by John R. Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP "Just because you…
by Josh Hudson
I know, don’t hate me, but yes, you have to learn the ins and outs of yet another social media tool to effectively market your photography business! It seems like every day there is some “shiny” new object that someone is peddling to you, but the same was true with websites, email marketing and the social media big 3 of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. All of us that have been in business for a while (31 years in our case) have probably asked ourselves at one point, “Do I really need a website?” I know, laughable now, right? Well, photographers used to ask me that a few years ago about Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The answer is YES, 30-40% of our leads now come from social media and some niches are even higher than that! Take high school seniors for example. There is not a day that goes by during our peak season that I don’t interact with some senior who says they saw so and so’s images on Facebook last week and they want to book a session with us. And this year after doing some research with last year’s crop of kids, I found that more and more of the teens are exclusively using Instagram rather than just Facebook. Ding Ding… the light bulb went off!
This year instead of really promoting our Facebook page to high school seniors, all of our marketing materials that went out during our 3 piece senior mailer really pushed our Instagram account! We don’t have a ton of kids on it yet, but we have already booked several clients from our Instagram updates! I wouldn’t say that Instagram is the end all be all for social media, but it is where the teens are hanging out, and we need to be in front of them there!
Here are 5
Tips for Using Instagram to Market Your Studio!
1. You Need Followers! Like anything else in your business, you need to market your Instagram account! We plug it on our Facebook page, Twitter accounts, Email Newsletters, hard copy marketing pieces and on our website! It needs to be easy to find and have your @handle be something similar to your business name, ours is @seniorsbyhudsons, which is the name of our high school senior brand.
2. Educate the Clients! You need to let your clients know about your Instagram account. I even ask the seniors during their consultation what their @handle is so I can post behind the scenes images during their session. This gets them excited! Never assume that people will just search for you, you have leave them some little marketing bread crumbs.
3. What to Post? We post behind the scenes images in real time during each session as well as finished images after the session. After the client comes in to view the images via projection and orders, I post the ordered files on Facebook, a slideshow on Youtube and now I post a handful on Instagram. We also share specials, fun things going on at the studio, basically the same type of personalized content I post on Facebook.
4. Tagging & ###! Since you know your client’s @handle, you need to tag them when you post their images! This will spread your marketing massage and get you connected with your client’s friends. Also, play around with some hashtags! #seniorportraits #hudsonsrocks, etc.
5. You Need a Plan! So you don’t get overwhelmed, you need to develop a plan and a procedure for adding Instagram to your marketing mix. If you are a one-person studio, you don’t have a lot of time so posting on Instagram needs to be easy and quick or else you won’t do it. I just took our existing model for posting on Facebook and added the Instagram component, it only adds about another 5 minutes to my day.
Marathon has asked me to do an hour long webinar on Instagram. If you want to learn more about what we are doing with it and some other studio examples who are CRUSHING IT with it as well, register for my webinar this September 25th here: http://www.marathonpress.com/webinar/1194479656/
Also, I will be covering a little bit about Pinterest and how we are using it to cultivate wall portrait hungry clients! Check out this short video on what will be covered during my webinar “The NEW Social Media” on September 25th!