Photographers kinda have a love/hate relationship with social media in general, right? We know we should be there but there’s also all this pressure! Today, I’m going to share the 6 worst Instagram mistakes that photographers make on Instagram- from ways to use the app to get more FREE engagement to what you can be doing off the app to speed up your growth – so if you’re listening to this, there’s no need to worry! You’ve got this one covered!
Instagram Mistake #1: Not Using All the Features a Platform Offers
If you’re like, “Tavia, I’m doing good just to remember to post in the feed semi-consistently…” I totally get it!
But when you’re not using all the features on Instagram, it’s like only using half of the tools in your shed. You can probably build something pretty good, but not as great as it could be if you used all the tools you have available to you!
And here’s the thing: Instagram has a LOT of features and places to post – The Feed, IG Stories, Reels, Guides, IGTV, and IG Live.
Instagram didn’t create these features for no reason. They want users to use them so they’ll reward users FOR using those different features by organically sharing your content in the feed more. If you’re used to consistently posting on the feed, ask yourself:
“How can I repurpose the post with the same message onto Stories, Reels, and do an IG Live about it (which can then be turned into an IGTV episode)?”
From Feed Post to IG Stories…
You could take a FEED post about The Benefits of Homebirth for instance and turn it into an IG story by turning the camera onto your face & re-stating the post in your own words or giving your opinions.
Then take a current trend on reels and make it about The Benefits of Homebirth.
…to IG Live, then IGTV!
Then do a quick, 10-15 minute IG live answering pre-submitted questions about the benefits of homebirth (PS: you can pre-submit your own questions). And save the IG Live as an IGTV.
HEYO! Now, you’ve taken ONE idea for a post and turned it into Stories, a Reel, IG Live, and IGTV!!
IG Mistake #2 (you knew this was coming): You’re Posting Inconsistently
The truth is, Instagram’s algorithm favors consistency. You can’t expect to only post once or twice a month and then get engagement from your followers. If you want your content to reach more eyes, posting consistently is an important step.
Imagine this – you planted a tree in the middle of a field. When you’re not consistent with your posts, it’s like you’re trying to plant that tree without any water and nutrients. It’ll take longer for that tree to grow into the beautiful, tall pine that it can be – if it even makes it at all. But when you’re consistent with your posts (or watering your tree), IG will reward you, your followers will notice and they’ll be more inclined to engage with your content.
So, I think you knew this, so if you’re inconsistent with your posting schedule… why is that? Chances are, you’re not consistent with posting because you don’t know what to post or don’t plan ahead. I’ve been there my friend!
What’s important isn’t posting every single day. Notice I never said the frequency you should post, but instead that you’re consistent. If you only wanna post Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week that is TOTALLY fine! Just make sure you do it every week 🙂
How can you be consistent posting on social media?
Mistake #3: You’re Too Focused on Number of Followers
Real talk: I built a 6-figure photography studio with less than 2,000 IG followers. So you do not have to have 10k or 100k followers to be successful. You knew that, I’m just reminding you! 🙂
Does it help to have more eyes on your business? YES! Is it NECESSARY for success? Absolutely not. Do I think social media is important? Absolutely! But it is about the quality of your followers and not the quantity.
Let me tell you a real life story as an example. My son is a competitive gymnast and I shared a video of his progress over the years and it went crazy viral, it got like 3 million views in 24 hours. I, very quickly, got thousands and thousands of new followers. Sounds exciting right?
Except those followers were all kids, mostly boys, under the age of 18. So what happens when I share a birth video or a post telling people my availability? It would fall completely flat. I’d definitely lose followers. Then, IG would think my posts weren’t relevant (and they would be right, posting birth availability to a 12 year old boy isn’t relevant) and it would stop showing my content to the people in my audience who WOULD want to see it.
The metric that is MUCH more important on IG is the one people from the outside can’t see – your Engagement Rate. How many people are liking, commenting, sharing, or saving your posts? That matters a lot more than the number of followers you have if your goal is to build a community of people who are likely to buy from you!
What to do when your audience is small?
When you have less than 500 or 100 followers on IG, you have an amazing opportunity to REALLY connect in a deep way with your followers. Follow them back and engage on their posts! Reply to their stories. WATCH their stories. They notice. Building those friend-like relationships online is what will quickly build trust with your followers. (PS: following them back also gives you tons of content ideas because you see what they’re posting and what’s important to THEM, your ideal client)
These are strategies that are more challenging, not impossible, when you have thousands or 10s of thousands of followers so take advantage of it while you can!
Mistake #4: You’re Not Going Live!
Feed posts build brand awareness, people know who you are when they see your post frequently. Pre-recorded video builds trust over time because people see you talking, they hear your voice inflections, and they start to get an idea of who you are.
LIVE video builds trust almost instantly (with your ideal client) for all the reasons with pre-recorded video, but when it’s live they can also ask questions.
Also, live video on IG specifically pushes you to the front of people’s stories line up. Plus, far less people are going live than are posting – so there is yet another way for you to stand out!
I know, live video can feel intimidating if you’re not used to it- and I’ll admit I still get butterflies right before I press that “GO LIVE” button. My best tips would be to announce your Live before you go live—send out an email to your list, post on social media, DM people that you’ve already been chatting with on IG and let them know—and prepare to talk even if no one is there. Come prepared with things to say and questions to answer, just in case people aren’t active in the chat.
Anything worthwhile is going to be a little uncomfortable or even painful, but I know that’s not going to stop YOU!
I have a feeling this is the thing on this list of mistakes photographers make on Instagram that you’re most likely making…..
Mistake #5: You’re Not Tracking
Basically, tracking just means you’re intentionally writing down your stats or metrics every week from Instagram. Things like, # of followers, engagement %, etc. This is critically important if you have a goal to grow on IG, which if you’re here I have a feeling you DO.
A lot of times I’ll hear photographers say…
“Oh I feel like XYZ doesn’t work for me.”
“Reels don’t work for me.”
“Going live doesn’t work for me.”
“I feel like IG is a waste of time.”
Most of the time, these statements are made from FEELINGS not FACTS. So if I said, “Why don’t reels work for you?” “Oh because it only got 200 views.”
200 views?!! Imagine an auditorium with 200 people in it. That is how many people just saw your business and your brand online and you didn’t pay a dime for those views. That’s pretty cool. With 200 views, then it is a matter of trial and error. Keep posting. 1 video might get 1,000 views. Okay, now you’re on to something, right?
So you post another video and it gets 20 views. Hmm…ok that didn’t work – what didn’t people like about it? What else can you do that’s more like the 1,000 views video?
And are any of those videos sparking DMs or comments? I care a lot more about that than views to be honest with you. Those people who comment and DM me are much more likely to purchase from me!
So … yes growth is important! But how do you know if you’re growing or not if you’re not tracking it? How do you know if what your posting is working or not, if you’re not tracking it?
Here’s an example: My followers do not like quote graphics, they would much rather see a birth photo. Now personally, I like quote graphics. They stop my scroll. I always read and share them… but my audience, eh not so much. How do I know that? Because we’re tracking it! Does it matter what *I* like? Not really. It is what my ideal client likes and responds to that matters. And again, we know what they like by tracking how many likes, comments, saves and shares the post gets.
Take 15 minutes each week to write down your metrics for Instagram!
Before I share the final mistake… make sure to hang until the end because I have a bonus tip to share with you!
Mistake #6: You’re Giving up too soon
This is what I personally have experienced and see from photographers. They get all excited about IG growth for their business so they most every day for 2 weeks, get burnt out and don’t most again for a month. Sound a little familiar?
The thing is… it can take 4-8 weeks for a new habit to form. It can definitely take that long or longer to start seeing traction on IG. I’m just keeping it real y’all!
And most photographers will throw in the towel consistently posting on IG long before the 8 week mark. Perseverance is the ability to keep going when it feels like it’s not working. Don’t give up – keep going!
Listen, the truth is, back in 2014 it was much easier to grow on IG. There were less creators and more people… so it was much easier to be found organically. We’re seeing a peek of that with IG Reels. The algorithm is pushing Reels to compete with TikTok and a lot of brands on IG aren’t using Reels yet. So, if you want to know where your time is likely best spent on IG right now… I’m going to encourage you to start getting familiar with IG Reels.
And there you are! The 6 worst mistakes you can make on Instagram (and how to fix them)!
Remember, social media is ONE piece of the puzzle, it’s not everything. So if you’re looking to grow your business to hit those $10k months and even retire your spouse make sure you’re on the waitlist for Marketing School for Photographers when it opens September 20th, just head over to www.thebeautyinbirth.net/waitlist.
If you’re enjoying the show, make sure to hit SUBSCRIBE so each week’s episodes download automatically. Subscribing is the only way to get our weekly bonus episodes because we don’t send out emails or post about those! 🙂
My friend, if you have a passion – it’s not an accident. Not everyone loves the thing that you love. So whatever your passion is, it’s there for a REASON. What are you going to do with that passion? Get out there and make it happen! Have a great week y’all!
If you’re like me and you LOVE talking all things marketing OR maybe you don’t but you know you need it so that you can get booked with ideal clients – I want to let you know that my group coaching program, Marketing School for Photographers, is opening on September 20th.
You’re going to learn exactly how to execute the 7-step marketing system I used to fill my calendar and retire my husband from his 9-5. We’re opening for the first time since FEBRUARY on September 20 – to get on the waitlist head over to www.thebeautyinbirth.net/waitlist.