Kate Moss, photographed by Peter Lindbergh, for Harper’s Bazaar (US), 2009
I don’t grow sick of seeing these stars, planets, our galaxy.
June 28 2020
MAKING MULTIPLE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS OR GROWING THE ONE I HAVE?
Trying to grow your instagram account is not an easy thing to do. I’ve found the usual advice with promises of expanded following, farther reach, more interaction, and all that fun stuff. I’m going to compare what I’ve been doing to the things I’ve leaned this week and then overview what I’m going to change about how I use instagram. But, before we do, let’s backtrack a little bit and quickly go over the things I’ve leaned this week: the basic stages of instagram and what you should be doing in each one.
Growing and maintaining
It’s exactly what it sounds like. You’re new to instagram and photography and you should be taking photos of everything and posting a little of everything until you find something you like.
Hashtags ## are another things you should be looking at in this stage: What tags work for you and different subject matter (e.g., nature, street, birds, food, etc.). I’m not going to get into hashtags in this because from what I know and have learned, Instagram’s algorithm seems to change every four months, making tagging information dated quite quickly. The only thing I will say is that you should split your tags between General and Specific tags. Basically, General tags are tags that have a hit count of over one million and Specific tags have a hit count of under one million.
Yes, there is a lot more to hashtags than just this, but to be honest, I’m still learning them myself. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The results vary and it can all be confusing. (If you want to read about my experience with tagging photos, let me know and I’ll make another post about it).
When you should start to establish yourself is up to you. I’ve been doing this for two years now and I think I’m just starting this phase. There are a few things professionals recommend to start doing during this time:
Make a posting schedule. This is the time and day you consistently post content (e.g., Monday at 10 a.m. and Thursday at 9 p.m.)
Theme and Style. This is the subject matter you post and how you colour grade it (e.g., Birds, nature, city streets, food etc.)
Branding. What do you do? What are you selling? Show your followers why they should be following you and why they should use your service.
Only post your best images. I think this one is a bit vague and kind of overused. If you’re selling yourself, you should always put your best foot forward. But keep it to what you’re selling! Your posts should relate to what you do. Anything else like personal posts should be put in your story and later in a highlight.
Engage with your audience. Before you post, let your audience know that you’re active and again after you post so when they comment and ask questions on your latest post, you’re right there to answer them.
Before and After shots & Behind the Scenes. This one isn’t for everyone, but if you do a lot of Photoshop work, you may want to have the finished image in front and then a swipe to see the raw/unedited file(s). Same with studio shots; consider a phone snap to show what your set up is like.
Be personal. If you’re trying to sell yourself, the client wants to know what kind of person they are hiring. So post some personal stuff to your Instagram stories. E.g., You with clients, social life, and pets. But don’t overdo it. Most people don’t want to go though fifty story photos of your life just to find today’s art post
Growing and Maintaining
What’s working and not working for you? If you are consistently posting twice a week and you’re finding that one day is not getting as much reach as the other day, then try changing it up. Instagram has a bunch of analytic tools for business and creative accounts including Audience View so you see what day your followers are most active and at what time (this does change all the time, so take it for what you will).
Trends & Mass Media. Giving the people what they want doesn’t mean you should be catering everything to your audience. Well, I mean yes, you should be, but you should also be posting what you like. If there’s a big news story or something is trending, try to post something that relates to it (e.g., sports, if your home team is doing well then post something about them)
Are you happy with what you’re doing? If you answer yes, then continue to. If no, then you should take some time and reflect on what kind of content you are posting, and why you started taking photos and posting them to Instagram in the first place. If the answer is that you are unhappy because your following is small and you believe you are doing everything you can to increase it, then unfortunately this might be as big as your following gets. If you’re not happy with this, then you should once again reflect on why you started this journey in the first place. To express your self, promote your business, or just to get followers.
Now that I’ve summarized what I’ve learned form this week let’s compare it to what I actually do.
I consider myself to be in the establishing phase right now, but from the looks of it, I may still be a starter.
Schedule for posting. Not really. Right now I’m experimenting with sets of three posts that go along with my most recent YouTube video, but my following is also under 200 people right now so I’m not sure this is super important to me
Theme and Style. This is hard for me and why I’m considering making a second account. I don’t want to limit myself to just posting one thing and keeping a consistent style seams hard for someone that one day will shoot the city and shoot nature the next, and I know what you’re going to say “just colour grade it the same.” Again, personal problem: I like dark moody city posts and bright colourful nature posts and now I’m playing around with product photography and a lot of those are solid background colours (mostly white or black).
Only Your Best (Or the “bangers” if you’re hip on Instagram lingo). This is probably one I can start following more. Recently, I do feel like I have been posting only a few good photos out of the sets (remember I’m experimenting with sets of 3, and often with multiple images per post) so I could either make fewer posts with more images or at least make sure there is a great image in front of the other ones.
Before and After. This is something I’ve played around with in both posts and stories. Swipe to see before and again to see half edited and half raw, as well as trying a tap to edit for story highlights
Be personal. This is not something I’ve done very well, partly because my phone plan doesn’t have data so I can’t just post while I’m out and about taking photos and also because my day job is working on theatre and film props, which is not photography related at all and also full of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements). I also have another account for this kind of stuff, so if anyone is really interested they can follow that.
I’m not even going to go into growing and maintaining because I don’t think I’m there yet. The only thing I can do right now is tailer some posts to the masses.
So what am I going to be doing? I still want to shoot everything because I like creating and I don’t want to limit myself to just one or two things. I will pick two days that I will post to my feed and if I want to share photos that I like but don’t have a place in my feed at that moment, they will just go in a story and maybe a highlight.
I’m also going to start keeping a consistent colour theme. It’s summer right now, so orange and yellow would be the proper colour to use.
I’m going to try this for four to six months and see what happens and after that, I may start a second account just for nature photos and the only reason I’m not starting one right now is because I feel like if I do, all I would be doing is mass postings or bombarding feeds with random quality posts since I don’t feel like I take enough great photos to be consistent. I’m also not travelling and you can only post so many photos of the same species of birds that live in your city, the few green spaces surrounded by tall buildings, or of the same local beaches.
Anyways if you made it this far thank you so much. You are awesome.
If you want to check out my work links below.
Look at that blue winter sky