Hi, I’m Lauren Bath professional Instagrammer and this is my last post as a guest blogger for Manfrotto. If you’ve been along for the ride you already know a little bit about me and how I’ve managed to turn Instagram into a job in travel photography. I’ve previously spoken about how I learnt photography and what I know about destination marketing and all of that is good and well. However there is no way I would be doing what I am doing if it wasn’t for my followers and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
Hands down the most common question I am asked is how did I get so many followers. It’s obviously of great interest to people and I can see why. Having followers has, quite literally, changed my life. Although it wasn’t something that I set out to do I’m smart enough to recognize what I did right and teach others how they can grow their own social media platforms.
Firstly I was on Instagram in the early days and it was a lot easier to meet people, connect and be seen back then. If you join Instagram today will you have 330,000 followers in two years? It’s unlikely. But you can have more than the average Joe, that’s for sure. And having a great engaged community could be enough for you to do something amazing through social media as well.
My top tips! Obviously I’m going to say take good photos, the better your images the more engagement you will get. Unless you’re a celebrity or a food blogger or fashionista, those are fields I know less about. You can shoot on your mobile and still have great work and a great account. But you need to edit! Don’t point and shoot, master your device whether it’s a top of the line dslr or an iPhone 4. (My weapon of choice at the beginning) Make adjustments in editing software and don’t worry if you’re using apps. I used snapseed app as my sole editing program for years! The better you can get your pics to look the easier it will be to engage people.
Interaction. I’m here to tell you that social media is a two way street! It doesn’t matter if you’re the best photographer in the world, it’s never cool to be a jerk. Don’t just upload pictures and expect praise and adoration to come your way. In social media, as in life, you give and you get. One of my hard rules when using Instagram is to give something back with every upload. Usually that’s going through my home stream to engage with the people that I follow then spending some time answering questions. If you don’t yet have a community then you can spend that time building one by looking for pics that you like and spreading some love.
Consistency is important. If you really want to build up a nice following it’s important to remember consistency. People like to know what they’re getting themselves into when they follow you. Your style, the quality of your images, how often you post are all important. A dedicated macro photographer may find themselves losing followers hand over fist if they suddenly get into motor-x. That’s not to say you can’t have variety but drastic changes never go over well.
Besides the obvious points that I’ve laid out, quality, engagement and consistency, you might also improve your following by doing something different or special. If you’re a great technical photographer you might engage people by offering daily tutorials. If you love to give back to the community you might offer competitions and features on your profile. Some people that I know specialize in the one style, for example your entire account might be based around the antics of your cat. The possibilities are endless when it comes to developing your presence.
Taking it to the next level. If you’re already doing pretty well on Instagram, or whatever your social media platform is, you might want to know how to maintain interest and momentum. For me personally I do this by spending time talking to people, being interviewed and taking opportunities like this, guest blogger for manfrotto. If even a handful of people follow me after reading my posts this month that’s a win for me.
At times it’s hard to fathom how I’ve gone from being a chef to being a leader in my field and someone interesting enough for public speaking, guest blogging and even being on tv. The secret really is to maintain your integrity and always remember where you came from. I never forget that it’s my followers that got me to where I am today. I always strive to work my hardest for every client that hires me and I try not to get a big head about the attention. I have the best job in the world but I appreciate it every single day! Thanks for listening.