INSTAGRAM – SIX MONTHS AND 1,000 FOLLOWERS LATER – WHAT I’VE LEARNED

 

 

Phew, it’s taken me a little more than six months but I’ve finally gathered a thousand followers on Instagram (…Beyoncé must be feeling the pressure).

Thank you to those who’ve come along for the ride.

It’s been fun and I plan to continue posting in 2019 (though maybe a little less so) as I’ve enjoyed sharing my photos and photography tips on a daily basis, while engaging with an international fraternity of photographers.

The biggest surprise?

Well, it would have to be the time involved. I’d estimate it takes me about half an hour – on average – to search my library and process an image, write the tip and upload it to Instagram. Then I’d add at least an hour a day of engagement and studying the work of other photographers, which means I’ve spent a staggering 270 hours or just over 11 straight days on this social media platform since I started (I’ve largely dropped all other social media by the way).

I certainly had no idea this level of commitment would be necessary when I started (and, from what I gather, this is not excessive).

This said, passing the 1,000 followers mark sees me introducing a couple of “efficiency measures” in 2019, aimed at breaking the so-called Instagram addiction when I start work again next month. The plan is for no social media from 9-5 week days, or within an hour of when I get up or when I go to bed. I’ll also post less regularly – probably three times a week, rather than daily.

For photographers interested in a few things I’ve learned along the way which might be helpful, click on the View Full Post below:

  • From a business perspective,  I’ve received no direct commercial benefit after six months on Instagram. However, I have gained access to a new audience of clients which has since commissioned me, we have sold more images to new buyers through our on-line photo library, and more people further afield are now aware of my work and have been in touch.
  • I have recognized the potential to monetise my Instagram feed by selling my work (books, prints merchandise etc) and attracting  sponsorship  – though I don’t plan to add a shopping facility to my site and promote it until I have a much larger following (10,000 appears to be the magic figure from what I’ve read).
  • I have a new, increasingly popular tool to promote my photography (an on-line portfolio of images that is easily accessible worldwide through Instagram).
  • Gathering huge numbers of followers continues to be a mystery to me (especially given the vacuous content of some of the big number sites I’ve studied, he says). I bought – then deleted – a couple of apps to grow my following – and I’ve considered the services offered by on-line gurus to do the same – but I decided it wasn’t for me. I have 1,000 people following me who appear genuinely interested in my pics and posts – 10% to 20% who like or comment whenever I put something up – which I think is enough of a “sugar hit” for one day. At this stage, I’m ok with a slow and steady incline of organic followers based on solid content – particularly as the people I’m working with are growing increasingly aware that vast numbers of followers on social media are a long way from “bums on seats.”…..(Still, I can’t help thinking I’d have a lot more followers if I could work out how to reach them, he adds).
  • Posting early in the morning – and frequently – seems to work for me. Engaging with my followers comments – which I’m happy to do anyway – also helps maintain the figure.
  • I post to attract four specific groups of followers – my clients in the travel industry, travel media (particularly editors), potential clients and photographers (those eager to learn and those who have something to teach me). As you can see, the number of people I follow is relatively low.
  • I know little about “Instagram etiquette” and my response to the photos of people I follow is simple. If the photo appeals to me, I “like” it and, if its exceptional, I’ll comment with genuine praise. Hopefully, my posts are treated the same way. As I wrote to someone recently who drew my attention to the fact I was not liking enough of their photos, at least they knew when I did, I meant it.
  • I’ve enjoyed becoming part of a global network of photographers – a fraternity of like-minded, creative people with similar interests.
  • Instagram has been a huge inspiration to me as a photographer. My world has expanded to see, and appreciate, photography previously outside of interest or experience.
  • Through comparison, I now have a sense of my place in the realm of international travel photography and I have a newfound eagerness to become better in my niche. I credit Instagram as being the catalyst to what I call a “Renaissance Period” in my photography where – at 60 – I couldn’t enjoy my photography more.
  • I’m enjoying writing (I always have) but the fact I have a post to write regularly, brings a refreshing discipline and clarity to my thinking.
  • As a professional photographer, engaging with Instagram has proved a productive way to relax.
  • Instagram has changed my business model and sees me prepared to reduce my direct income in order to grow my audience and my passive income opportunities by travelling more widely to places of interest.
  • I’ve learned of the power – and pleasure – of passing on what I’ve learned, so-much-so, I’ve decided to include training (workshops, individual tutoring courses and a self-help book) in my future business model.

So, there you have it, a few points off the top of my head for those who are sharing the Instagram journey.

If you have read this far and you have even just one tip to share (particularly about reaching more followers organically), I’d be grateful to hear it.

Otherwise, I’m on a mission in 2019 to gather at least 9,000 more followers.