When my mom asked me recently what Instagram was and how it worked, I admit, I was at a bit of a loss of words to explain it to her. It’s a social media platform, that is mobile friendly, where the content is visual, and you connect through likes and follows….. and, her attention strayed and she was on to something else.
There has to be a better way to describe what Instagram is and what it offers. So, I thought I'd give it a go!
When I joined Instagram, I also knew nothing about it. At all. I read the same articles and bullet points, kind of like what I wrote above, and they really didn’t make much sense to me and seemed to just be disjointed pieces of descriptors that didn't really paint a full picture. But, then, I learn by doing. So, I just dove in and joined! Once I started using the platform a little, and started growing my page, then I realized, these bullet points that people use to describe Instagram just don’t do it justice.
Instagram for me is like a virtual magazine that I show to the world, that displays the work I am doing, and let's people get to know me a little through imagery, and that is always being updated. It’s also one of the best and most effective networking tools for creatives that exists, in my opinion. As I am doing with my page, so are millions of other like minded's doing with theirs. The opportunities grow as your following and engagement does. So, while the learning curve for the platform is fairly small, the breadth and depth of the benefits of Instagram become more clear over time, and I find that I am continually discovering out new ways to meet and engage with people on it.
The basic form of engagement, the ‘follow’, happens immediately after you join. Instagram will send you accounts that they suggest you might want to follow. And, I think you also have the opportunity to invite friends from Facebook over to your account as well.
Once you get going, and start posting, you’ll probably discover the wonderful and vast world of the hashtag. When you use hashtags on your photo descriptions, this starts to connect you with so many new and like minded people and accounts. And, the number of them is almost endless. It’s a great way to find new people, find new accounts of people who you might want to start following in order to learn from, and also start to engage with potential clients.
But, that’s just the beginning. There are so many incredible ways to optimize your time on the platform and make it work for you. It can be a bit of an investment. But, for me, as a photographer, it’s the main social media platform that I use regularly. And, once you get into a posting and engagement rhythm, it becomes second nature.
I’m going to be doing a series of posts on how creatives can optimize Instagram as a networking and marketing tool. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for more focused posts on how to utilize the platform most effectively. Thanks for reading!