Ep 121. Simple Instagram Strategy for Photographers

Instagram Strategy for Photographers
I'm Ashley!

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Do you ever find yourself struggling to come up with a simple Instagram strategy that is applicable for photographers? You know that you should show up there but you spend hours and hours thinking and agonizing about Instagram. You don’t actually spend the time planning how you’re going to show up. If that’s you right now, this episode is going to be so helpful in giving you a simple and clear Instagram content strategy. Once you implement the first few steps of this, you’ll be able to rinse and repeat this process for every single week from here on out. Remember, Instagram is only one place to show up and it should not be the only place you’re showing up. If you’re ready to breathe a sigh of relief, and finally feel like you have a plan of action, then let’s get started.

Step #1: Decide on Post Schedule

How many times per week do you want to post on your feed, as well as how many times you want to post on your stories? Feed posts are going to be that first impression when someone comes to your page. They’re going to look at your feed and probably decide quickly if they want to follow you or not. Stories are going to be what people stick around for and it’s going to be a way that you can nurture your audience and help them connect with you on a deeper level.  When you show up on stories, avoid just showing your beautiful photography, you need to actually show your face. Remember, people will very quickly associate a brand with the owner when they see the owner’s face. If you fail to show your face, people will forget about you being associated with your photography business. You want to be top of mind and you want to be who people think of when they need a photographer. The easiest way you can do this is to show your face regularly.

Step # 2: Types of Post You Can Show

Let’s talk about the different types of posts that you can show on your feed. The types of posts that I like to put out on my feed include value, personal, hard pitches and just for fun posts. With value posts, people are going to say things like, oh my gosh! That was so helpful, I needed that! When talking about a personal post, people are going to say things like, oh, I can totally relate to that, or yes, me too. When you’re doing a hard pitch post, you want people to think “Yes, sign me up!” And then when you’re doing a just for fun post, you want people to say “That totally made me smile.” ” Thanks for making my day”. I reccomend showing your face at least one to two times on your feed every nine posts.

Think of your Instagram feed grid in nine posts, also known as your nine grid. For every 9 posts I recommend rotating between:

  • 4 value posts
  • 2 personal posts,
  • 2 hard pitches
  • 1 just for fun

I have a downloadable content planner that I would love for you to grab, that will help you to plan out your content pillars. I’ll be sure to link it in the show notes.  These content pillars are crucial when it comes to planning out your content intentionally. It helps you know exactly what you’re going to be talking about on each post. I’m going to explain the content planner and then it will make more sense when you download it.

How to Use the Free Content Planner

  • In the planner, there are five rectangles at the top which will represent your content pillars. T
  • hen below each of those content pillars will be another for small rectangles that are going to be sub content pillars.
  • Each of those sub content pillars are going to have five bullet points, which are going to be more specific topics to talk about.

For example, say four of your content pillars include value, education, personal, behind the scenes and offers. Those are going to be the main topic or top-level content pillars. As you go down, you’re going to break down each of those high-level content pillars into four sub content pillars. Let’s take behind the scenes, for example.

Perhaps you’re going to show your workspace and where you work. Then maybe you’re going to show yourself in action shooting for a client and maybe that’s your subtopic under BTS-behind the scenes. You might even take that a step further and talk about where are you shooting, who are you shooting and get extremely specific on what topics you can talk about for each of those photos. You can even talk about how you run your business and your favorite programs that you use, because even your potential clients find that interesting.

The more that people can peek behind the scenes in your business, the more connected they feel to your business.

Think about when you are looking on Instagram, who are you so excited to hear from? It’s probably not the accounts that just show pretty photos, it’s probably the accounts that show you who they are outside of their business. Those are the type of people that you’re connected to and when you feel connected to someone you are way more likely to remember them, either when you need a photographer or when you know somebody that does.

Step # 3: Start Content Planning

Now that you know your post schedule and how many value posts, how many personal posts, how many of them are going to be hard pitches or just for fun, and you’ve mapped out when you’re going to post those. You’ve created your content pillars to help make it easy for what you’re going to be talking about, that’s going to give you the caption idea, now comes the fun part and sometimes the hard part, which is to actually start planning.

I recommend using a planning software such as Planoly you can use my affiliate link if you’re interested in using it. It’s awesome to be able to put your pictures in different placeholders and start to visually see what your post plan is going to look like.

Start to map out your post schedule using placeholders.

I always put the date and then I put what type of post it’s going to be. In the description or in the caption area, I can just write, I’m going to be posting a value post on December 12 and I’m going to talk about my favorite app called Toggl and why that has changed my business. After I have that laid out with placeholders, I then go in and start replacing the placeholders with images that I want to use.

It’s important to show your work obviously and I think it’s very appropriate to show your client images under your value posts. It could even be under your BTS posts and for sure your offer posts.

Be sure to post your face at least twice on your feed every nine posts.

When someone comes to your Instagram feed, they should know within a few swipes, who owns the account. If you are shy in front of the camera, that is definitely something to work on this year, showing your face more. Find a photography friend nearby in your area and swap brand photos. It is so simple as a photographer to get brand photos.

Even if you do not like being in front of the camera, it’s great experience for you to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and remember how awkward it feels. It’s also not about you and I say that with so much love. People who come to your feed, they’re not going to be as nitpicky about your appearance as you are. I am challenging you to post the pictures not for you, they are for your future potential clients, because they want to know who’s going to be taking their picture and they want to connect with you. I promise when you start showing up in your feed and in your stories as a real person, your business will change.

Step #4: Write Captions and Actually Schedule

Finally, the last step here is to write the captions and schedule. The caption part does not need to take you a long time, short and sweet is really the way to go. People don’t have time to read a bunch of captions and keeping your viewer and your reader in mind, you want to get straight to the point and help them understand what type of post this for them is. Again, you want those comments, this was so helpful, I needed that. I can totally relate, sign me up! That made me smile. All of those explanations or reactions that you’re going to get from your audience, that’s what you want to accomplish as quickly as possible.

Step #5: Think Like a Content Creator

The final step here is to think like a content creator and put your content creator cap on. Yes, you are there to fulfill a job and to provide beautiful imagery for your client, but it’s also important that you are thinking about content for sharing on Instagram. This is one of the number one struggles that photographers have is forgetting to take behind the scenes shots, or not having anybody to help do this. I need you to stop making excuses, because you will never have this content that you want to use if you keep living behind those excuses.

I’m going to give you just a quick and easy to follow plan of how you can use this content. So always remember to grab behind the scenes at each session and remember to take photos and videos of styling and posing. If there’s nobody there to take them for you, you can set up a tripod super easily. You can do time lapses, or you can just quickly press start and stop. Of course, educate your clients beforehand, so that they know that this is going to be happening. It’s not going to take up a ton of your time, you just need a few of these clips.

How I use content from each session using a 54321 system.

  • 5 Favorite Photos: At the end of your session, grab 5 of your favorite photos to share on Instagram. You have your content map that’s going to help you brainstorm ideas for captions and then always include a call to action at the end of each post.
  • 4 Content Ideas: Identify four things about the specific session that you can use for content ideas. Think of some of the things that you want future clients to know that kind of happened at this session. You can even break these amazing content ideas into several small Instagram posts.
  • 3 Stories: Some ideas include a story showing behind the scenes of your session (video and photos), sharing your favorite part about the session with final edited images, how you helped your client plan for their session or ease a fear. Once you have this strategy in place, you can tweak it as you see fit. Now it’s so much easier for you to go into each session knowing you can definitely use this piece of content to share that with your audience.
  • 2 Reels: Next, you’re going to create two reels, one with photos of your session and one face to camera, sharing a quick tip from your content idea bank from the session and having a call to action there.
  • 1 Blog Post: Include your favorite tips from the session that will help other ideal clients have a simple and stress-free session. Use any of the content that you currently used and weave it into your blog post. If you have a behind the scenes video, share that on your blog post. Make it something that is super juicy that people really want to learn from you about.

Now it’s your turn!!!

Once you do step one and two, which is to decide on your post schedule and create your content pillars, the next part is going to be so much easier because you’re thinking like a content creator and you already have all of this content banked in your phone, so it’s easy to reference. When you sit down to plan, you have a rinse and repeat strategy and system to make this so easy that you’re not stressing anymore.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post, and that you’re ready to head into 2023 with so much more intention, focus and clarity.

I am always here rooting for you. And you are not alone on this journey!!


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My mission is to help fellow mom business owners experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for mompreneurs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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