How to Reach Your Ideal Client on Instagram

Photo Courtesy of Megan Breukelman

Let’s talk about something that all of us admittedly spend way too much time on: Instagram. We all know that the platform can be beneficial for our businesses, but i can be hard to know where to start. Instagram marketing has been such a shapeshifting game over the last few years (and even months!) for business owners, and is evolving more and more into a pay-to-play situation. So where does that leave independent business owners? Despite the ever-changing algorithm, it IS possible to attract your ideal wedding photography clients with Instagram.

Let’s be honest, Instagram can feel time-consuming or less-than-rewarding for photographers. But that’s because many don’t have the time to implement well thought-out strategy into their Instagram marketing plans. Getting in front of your clients on Instagram doesn’t cost a thing, doesn’t take long to implement, and is so rewarding when your clients start rolling in. Don’t pour your money into Instagram and Facebook ads just yet—let’s take a step back and look at some of the free methods that wedding photographers can market to their dream clients on Instagram.

Using Instagram Stories to build a connection

These days, many of your potential clients are turning to Stories over posts in their Instagram feed. They’re easy to swipe through, and they occupy that prime top-of-the-app real estate. They’re the first thing you see when you open the Instagram app! Now more than ever, your business needs to be using Instagram Stories in its strategy. Plus, when users view your profile, your Story highlights are the very first thing they can tap on, right above your carefully curated grid.

Your Story highlights are an opportunity to share portfolio previews, reviews from couples, and a little more insight as to who is behind the brand. This strategy can often be overlooked, as photographers can find themselves preoccupied with their curated grid.Regularly adding to your stories and highlights shows people that you’re busy, you’re active, and you’re you. Stories are a way for potential clients to connect with your brand on a personal level and see the behind-the-scenes of your business. Wedding photography is such a personal investment, and your clients want to know who exactly they’re considering working with. 48% of millennials are more likely to buy from a brand if they know the people behind it, so let your potential clients get to know you! Instead of making them navigate all the way to your blog, show them a glimpse of who you are right in your Instagram Stories.

Harnessing the power of Instagram Live

Yes, it’s scary, but hopping on Instagram Live to connect with your couples is another way to give them a sense of who you are as a person. Going live is also a great way to educate your couples on need-to-know information for their wedding that you have as an experienced professional, and to show your audience a little more grit and behind-the-scenes action from your business.

If going live makes you nervous, an alternative to this is to create videos where you’re showing your face and are talking to the camera. This way, you’re still showing up for your business, but with less pressure than going live. Talk to your audience directly and let them know what you’re all about. Get them invested in you as an artist and as a human being. Share details on your life and business, answer FAQs, and give people a more rounded sense of your brand.

Photo Courtesy of Megan Breukelman

Interact with people who are following wedding vendors

One obstacle photographers find with their Instagram audience is that their primary follower base is other photographers. Sure, they may support you and gather inspiration, but those aren’t the same people that are going to invest in your services.Many new followers of wedding vendors are people who are recently engaged (or are suspecting they’re about to be!). Take some time out of your day to interact with accounts who are recently following vendors that are early on in their planning process like venues, planners and officiants. Watch their stories, comment on their photos, and be their hype person! Take a peek on their account for the classic engagement-gram, and leave them some love.

As a wedding photographer,  you should prioritize reaching your ideal clients over follower count, so it’s important to work with vendors that align with your brand. Are there certain venues that you LOVE to photograph? How about certain wedding dress salons that you know cater to your dream brides? Seek out those who fit the profile of your ideal client in those who are engaging with your favorite vendors.

Get specific with localized hashtags

Maybe you’re tagging your ‘grams with #weddingphotographer #weddingphotography— that’s great! But it won’t allow local couples to find you. Use localized hashtags on Instagram for a better shot at local leads. Instead of a generic #weddings hashtag, give #NewYorkWeddings a try. Hashtag local spots where you’re shooting,  like #BrooklynBotanicGardens #ProspectPark over #NYC – you’d be surprised at how many people are lurking on those localized hashtags!

Instagram is a great way for couples to scout out vendors that they really want to work with. So make it easier for them by getting local! Yes, hashtags in bigger cities are more saturated than other places, but it’s MUCH easier to find posts and stories tagged #BrooklynWeddingPhotographer over #WeddingPhotographer for couples scouting in the area.

Photo Courtesy of Megan Breukelman

Tag your fellow vendors

Always, always, always tag the wedding vendors who are involved in your posts. People who may have signed on with a certain venue, or florist, or officiant will be scouting their tagged photos. When you tag the vendors you work with, it’s more than likely that you’ll be reposted or put onto their Instagram Stories. Plus, your post ends up in their “tagged photos”, which is another feed your work can sneak its way into. Getting new eyes through a fellow vendor’s audience is a terrific way to ensure that you connect with people who are looking to book. Plus, if you’re working with a vendor you like, it’s more than likely that their clients are the same types of couples that you’d like to book yourself.

Attract your ideal wedding photography clients with Instagram

Keeping active on Instagram is important for wedding photographers. That being said, it’s equally as important to remember two things:

  1. Instagram isn’t the only space for wedding photographers. There’s tons of opportunity on Facebook, Pinterest, and even Twitter.
  2. Instagram isn’t a numbers game. I’ve had leads come from a wedding photography account with 400 followers at the time, and leads come from an account with 18,000 followers. It’s about how you use the tools that you have at your disposal with Instagram. 

Instagram is just one tool to use in your photography business, but it can be a valuable one to find wedding photography leads that align with your brand. Take a look into your Instagram strategy and see what you’re doing to attract and cater to your ideal clients. Are you showing up for your brand? Who are your primary followers? Give yourself an Instagram audit and see what you can do to attract more dream clients.

Megan Breukelman is a Brooklyn wedding photographer and host of The Photo Opp Podcast. In her free time, she’s on an endless search for baked goods and smiling faces.

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