July 2, 2021

Can you succeed without an Instagram presence?

Can you succeed without an Instagram presence?

πŸ’― πŸ’― πŸ’― "To me succeeding at any type of social media comes down to three basic principles, value, engagement, and consistency. If you are not providing these three elements, it may not matter at all what platforms you end up choosing."

EP: 27  Instagram might be the most powerful awareness builder on the planet, but does it mean that if you host a dormant account that you can't market to your target audience?  In this episode, I'll talk about the importance of creating intentionality behind the platforms you do choose to engage with.  

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Michael Der  0:02  
You're listening to Artrepreneurs, a podcast that inspires photographers and visual artists to live their best creative lives. My name is Michael Der and I am a full time photographer with nearly 10 years of experience in the freelancing world. And I'm sitting down with an amazing community of visual artists to talk about process, business, and the lessons that have helped them grow. So let's get to it. Artrepreneurs starts right now.

Alright, what is up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of Artrepreneurs, it's so great to have you guys with us. Today is a rare day because I'm going to be talking about social media, something that I admittedly don't do very much. But it is an important part of our marketing. And furthermore, it's simply a relevant topic in our culture. So today, we're going to be dressing many platforms. But in particular, we're going to be using the platform of Instagram as our jumping off point. And there simply aren't many platforms that can connect customers to brands, as powerfully as Instagram does, in a simple snapshot of someone's feed, you can get an immediate sense of brand identity and what is being offered. So it is still very clear that in 2021, Instagram is one of the most popular and most powerful marketing tools in the world. It's also not for everybody, there are many reasons why people drop the platform entirely. With changing algorithms and decreasing engagement metrics, it can be a very inconsistent and therefore frustrating tool to rely on. So while some accounts can grow their brand exponentially through it, others may struggle to get any type of return on the time invested into it. It also isn't the friendliest of platforms to control the publication of one's work, which is simply a nice way of saying that Instagram is an open invitation to have your content appropriated and stolen. without your knowledge. It's also been known to diminish mental health in some by curating the best visual lives of others making it seem By comparison, that their lives aren't as good. And so whatever the reason, maybe for taking an Instagram sabbatical or by dropping an entirely. The question for this episode, is can you build successful marketing in today's day without an active Instagram presence? 

Now, I will first and foremost, start off with the disclaimer that I am not an expert on Instagram growth or social media marketing and sales. What I have is simply a lot of feedback from a laundry list of professional creatives through dozens of workshops, assignments, interviews, and organically built relationships. So I received an array of opinions on what has and hasn't worked in creative marketing over the years. And with that, I'm going to make the claim today that you In fact, can succeed with a dormant Instagram account, or even a non existent one, because ultimately, it's not about staving off marketing as a whole. Rather, it's about choosing which ones you know you can succeed at. Now, I do want to be clear, I am not saying that you should opt out of Instagram, I honestly think it's the one social media platform that every business should have. But with that being said, if you do opt to focus your efforts on other platforms that yield higher returns, I'm totally in your corner, you're better off doubling down on something you and your audience will connect with, rather than spreading yourself too thin over six platforms that you don't contribute to. So my objective for you today is to bring intentionality to your social media choices. If Instagram is losing its impact for you don't delete the account, but focus on something that will bring you more success. And to do that, we need to identify what success looks like in this space. 

To me succeeding at any type of social media comes down to three basic principles, value, engagement, and consistency. If you are not providing these three elements, it may not matter at all what platforms you end up choosing. So let's flip this notion and start asking ourselves, what platform encourages me to bring the most value to those I seek to serve, what platform fits the style of engagement I'm looking to cultivate with my audience. And what platform allows me to publish and promote consistently. So let's break these questions down one by one. 

The first one is value. And there are two parts to this. The first part is identifying what type of value your audience needs. And the second part is identifying which platform best delivers that service. So if you can identify what your target audience needs, you're really halfway there. It's really quite simple. The other part is simply delivering it to them. But what makes it not so simple, is the amount of advertisement and self promotion that we're exposed to on a daily basis makes it seem like that's what we should be doing to and everywhere you look someone is posting a photo that they're really proud of, or something that establishes the excitement of their brand. And just because some creatives and small businesses can rely solely on the promotion of their lifestyle and their work, doesn't mean that method works for everyone across the board. At a certain point, we reserve that success to the selective few, the rest becomes noise. So in order to rise above the noise, we need to focus more on providing value to our audience. Let me give you a few examples. Maybe your wedding photographer instead of relying solely on images you've made. What if you posted posing tips for newly engaged couples or maybe you're a CPA for photographers, instead of just posting branding images? What if you created educational carousels on basic tax terminology. Andrea stern of stern reps is an agency representative for commercial photographers, but she stands out as unique because her account acts as a free resource forum for all photography questions. This

Is 100% value. Now certainly someone like Andrea stern is a bonafide expert in her field, and maybe you're just starting out. But you don't have to be of that pedigree to give back value. Simply posting behind the scenes of your process, or a before and after photo are all great ways to provide value. It's not just providing value to your creative colleagues. It also assures your prospective clients that you're equipped to do the job. So once you've determined what type of value your audience might need, ask yourself what platform matches your style, what is going to allow you to deliver said message. If you want to share daily affirmations for your coaching business. Maybe Twitter is the platform you want to double down on. If you're trying to sell your lighting tutorials, maybe you should be focusing on YouTube content. If you want to host more community conversations about your industry, maybe you should be focusing on clubhouse. And if you're trying to showcase your mood board concepts to creative directors, maybe leveraging Pinterest is ideal for you. 

Number two, what platform will allow you to create better engagement. Now engagement like value is somewhat subjective, your definition of good engagement may differ from the next person, and it may actually differ from platform to platform on Instagram content that gets liked shared, saved, swiped or commented on are all acts of measurable engagement. You may not be able to receive that on LinkedIn or Snapchat or tik tok. So instead determine what kind of engagement you actually want. Do you want more personal connection? Do you want vanity metrics instead? Would you rather have legitimate feedback on your products or services. When I realized that I wasn't getting any response through my blog positive or negative, I focused instead on creating a deeper audience connection and loyalty through a podcast. And the added benefit was that it matched my natural style, I'm really not good at creating witty anecdotes in 280 characters or less, I'm far better suited doing 10 to 15 minute podcast episodes. And now I receive emails, phone calls, texts and direct messages from my audience that gives me the feedback that I've been looking for this level of connection has been so much deeper and more meaningful than any other platform that I've used. For others. I've seen them use Twitter as a conversational chat room, which suits their writing style a little bit better, and gives them the direct feedback that they're looking for. I've also seen content creators on YouTube generate massive amounts of response on their products and services, because their style was far more production based than stream of conscious based. So there is no right or wrong platform to use. But just know that your style may fit a platform more seamlessly than others. Maybe you don't like any social media, and that's okay too. Nobody said social media was the only way to market perhaps you're the type of person that likes to build products. And putting together a quarterly photo book is your style, why not double down on that? 

Three, consistency. So if you've identified what your audience really needs, and you've determined the best way to create engagement, the last part is finding a way to be consistent, which is the hardest part of all consistency will use search changing algorithms. So find the platform that you know you will be a mainstay presence on. Personally, I am in awe of fellow photographers who post to Instagram three to five times a week like clockwork that is not in my capacity nor my skill set. I do however, post a podcast episode every single week. That is my zone of consistency. So what do you think you can do in a repeatable fashion, and it may not have to be that frequently. If you can commit to a monthly email newsletter to your clients, I promise you, you're gonna be ahead of most people who just rely on posting to Instagram. In fact, some of the most successful photographers I know have very little consistency on Instagram, what they're doing behind closed doors is emailing, calling and sending promos directly to their clients every single quarter. That type of consistency is huge. 

And this is not a promotion to jump off Instagram. Like I said, I think it's the one social media platform that you should have. But if you are frustrated by the lack of return on it, if you do feel your mental health is taking a hit through it, focus on alternative measures that can deliver the same message find out what your audience is looking for, determine what platform can drive that engagement, and establish a routine that you can be consistent with. I want to thank you all so much for tuning in and supporting this show everyone Artrepreneurs is back next Friday with brand new content. This is Michael there signing off for now. Thank you everybody. Take care, and have a great week.

Hey, everybody, this is Michael Der thank you so much for making it all the way to the end of the episode. I hope you'll follow tag and engage with us on our Instagram account at @Artrepreneurspod. We've also launched our website Artrepreneurspod.com. It is the central hub where you can sign up for our newsletter, read our blog posts, send us voicemails, and even access discounts from our amazing affiliates. It's also the perfect spot to shout out entrepreneurs with what would be an immensely appreciated five star rating and review. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can even make a small donation that's really gonna help accelerate the growth of this podcast. But no matter what you do, folks, I just want to say thank you so much for supporting this program. There are a lot of great photography podcasts out there and I am just grateful to have gained your trust even for a moment. Take care of you want to see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai