Question: if you were given a free billboard to market your business, would you simply post a single image on it and be done? Not likely.
Then why are most photographers treating IG like that billboard?
I see it every day… sneak peek after sneak peek and nothing else. Friends, this is not a purposeful marketing plan and it doesn’t give your audience anything else to compare to against your competition.
Let’s discuss the top mistakes photographers make when marketing on IG and how to fix them:
1. Sneaks only:
Like I said, sneak peek after sneak peek just isn’t going to cut it. Consider adding in some high value content or time relevant content to your posts so that your audience considers you a resource & will keep coming back to consume your content. Educate your potential clients about what is relevant to them AND your brand – that is the sweet spot you want to go for! So, if you are a senior photographer, educate your IG audience about how to document their senior year or how to use their senior pics at the grad party. Those are both topics that YOU are an expert at (since you’re a senior photographer) and revolve around something BIG that is going on in their life!
2. No testimonials:
One of the highest levels of marketing is to share user generated content (aka testimonials). Get reviews from your clients & share them regularly to build credibility & trust in your brand.
Have a testimonial from your client, but not sure how to show it off? Here are the 3 most impactful ways to showcase your client reviews:
- video testimonials: if you can get your clients to send you a video review, this is GOLD, friends! Quick tip – tell them to talk to the camera like they’re talking to their best friend about their session experience!
- screenshots of 1:1 communication: capture your DMs, PMs, e-mails, and texts of your clients singing your praises! Seeing their words in a screenshot is an instant way to build trust & credibility between you and your potential client.
- graphics showcasing testimonial copy: while this is the least effective way to display a review, it’s still holds weight. If a screenshot of your testimonial doesn’t really blend with your website brand, then it’s absolutely ok to display your clients’ review in your brand font written out.
This is the actual order of effectiveness for motivating a lead, so keep that in mind when asking for / receiving testimonials and reviews from your clients. Something as easy as asking your client a few questions live at their session with you while recording is something that is so simple, but has 𝘔𝘈𝘚𝘚𝘐𝘝𝘌 impact!
3. No product offerings:
If you’re wondering why you’re only selling digitals and not products, check your IG. When’s the last time you posted one of your beautiful products? It’s time to get those products of yours front and center on your Instagram feed! Let your audience know what your clients are purchasing and what you offer! Feature one product every month and watch your sales averages start to climb!
When you educate your potential clients with images of your gorgeous portrait products through your social media, website and upon inquiry, you are showing them that:
- You are a photographer who can give them stunning products to display in their homes.
- You are telling them that the experience doesn’t end when the session is over.
- And once your potential client becomes your booked client, the education should never stop there!
4. CTAs that only lead to your link in bio:
Stop sending your potential clients straight to your website or your link in bio! Instead, give them a CTA to connect with you in your DMs! This will allow you to build a relationship with them and they can’t get that from your website
Want to know 3 tips for leaving a lasting impact when you reply to their DM?! Let’s dive in!
- Do NOT autoreply! Auto replies are super impersonal and can seem very robotic. You want to be able to show them that you can solve their needs as their first impression of you and an auto rely simply can’t do that.
- Voice reply instead of just texting them back. This is a big relationship builder because they can hear your voice, emotions, inflections, and so much more! Hit that microphone icon and wow the heck out of them!
- Wanna take it all the way? Record a video response to knock them off their feet! This is the ultimate response that will keep you in their minds for the rest of the day!
Think about it… are your competitors going above and beyond when it comes to building a relationship with your target market?!? Probably not. This strategy of connecting with potential clients will put you at the top of the list when it comes to who they’re going to hire!
5. Not leveraging stories for more post views:
One of my FAVORITE ways to increase engagement among my audience is to cross promote between my IG stories and feed with what I call the “hook and lure” technique.
I will usually begin with some killer behind the scene feed of a senior shoot followed with either a sliver of a sneak peek or a covered up “peek a boo” version of my senior’s sneak peek that tells my audience that if they want to see the whole sneak image, they’ll have to see it over on my feed.
Posting the sneak peek on your story gives your audience no reason to interact with your feed whatsoever. You HAVE to motivate them to want to click that little circle in the top left hand corner that will take them to your feed.
By choosing to sneak only a tiny peek of the full image, it entices them to want to see the whole image. And, if you want to make it a lot easier on them (which will then increase engagement even further) post the sliver over the shared feed image on your story and give them a call to action to “click here to see the full image.”
You will be shocked at the insight results from just doing this one little thing, I promise you.
6. Failing to engage with your audience:
There’s tons of way to engage with your audience other than just responding to their comments on your posts.
What if I told you that you also have access to FREE TOOLS to increase your audience’s engagement organically?!? Story stickers are perfect for engaging with your audience in a way that makes it very easy for not only you but your audience.
One of the stickers I’m talking about is the “QUESTIONS” feature on IG stories! How many of you have used this tool?! This is such a great “sticker” (as IG names it) and encourages your audience to interact EASILY with your brand!
I want to challenge you to think OUTSIDE THE BOX with the questions sticker! Imagine all the things you can use it for…
- Find out your audience’s pain points: this tool can be used to find out what your audience needs and or wants from you! Asking them questions like “What is your biggest client management issue?” or “What would you like to see most from me?” allows you to poll your actual audience on how YOU can be more beneficial to them – which will always end in more follows and more engagement.
- You can get your audience to find out more about your brand: You can ask questions like, “What’s our favorite topic to preach about?!?” or “How many years have we been in business?” These questions help your audience to learn about you and your brand and what services you offer.
- You can also use the quiz sticker to incite intrigue: Think about this for a second… asking questions like, “What did we just put on SALE on our website?” or “What’s our most popular product?” with multiple choice options for them to guess from is a great way to market to your audience without seeming super salesy.
7. Not retargeting to past content:
Listen… we aren’t in the business of creating content to just live on one platform and die after 24 hours. I used to treat my content like this and honestly? It was EXHAUSTING. Always having to come up with new content and keeping my platforms like islands that weren’t allowed to touch.
Once I changed my strategy and created my platforms as a web of leverage to get more eyes to this platform and more engagement on another platform, my audience 𝘌𝘟𝘗𝘓𝘖𝘋𝘌𝘋. I kept getting new followers that would tell me, “It’s like you’re everywhere. Every corner I turn, BAM! Education from Amanda!” and that’s exactly what I wanted.
So how did I do it? I started connecting my content across all platforms and building tunnels to even more of that content. If I had written a blog post about minimum order requirements and mentioned MORs in an IG post, I made sure to follow up that post with a link to the blog post for those who wanted to read more. I began putting related content links in my educational newsletters. I began linking my blog content to related topics and watched as this beautiful web came together.
Retargeting & cross promoting allows your content to live far longer than the allotted 24 hours and allows your audience to slip into rabbit holes that benefit them. In this way, you’re able to build a library of relatable information that is valuable to your target clients and allows them to consume your content much longer than a single post can.
8. Not tagging your client in your posts and stories:
When sharing ANYTHING from your session, whether it be behind the scenes, sneak peek, testimonial, product share, etc, make sure to TAG your client so that they can easily share your story to their story, leveraging their audience, which will easily boost your followers.
And guess what?!? If you forgot to tag your client in your stories, there’s an “add mention” option now that allows you to tag them after the fact!
For posting options, consider adding your clients and subjects as collaborators on your feed posts so that it will show up in their post feed as well.
9. Not expanding your IG link real estate:
IG gives you ONE link on your feed so you better make it count! Instead of sending your audience to your website, why not showcase a beautifully branded list of specific links to get your audience where they want to go fast.
You need to expand your link in bio with a custom social link if:
- you are using a third party site to host your IG quick links
- you’re still sending your IG link to your website’s home page
- you want to hook your IG audience when they click on your bio link
- you want a more custom bio link page with images & beautiful design
- you want to send your IG audience to multiple specific pages on your site
10. Being scared of IG reels:
I get it… Reels are new and weird and take time and God forbid we have to turn the cameras around on ourselves. Ugh. But the truth is, IG is focusing more and more on video which means that photo content is getting less and less attention. How can we, as photographers, get our photos seen when video is king? We have to showcase our photos in reel videos. Use Instagram templates or 3rd party reel templates to start with and then learn how to time out photos to the beats of your audio of choice.
More than just images, any kind of high value content is great to share on reels! Find your zone of genius (what you could talk about all day long) and share it with your audience!
Ready to get your IG marketing ducks in a row and start offering content that will get you more bookings? Join the A-List Society to get 10 done for you, copy & paste captions full of time relevant, high value content 𝘌𝘝𝘌𝘙𝘠 𝘚𝘐𝘕𝘎𝘓𝘌 𝘔𝘖𝘕𝘛𝘏! Plus tons more photography business education!