filters, try to stick with 2 or 3 that represent your brand and color scheme. If you aren’t using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to edit your photos, I highly recommend downloading a third party app instead of editing in Instagram. I love Snapseed. It’s easy to use and gives clean, professional looking edits.
Growing Your Instagram
Hashtags: I know that hashtags can look tacky, and people sometimes refuse to use them, but they are one of the easiest and fastest ways to get brand recognition and grow your account. The key here is to use targeted hashtags within your niche. Spend some time researching hashtags and create a collection of the best ones in your phone notes. Make one note with 30 hashtags and one note with a second set of 30 hashtags – totaling 60 hashtags. To use 60 hashtags, follow this order:
1. Post your photo with a caption – NO HASHTAGS
2. COMMENT on your photo with the first group of 30. I like to preface mine with the • character. It would look like this:
3. Click ‘Edit’ on your photo and add the second group of hashtags below your caption, again using • to separate it from the caption. This is where I also put “Blog link in bio! @annamcnaughty” Adding your username here gets people back to the top of your page where your link is. Make sure that you do it in this order or Instagram will give you an error message!
Tips From a Photographer
Here are tips that I found to work well on Instagram. These apply to any niche and will give your page a cohesive look!
• Post Vertically and don’t crop to a square – use all the space that Instagram is giving you!
• Be mindful of “posting times” the best is morning and evening based on your timezone
• Use insights and analytics to learn more about your audience
• Get creative and don’t be afraid to be yourself!
• Ask questions in your captions to engage with you audience
• Use your IG story to share your day or behind the scenes
• Reach out to people that you look up to. Give compliments, do a collaboration, or work together
• Always respond to comments – Don't just “like” your comments
• Don’t be spammy – there’s nothing I hate more than a comment that says, 'Follow me!' Talk to me like a real human, and I’ll probably check out your page.
• Don’t buy followers or likes or participate in black hat marketing! it will eventually come back to haunt you.
My last bit of advice, keep photographing, posting, sharing and engaging. It’s easy to get discouraged but remember, it takes time and commitment to organically grow an authentic Instagram page. Sure it’s easy to buy followers or get discouraged when you see your business competitor with hundreds of thousands of followers, but this is YOUR journey. And someday when you reach success, it will feel a whole lot better to know that you did it on your own and you should be extremely proud of that!
Thanks so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed learning about conquering instagram!
If you would like to learn more about growing your Instagram or photography, head over to www.thelikedphoto.com or check me out on Instagram @annamcnaughty
XO | Anna McNaught