4 Ways I'm using Instagram Differently for my Photography Business in 2022
If you ask me, I think a LOT is changing with social media for 2022. And I don't just mean all the obvious changes you see, the constant changes of algorithms and new features like reels.
I think the way people are using it, and the way they want to use it, are changing too. The way we feel overall about social media is changing. And I think in many ways, it's refreshing and good.
For the sake of this post, I am really only going to talk specifically about Instagram, because it's where I am seeing these changes and which platform I use the most personally. But I would be willing to bet there are shifts happening on other platforms as well.
Here are 3 ways I am approaching Instagram differently for 2022, and some of the shifts and changes I see happening that I think are important to know when making your marketing, content and strategy plans this year.
ONE: I'm giving all the 'schedules' the middle finger
I've taken Instagram courses, I've bought guides and books, I've listened to all the 'experts' tell me all the methods and tricks. And a LOT of what I've learned over the years, I'm throwing out the window this year. Remember, I said I am feeling a BIG shift. And one of the FIRST things I'm throwing out the window, the schedules. I’ve been taught SO many of the “right” ways to grow my following. Post 1x a day on my feed, 5 reels a week, stories daily, and rotate my content and topics in this methodical way that you need detailed spreadsheets to understand and remember...Holy fuck is this daunting.
And to think when I started my Instagram account I was slapping heavy vignettes and in app VSCO filters of fresh strawberries I cut. (It's true, you can scroll all the way back to see all of it in it's essence if you really want) And it's come to...this?
Here is what I’ve found: When I’m constantly trying to meet a quota, my content is subpar at best. Because it’s forced. So this year, while I am a fan of strategy, I’m going to be abandoning a lot of the rules about how often I need to post. While, still being mindful of some best practices, I am not going to post just for the sake of posting. I do still think most days, if possible, you should have something in your stories, so you stay at the front of people's minds, active, and engaged, but this doesn't mean you can't ever take a freaking day off. My advice to you, is don't post just to post. Whether you prefer to plan out your content or create on the fly, be intentional. Everyone is SO overwhelmed by SO much content at this point, that constantly flooding the feeds isn't really the best strategy in my opinion. Subpar daily content does NOT seem to get more engagement over a few days a week highly engaging content.
Quality over quantity.
If I have something to say, I’ll say it. If I want to share, I’ll share.
But, from now on, I won’t just post in order to get a check mark on another to do list.
TWO: I'm throwing the scripts in the trash
It's almost embarrassing to admit, but I've gotten actual scripts for social media, and specifically Instagram captions. Of course I made them my own, and wrote what I wanted, but I've gotten templates with courses and things I've purchased that give you a whole methodology of 'hook, caption, info, call to action'. A whole 'this is how to hook 'em in, give the info they need or want, then get them to comment with a call to action' strategy. Once you know this, you can't unknow it. It's one of those things.
And once I learned it, I saw it everywhere.
Here is my feeling right now: The whole, 'script' is tired. It's old. It's as old and tired as the whole 'cold call' in the dm's pretending to be interested in talking with someone and it's SO awkward, and clear, they are trying to sell you something. The whole, use a HOOK to capture their attention, and ask a dumbass question at the end just for the sake of trying to get more comments to increase engagement, is annoying. I think we have hit a point where people have caught on and we need to stop acting like everyone is so dumb they don't know what we're doing. I'm not saying don't ever use call to actions, those are incredibly important, in the right place and when they are genuine. But just like we don't need to post just to post, we don't need to ask questions we don't actually want answers too.
THREE: I am scrolling less, creating more
Try and scroll less, and be more intentional. This one is really the hard one for me, if I'm being honest, but will assist in making sure I’m spending less time on Instagram in general. Which is one of my overall goals. Less time on Instagram that isn't intentional and actually helping me engage, enjoy, or move my business forward. Mindless and endless scrolling has got to go. I'm super guilty of falling into this trap and it drives me crazy. So I am making a real attempt at reeling this bad habit in a bit.
Here is the thing: So many of us complain we spend SO much time on social media, but see little results. It's because we aren't on they're doing anything of importance. And we are consuming far more than we are creating. Don't beat yourself up too much, this is the apps JOB to do this to you. To get you hooked. It's hard not to fall for it. But you'll feel so much better if you use this app intentionally (sorry, I keep saying that word) and it actually starts to work for you.
FOUR: I don't care about a pretty feed anymore
So for years we have all been focused on curating the perfect feed on Instagram. In fact, I would go far as to say the influence of having a cohesive grid on Instagram has been so large that people have changed their own style for it. Photographers have focused on only showing clients with certain clients in brand colors, and people have hidden so much GOOD STUFF in fear that if that grid wasn't a work of art in itself, that they wouldn't be deemed an expert. I admit, I have been one of those people that it bothered. If two similar images 'touched' each other in the grid, I would cringe. Should I delete it?
Here is why I don't give a shit anymore: No one cares. Especially now. With the introduction of reels, it seems suddenly that was one of the shifts needed in order to break us from this madness. Between IG now having stories, reels, and so much going on, people aren't even looking at the grid as much, let alone as a whole and worried if it's cohesive. In fact, people seem to be more attracted to the authenticity of words over your reel covers mixed in with images, carousel posts. Embrace the mess. I think everyone is here for it.
I think a lot of us are overwhelmed and exhausted with Instagram, but still so addicted we aren’t sure where to start. So check in with yourself, and do what makes YOU happy, and don’t worry how it makes anyone else feel. I have long subscribed to ‘I can’t quit social because of my business’, and true or not, it doesn’t mean I can’t have better boundaries or be more mindful of how I utilize my time on it.
Worry less this year about what the 'experts' have told you, and do what feels right. I think it's more important to be consistent overall, and even if you only post twice a week, I truly believe if you do it consistently, and with purpose, you'll find it will work for you.