January 2, 2023
What to check out in this article:
When I look back at my photography business, I can honestly say some of my highest paying, and most loyal and best clients came from Instagram.
Is it a lot of work? Sure. Has a lot changed about Instagram? Absolutely. And some might say it’s harder to get seen than ever before.
But I want to challenge that and say when you use Instagram effectively it can be one of the most powerful tools as a photographer to find ideal clients.
Now, I say ONE of the most powerful ways because I never want you to think (after listening to an episode like this) that you should put all your marketing energy into one basket. Inside of Marketing School for Photographers, which is my coaching program for photographers who want to go full time, we teach 7 different ways to stand out and be the obvious choice for your ideal client. And you know what – Instagram is a small piece of ONE of those ways (which is social media).
I love marketing strategy and I follow a lot of accounts and social media experts to hear what’s happening with social media. There has been some buzz around Instagram dying with less people engaging and more and more people jumping over to newer platforms like TikTok.
And y’all know I love me some TikTok as a consumer and as a creator, BUT – I still think a lot of people use and love IG. It’s familiar. And I’ve noticed it’s easier to build 1:1 relationships on IG than a platform like TT, which is good for reaching a lot of people, but because you can’t DM with everyone – makes it hard to have that same connection you get on IG, which is IDEAL for service providers like photographers.
So if you have a goal to make a full time income with photography and want to use Instagram to build those relationships and attract your ideal client – what do you need to know about how to use IG in 2023?
I hear a lot of photographers saying that they feel like Instagram is a waste of time because they spend all this time creating posts, only to get like 5 likes and very little organic reach, which I totally know can be discouraging!
A lot of times, when we’re feeling like our posts aren’t getting the reach we want them to, it’s because we’re comparing our posts to someone else’s,
we’re comparing the reach to a time when IG was different, when there were less creators and less competition.
So even if your posts aren’t reaching as many people as they used to or they’re not reaching as many as your competitors, you’re still reaching likely hundreds, if not thousands, of people every week for FREE.
Isn’t that incredible? And honestly, as a photographer, you don’t need your posts to reach thousands of people – you need them to reach a few of the RIGHT people.
If you were a creator trying to get sponsorships and make money from affiliate sales, sure, views might matter a lot – but you’re not. You’re a photographer. And you need probably less than 100 people to work with you all year, right?
THAT is the biggest mindset shift that will help you book more clients in 2023! We’re going to get into a little more strategy but I hope you hear that and take action on it FIRST.
Let’s talk about the types of posts that are most likely to get you seen organically in the feed of IG. Because we want to do 2 things with IG – nurture and warm up the people who are already following us and are likely to book with us… as well as find new people like them. So what’s the best way to find new people?
I can hear some of you now “ahhh Tavia I knew you’d say Reels. I don’t want to do reels or show my face or dance.”
Okay, I totally hear you on all of that. And, yes, a lot of people are showing their face to the camera and/or talking on reels. But you don’t have to! Let me back up and share WHY reels are the top post type to use in 2023.
Instagram definitely wants to compete with TikTok, so they added short form video to their platform. And they’re pushing it organically in the feed to compete with TikTok.
Now, will it always be that way? Maybe, maybe not.
Here’s the best part about reels, they don’t always (or ever) have to show your face. We’ve done reels that are simply a word or quote with a video playing in the background. Or as birth or baby photographers, it could be a photo of yours with a video of yours (or just something simple in the background blurred out).
Now, of course there are a lot of benefits to showing your face in your reels like building connection and becoming recognizble to your audience, but if you’re intimidated with trying out reels in 2023 go the simple photo route I just described!
Reels and Instagram are something we talk about consistently in MSFP so if you’re interested in joining us, make sure you join the waitlist to be notified the next time it opens!
The next type of post to use in 2023 on IG to find your ideal client Instagram stories.
There are so many ways to use stories that we’re going to talk about, but since we just talked about reels, you can use IG stories to get comfortable showing your face on Reels.
In Marketing School, we have a monthly call with our coach Lydia who gives very specific reels ideas based on trends and shows our students exactly how to create them and what to post about.
SUPER valuable right?
But we found that some students weren’t struggling with coming up with the content anymore (because Lydia basically completely did that for them), but instead struggled with getting themselves on camera.
So we started encouraging them to use stories to warm up to putting their face on camera. There is SO much I could say about stories and using them in 2023… there are so many benefits.
If you’re not using stories as a way to connect with not only YOUR audience but also to connect with other people through THEIR stories – you’re missing out on a big opportunity this year.
Find your ideal client or a past client and watch their stories, answer their polls, comment on their stories like a friend would. Nothing salesy at all, just having conversations. THIS is how you build relationships that turn into clients and referrals on IG.
It’s not super sneaky or sexy and it’s not going to book you 100 clients in 1 afternoon. It’s playing the long game. But, this is a small-time investment NOW that is going to pay off in the next 6-18 months in your business that you won’t regret!
Maybe you’re like, “Okay, Tavia, but I’m a photographer- I have PHOTOS I want to post and share not just videos of my face.”
I hear you big time and if you’re going to post photos on your IG feed in 2023, get the most reach out of those posts by using a carousel post. This is multiple photos in 1 post.
What’s powerful about carousels is that if someone doesn’t engage with your post the first time they see it, IG will show them the second photo in the carousel post later to try and get their attention. And if that doesn’t do it, they’ll use the 3rd photo…and so on.
Using a carousel post is a simple way to get in your audience’s feed more than once with just 1 post!
Test and Track Your Posts!
Finally, the best way to figure out what types of posts to use on IG in 2023 is to TEST & track.
The best way to figure out what to post is going to be test the type of post that you’re posting: is it a carousel? Is it a reel? What’s the subject matter?
And track: did this post get the engagement I wanted it to get? Did it get the type of reaction I wanted it to get? Did it get someone DMing me that is a potential client?
It can be tedious to track some of these things, but it is effort that is going to pay off because you’ll have data to back up your decisions on social media to decide what posts or post types work in achieving your goals.
The next important piece when it comes to Instagram and finding clients in 2023 is something that’s not talked about very often, but it’s actually critical in getting people to not only find your account, but actually follow your account and the right people to follow your account, and that is your Instagram bio.
We talked about the types of posts to use nurture your existing following & to find new people like them… but we want those people to start following you right?
They see your post, they’re intrigued so they click over to your bio – this is where they’re going to make a decision on if they’re going to follow you or not.
If your bio is something generic like “Baby photographer in Central Oregon” and a link to your website – that’s not going to cut it in 2023 to get new followers. I’m sure there are a lot of baby photographers in Central Oregon, right? So, how can you make this more specific to speak to a very specific type of mom in your area?
What do you stand for? What’s your favorite specific moment of birth or newborns? What’s something you do at every session? What’s something you’re known for? Can you make them chuckle or say “UMMM SHE’S SO MY PEOPLE” with your bio? Don’t sleep on the opportunity that is there for you with your bio!
The last way to use IG in 2023 to book ideal clients is through your hashtags.
Here’s an exercise for you – what hashtags are your ideal clients using on THEIR posts? Sprinkle those in.
And don’t put too much emphasis on hashtags. Use them, but don’t obsess over them. I once had a conversation with a student about IG and we were talking about being consistent on the platform. She told me she had a lot of posts ready to go with photos and captions, but she didn’t schedule them because she didn’t have all 30 hashtags ready to go.
Ohhhh man – no, please don’t let hashtags be the reason you don’t post on IG! They’re a helpful tool, but they’re not required to be successful on IG in 2023.
I hope this got you excited about using Instagram to find your ideal clients this year! Like I said earlier, if you’re in MSFP we have a lot of extra trainings and almost-done-for-you reel ideas specifically for baby photographers, as well as an Instagram story challenge that gives you ideas and prompts to post on stories consistently.
If you’re interested in joining Marketing School the next time it opens up, join the waitlist here to be the first notified when the doors are open again!
Thank you so much for being here. And remember, if you have a passion, it is not an accident. Not everyone loves the thing that you love, so whatever your specific passion is, it is there for a reason. So I hope that you will get out there and follow your passion and make it happen.
Have a great week!