Instagram Marketing Guide For Beginners

With almost 1 billion users, Instagram is one of the largest social networks in the world. Ascending trend. Reason enough to take a closer look at Instagram marketing. In this over 3,500-word Instagram marketing guide,  I give you essential strategies to help you succeed on Instagram.

Instagram profile: your profile picture

With your profile picture, make sure that you are recognized well on the one hand and that you may already be seen while you are photographing. A landscape photographer should ideally choose a picture in which he can be seen in a breathtaking setting. A portrait photographer on a studio or available light shot created in his style. A wedding photographer in a chic suit or inaction with the newlyweds.

My tip: don’t change your profile picture every few days. Your followers will recognize your pictures in the timeline much faster if they see a familiar face or profile picture and click – almost automatically – on a heart or leave a comment on your latest Instagram picture.

Instagram profile: Write a meaningful biography

You have a total of 150 characters on Instagram to leave a meaningful biography. Not much if you consider that there should be reasons why you should follow you on Instagram and what types of photography your absolute passion and you can expect from Instagram.

My tip: Don’t start writing in sentences. This does not work with the limited character length of 150 eh. I like to use emojis here and write briefly and succinctly in a kind of “bullet points” what I will publish on Instagram.

If you have already achieved a proper first-person brand or popularity (congratulations!), You should also integrate your own hashtag in your biography. Followers often use this on their own Instagram pictures where they want to attract your attention and automatically ensure that your Instagram profile is better known. Of course, you should also use this hashtag under each of your pictures!

Instagram profile: your website

Whether you offer photography workshops, instructions for Instagram marketing sell or want to sell your services as a photographer – it usually doesn’t work without your own website. It is, therefore, imperative that you link them to your Instagram profile.

If you already have your photographer website, you should now pull out your smartphone and save it in your profile.

Important: Instagram is a mobile-first product. This means that more than 95% of your visitors will come to your website with a smartphone and it is therefore very important that you offer a mobile-friendly website.

Strategies for an effective Instagram marketing

After you have already learned something about optimizing your Instagram profile in the first three chapters, it is now important to strategically consider how and with what content we can reach your target group.

In Instagram Marketing – similar to Facebook Marketing – there are several different types of posts for photographers with which we can reach our target group as best as possible.

The right storytelling is important

The most promising contributions are pictures with a real story about you, your company or photography. In this area, for example, brands like Oreo (those who make delicious cookies, which even vegans can enjoy ;-)) show how it works and offer opportunities for adaptation for their marketing.

Also use so-called behind-the-scenes pictures from photo workshops, shootings or other industry-standard activities.

Reactive storytelling on Instagram

Does the term “reactive storytelling” mean anything to you? In reactive storytelling, you encourage your followers to say something about your picture or to expand your idea or thoughts on the picture. Be creative here and develop a strategy that encourages your followers to participate.

Use user-generated content correctly

This form of Instagram marketing is, unfortunately, only for Instagram profiles, which have already built up a good number of followers. User-generated images that are made only to be associated with you or your hashtag are almost the supreme discipline on Instagram.

Imagine 500 people using your hashtag on Instagram every week, just to show other Instagram users that they are related to you or your project. That would have something, right? To be able to achieve such effects, you need a not entirely irrelevant number of followers or general awareness within photography, as already written. Still, you can also ensure such synergies in a smaller group.

With weekly photo competitions.

Just think about a weekly topic and create a cross-project hashtag for these projects, which has to be used by the participants every week if they want to participate in your contest. The hashtag you choose should, of course, relate to you and yourself – even better: All participants must mention you in the image description. So you provide even more reach of your person and pictures on Instagram. I’ll tell you more about the hashtags on Instagram later in this article.

Inspiration and motivation on Instagram

The meanwhile very widespread and if you personally ask me annoying “quotes” that should inspire or motivate, are of course still another way to provide your followers with appealing content. If you don’t like quotes, but you don’t want to do without this effective follower building method, I recommend that you just think outside the box.

Also Read – 6 Most Important Social Media Trends

Instagram marketing for real pros ?

In the previous section, you got to know some types of posts that you can publish on your Instagram profile. However, since you are not the only profile that your followers are following, it is now up to you to promote your pictures as best as possible so that a high number of followers can see your pictures at all. In this section, I explain to you what is important with the Instagram algorithm and how you can reach as many old and new followers as possible with your pictures.

This is how you describe your postings correctly

So that your posts are automatically liked and commented by your followers, you have to put a lot of effort into the description. Of course, you cannot save a bad picture with it. Still, one picture alone is often not enough to generate a high number of likes and comments – this usually only works for profiles that have already become a real brand within the photography industry.

For your descriptions to be really good, you should basically make sure to include at least 3 of these 4 tips in your picture descriptions:

  • Get attention by choosing the right word
  • Ask your followers specifically for answers to your picture
  • Use a call-to-action for desired actions (what that is, comes a little later in this guide)
  • Use relevant hashtags so that your Instagram post can “go virally through the roof.”

Use emojis as stimuli

You probably already know emojis. These are these little smilies, houses, hearts, or nature icons that have been on every smartphone for some time. Use it wisely in your image description and get even more attention in the Instagram feed. You can find a selection of possible Instagram emojis  on this page  or here:

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Call your followers to tag

Another way to make new followers on Instagram aware of your profile is to use your image descriptions to “tag” a friend. An example would be: “If you like my photos, mark a friend of yours to show them your great taste!”

Hashtags for more reach on Instagram

Hashtags are the salt in the soup and large numbers belong under EVERY picture on Instagram. An image without hashtags has almost no possibility on Instagram to reach new followers since Instagram users always search for hashtags and Instagram’s search algorithms rely on them.

Please make sure that you always use as many relevant hashtags for your picture as possible under each picture.

Note: Instagram lets max. 30 hashtags per image – that’s why you should really only use suitable hashtags and if possible also choose them in the language of your target group. TrackMaven discovered some time ago that Instagram posts with 11 hashtags have the highest interaction rate.

#TagsForLikes – if you have heard this term or website before: keep your hands off it if you want to use your profile a little longer. Not because Instagram blocks your profile, but much more because less and less relevant spam and fake accounts will enjoy your pictures and nothing more than dubious push notifications for a new like or spam comment.

Call-to-action button on your pictures

Please-do-now-what-I-want-you-want – is a common term in the conversion optimization of any goals. Our goal on Instagram is, of course, to get lots of likes and comments.

However, what many do not use is a hint directly on the picture.

To be able to trigger a targeted action from our followers, we first have to familiarize ourselves with the functions of Instagram. A function that not everyone knows is the double-touch 2-like function. Every time you quickly press twice on a picture in a row, you give a like on the picture. So what could be more obvious than positioning such a call-to-action directly on the picture? Give it a try!

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a button that triggers the call-to-action. Even a text note for commenting or liking is often sufficient as a stimulus to ensure the desired action for your followers. Just give it a try!

Editorial plan for Instagram

Now it’s getting wild. You shouldn’t take content planning for Instagram lightly if you want to inspire new followers on Instagram constantly. If you only post a picture every 4-5 days, you will go down in the Instagram stream of your followers and may not even get attention. That is why it is extremely important to post constantly fresh content. The best thing to do is prepare this content on your computer and then only publish new content on Instagram once or twice a day.

To make it easier for you to get started with editorial planning, I have planned a possible Instagram feed for you:

  1. Morning:  inspiration and motivation to start the day
  2. Midday to afternoon:  A behind-the-scenes picture that you can do well on the go with your smartphone without having to go into the planning beforehand. Even a picture of the photo editing on the computer is great for the picture at noon.
  3. In the evening:  a real highlight of the day! A pretty portrait, a great landscape or a picture of something very abstract. Try to find a way that suits you best and focuses on your photographic goals.

This is how I plan my social media content

I usually schedule my social channel content for 7 days in advance. This distracts me less from everyday life, and I can concentrate on my actual work. Of course, this should not mean that the topic is less important than my work, but I prefer to concentrate on the topic of social media / Instagram once a week for several hours, rather than several times a day for a few minutes.

Instagram benchmark: what’s good?

Fortunately, there is a study for almost everything, right? TrackMaven took a closer look at the 500 top brands on Instagram and found that the average number of likes and comments was 37/1000 Instagram followers.

What does this mean for you and your Instagram marketing now?

Let’s assume the following scenario:

  • You have 1000 Instagram followers: Then 37 likes and comments are a good result per post
  • You have 500 Instagram followers: Then 19 likes and comments are a possible target of your efforts

If you want to apply this formula to yourself, you can easily take the number of your followers times 0.037, and you have the benchmark or at least a possible goal for your very own Instagram profile and marketing.

As a further clue, you can assume that there will be a new comment for every 100 likes. Of course, this always depends on your follower base, but it serves as a good house number and calculation support when strategically planning your Instagram activities.

Instagram Videos – Tips on Instagram video format

In 2013, Instagram launched its own video format in parallel to Vine. Unlike for example, on YouTube, you are limited on Instagram and Vine by the maximum runtime of 15 seconds on Instagram and 6 seconds on Vine. This limitation has its appeal, however, since many videos on YouTube, Vimeo & Co. simply contain a vast amount of unimportant information and as a producer, you are well-advised to get to the point within 15 seconds.

Another advantage of Instagram videos, in contrast to YouTube, is the connection to Facebook and its reach. Facebook itself makes no secret of pushing its own video format (which also includes Instagram videos) and giving competitors like YouTube a reduction in reach if someone shares such a video on their Facebook timeline.

My tip: Even if you do not use Instagram videos, but do have a YouTube Channel + Facebook page: Upload your video to YouTube or your Facebook page in addition to YouTube. This way, your video gets a lot more reach and has a better chance of reaching your target group.

The filters that you can apply to Instagram images also work for the videos.

If possible, use Instagram filters

Oh oh … very hot iron for photographers, right? Use finished filters on our beautifully edited photos? But only if we don’t have a Lightroom or Photoshop at hand.

If you don’t want to use Instagram filters, you should stick to a few principles – if you want pictures with a lot of comments and likes on Instagram:

  • Use bright photos with high dynamic range
  • Strong contrasts
  • Warm temperatures generally make the viewer feel better

Follow and like similar Instagram profiles

If you want to achieve something within your target group, you must, of course, have followers who strongly comment and like your pictures. So follow as many Instagram profiles as possible that are very similar to your own profile and like their pictures. A mention in a comment also attracts attention and shows your interest in their person. So do what you would like most yourself, and you will see: they will thank you!

If you’ve heard the term “follow like like like” before, you can skip the following part about Instagram Marketing – everyone else urgently read on!

Unfortunately, we humans all work the same way in our prehistoric times: we like it when others find us or our work great. You can also use this effect on Instagram. With the follow-like-like-like method, you try to get Instagram users with a high reach (influencer) to follow you by following them yourself in step 1 and a picture in steps 2, 3 and 4 ‘liked by exactly this user. This constant attention in the timeline of the user ensures you interest, and if your profile is well-positioned, nothing stands in the way of a follow-back.

Think different – if you want to achieve something on Instagram

And you should really take this heading seriously. It makes no sense if everyone 1to1 implements my recommendations in the same way. Instagram marketing or social media marketing, in general, is characterized by the creative use of stories. The times when all content can be displayed according to the scheme F and motivate your followers are long gone! Try new and fresh ideas regularly to delight your followers, and you will see that your Instagram marketing will work.

My tip: Follow the great American brands like  GoPro,  Oreo,  Starbucks,  Taco Bell,  Pabst Blue Ribbon,  Gucci,  Nike or  Converse to new trends on Instagram to discover that you can adapt and prepare for you correctly.