Guest Post By Ella Sophie
As a creative business owner, fostering connection with others aligned with your goals and mission is invaluable. Today's post is from someone who is both a colleague and a friend.
Ella is an incredibly talented artist who also traded the east coast for the west coast last year. Though I've guest blogged for her in the past, this is the first time I'm sharing someone else's writing on my site - and I'm excited to share her experiences with you.
Read to learn all about her Instagram evolution:
About a year ago, I moved to Oakland after 6 months of traveling. During that time, I took a break from running my business and never went on social media. I kept my phone turned all the way off, except when I would turn it on every couple of days to send a quick text to my family so they'd know I was still alive.
Well, all that traveling was awesome for me, but not so good for my social media and Instagram. My account had a couple thousand followers that I built up over years of being a photographer. But I didn’t really know who those people were, and most live in NY. My engagement was SO low when I started posting again that it felt pointless to share anything at all. After trying and failing for some time to revive my Instagram, I decided I had to bite the bullet and start over.
This was right around the time that Angie started giving me pointers on how I should be using Instagram. I decided I would go at it with focus. I know that I want my audience to be primarily women. I want them to be local to the San Francisco Bay Area. And, I want them interested in the work I do around empowering women through photography.
It's been 5 months since I started my new account @ellasophiephotographer. And all the tips I got, I’ve put into place. My following is just shy of 700 users. My demographics are exactly where I want them. With 75% being women, 90% being in my target age ranges, and over 40% being local to Oakland, San Francisco and the Bay Area.
My engagement is healthy, with most posts getting around 100 likes, which may not seem like a huge number, but these are all people I want to be reaching. And it feels pretty damn good. Most importantly, I have gotten some awesome clients through Instagram since starting over.
I’d call that a win.
(Editor's Note: That's an engagement rate of 14%.
Most brands and larger accounts are lucky to have 1%. This is higher than average!)
So, what was this magical advice I got from Angie? The most important takeaway is that I need to know what it is that I want from the platform. What’s my end goal? Is it a self esteem boost? Visibility? Driving traffic to my site? Or getting new clients? This goal sometimes changes with specific posts. But I always know what it is that I’m trying to do, instead of haphazardly posting because I feel like I have to.
Angie also talked to me about making sure my captions are authentic. I’m not the only photographer to make lame sounding sales pitches in their captions. She pointed that out for me, and pushed me to write from my heart. Now I share things about my life, or my feelings about the clients, or whatever it is that is true to me in that moment.
Another important tip that I've learned is to know how I want my feed to look and feel. So now I pay attention to my grid. Often I plan posts in advance, with batching in mind, although I still like to be spontaneous with my posts sometimes. And with each post, I think about how I want my audience to feel, and what is the message that I’m putting out there?
I hope that the photos I post inspire people to feel good about themselves. I want to show art, authentic badass women, and true love. Encourage people to make conscious decisions when it comes to fashion. And, I hope that when a woman looks through my feed, she sees the variety of people represented and realizes that she, too, is beautiful. - and that a photoshoot with me is exactly the right thing to do to celebrate one's unique strength. (Check out my session with Angie here.)