Julie Wilmes is an elopement photographer for those who live their lives to the fullest, love emotion, and believe in the deep power of marriage. For those who don't always follow tradition and want to forge their own path. For those who are honest, raw, vibrant and fearless.
For small businesses today, social media is vital. It’s how we stay connected with each other, grow and learn about many businesses so why not take advantage of it? Clients will gladly talk about you, if you give them a good reason to! And creating a community around each other and your brand is another sure fire way to grow your business and your reach. Although Facebook helps a ton with reaching out to my clients, I really have gravitated to Instagram because it is at it’s most basic, about photography. The great difference between Instagram and Facebook is that even though you have so many followers on Facebook, not everyone sees your posts (thanks to Facebook’s algorithm) but with Instagram, if you can get them to follow you, they will see your posts! So here are some tips and tricks for creating an amazing community with Instagram.
Create Great Content
This is most important because if your feed is lacking, people will not be as quick to follow and network with you. You can create great content by focusing on the photos you take and the captions you put into photo itself. By creating something that people can connect with, they will want to talk more with you! I know when I see someone post about something about adoption, rose gold, film, Doctor Who, or #totewell, my heart swells and I have to join in on the conversation!
Your caption is also so important because its where you have the chance to hook your followers in and encourage them to comment! Small captions are great, longer ones are better but you don’t want them to be too long! Instagram is about visual content, but captions are just as important, especially if the photo needs some explaining. Try to keep your caption within your branding and expand upon it!
Only use hashtags for good, but make sure to use them!
Nothing annoys your followers more than when there are too many hashtags in your caption but without hashtags, you can’t expect to grow your reach! It’s a necessary evil but if you can learn how to use them properly, you’ll find yourself getting more engaging followers and therefore a bigger community. The main thing I’ve found is to either have NO hashtags in the caption, one or two is okay but I tag my photos in a comment after I post the image to my feed. With that I can do several tags and not worry about people being quite as annoyed; as they tend to scroll, read the caption, like the photo and move on. Also, tagging in places where your ideal client will be is a great idea! I tag in #jcrew, #totewell, #doctorwho and #tattoos all of the time because I not only enjoy those things, but my clients do too so I want to reach out to them! If something I’m posting falls into those categories, I will tag them!
I also have tags that I use all of the time and I’ve noticed people mentioning them when we’re hanging out, for instance people talk about my #jumer365, #jumertravels and #princesssupernova all of time because I tag them so often, it’s given us a good baseboard to talk about the things we have in common!
Engage with others!
This is one of the most important tips I have, if you want others to engage with you, then return the favour! Either mention them in a comment, comment on their photos or tag them in something you think they may like. Be honest, genuine and thoughtful with your comments because people can see right through you if you’re being fake.
Mix Up Personal and Professional Posts
I say this because I have one account that covers my business and my personal life, since my business is so ingrained in my life I decided that one account was perfect. You may want them separate and that’s fine too but if you choose to do like I did, then be sure to mix it up because people don’t just want to see work or just personal posts. If you’ve listed yourself as a photographer, they expect to see work! There are a few schools of thought on accounts; there are corporate accounts (think Target or @targetdoesitagain), there are accounts that mix it up with personal and professional photos (like mine) and there are just personal accounts. Whatever you decide to do, keep it in that line of thought. By showing a mixture of posts, I’m giving them a better view of my life, and people love looking into your life!
For example, when looking at my Instagram Page, I tell you that I’m an Elopement Photographer and Graphic Designer from the Dallas, Texas area. I have three dogs, a ginger for a husband, and I love Doctor Who and Adoption. There is a mix of my personal life (date nights, traveling photos, my dogs) and my professional life (weddings, portraits, design work). By having this up, potential clients can get a quick view of who I am and the quality of my work.
I hope this helps a little bit when it comes to starting to grow your instagram reach and creating a community around your brand and bringing in more ideal clients! Instagram is where it’s at these days and I can only see it growing from here 🙂 Let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks for instagram!