Very often people contact me to ask how I built a community around photography on my Instagram account. They are quite surprised to hear that my growth has been completely organic and I have never purchased a single ‘fake’ follower on the internet.
As I mentioned in a previous article, Instagram is a great social network to share your photographs. Firstly, its interface is optimal to showcase your work, as the image takes most of the space compared to its description. Secondly, it was first embraced by several photographers, who were enthusiastic about its look and ease to use. As a result, you can find many great artists and be inspired by their work. Finally, you can access several communities, image pools and inspiring stories almost seamlessly.
The greatest benefit of Instagram is its size. It is the second most viewed social network on the internet and you can access million of users with a simple post. However, this magnificent advantage is a terrible drawback as well. Indeed, your photographs compete against million of others to be viewed and to take a few seconds of your followers’ time. This is why, it is crucial to make your photograph as appealing as possible and avoid your followers to pass by without being impressed by your work.
If you are interested to find out how to increase the engagement with you followers, I would recommend to read my previous article on the subject. Today, I would like to give you a few more tips to make sure that your post can reach as many people as possible, increasing your work visibility.
Tip 1: Embrace the Hashtag
#streetphotography top posts, 2017
As most of you know already, an hashtag is a word – or sentence with no space between words – which is written after a hash sign. Some researches show that you can get up to 80% more engagement thanks to hashtags. Obviously, the most adequate tags depend on your genre and content.
Every time your use an hashtag, Instagram recognises it and puts your photograph in a pool of images, which have been tagged using the same word or sentence. This means that your photograph can be viewed by anyone looking for that specific hashtag even if they do not follow you. This is great for several reasons. Firstly, because people looking for a specific keyword are genuinely interested in that research. This increases the chances of receiving a like or follow enormously. Secondly, it gives you the chance of comparing your wok against the one of other phenomenal artists, who share your same passions and focus. This is great as it keeps you pushing your own limits and improving. Finally, Instagram will pool the most liked photographs per hashtag and showcase 9 on them on the top of the hashtag research page. If you are able to collect enough likes, you might receive a great exposure by being pinned on the top of your hashtag page.
#streetphotography most recent posts, 2017
Tip 2: Use a Geo-Tag
New York geotag, 2017
A very similar concept applies to geo-localisation. By using the right tag, you can can be pooled with millions more photographs and receive greatan visibility. Very often the same localisation will be used by other people nearby or by users who are interested in visiting that place. As a consequence, users will be interested in your content, especially if they find it genuinely inspiring.
As you might know, Instagram has recently introduced a story mode, which is very similar to the one offered by Snapchat. This function allows you to make photographs and record videos and share them with your followers. Such content will be visible for 24 hours and then will disappear. Recently, Instagram has also integrated the possibility of geo-tagging your stories. When users look for a specific location on Instagram now, they can view standard content and stories, which have been geo-tagged in that location too. This is great as it increases the chances of being viewed enormously.
Tip 3: Go wide
An interesting peculiarity of Instagram is its image format. Instagram shows photographs in a squared fashion, exactly as the one of an old Hasselblad. However, most of the modern cameras do not produce a squared image. Indeed, 35mm ratio will be 3:2, for instance. Over time, we got used to this rectangular format and Instagram tries to break this habit.
For a long time, I have being using all sort of apps to make sure that my rectangular photograph could fit in the squared slot on Instagram without cutting anything from the image. Recently, I realised that this is not an optimal option. Instagram has recently introduced a small button that allows you to show your image in its original format on the home; while putting in a sqaured slot on your gallery.
This allows you to offer your followers the best experience possible. They can enjoy the full image on the home, while being impressed by a huge squared preview on your gallery. This is optimal to boost your viability too. Indeed, the larger the image, the more time your followers will need to pass it by. This means that your chances to receive a like increase as well.