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I'm Mylah, a luxury wedding photographer based in Austin, Texas, capturing timeless and tangible memories that celebrate marriage.
It’s no secret that if you’re a creative business owner or in the wedding industry, if you get me talking about business, I will give you so many action-oriented tips for how to get your business going! At the open house for Twisted Ranch last weekend, the same thing happened. One of our favorite bakery owners approached me to thank me for sharing some of our photos of her work with her. We like to share our images with our vendors, as we know it’s a team effort and we couldn’t take the photos we do without their talent! So, we freely share our work with our favorite vendors! She thanked me for sharing the photos and said something about needing to be better about posting to Instagram . . . so . . . I started spewing tips that I think could help ALL creative business owners. Here is a bit of what was shared in that conversation about how to use Instagram for creative businesses.
She said she didn’t know what to post and felt that her audience on Instagram would get bored of her just posting her beautiful cakes. Yes and no. Your audience DOES want to see what you do! They hired you (or are looking to hire you) for your talent, so they WANT to see your work. If it’s cakes, flowers, or beauty, your audience wants to see what you can do for them, so post your work!
But . . . they also want to see the artist behind the work! They want to know who they are hiring and want to know if they like you and can trust you. Knowing this, post some images of yourself! You should be posting images of your face, so they can see your eyes. This sounds weird, but people want to make “eye contact” with you and read your facial expressions. Beyond posting a nice head shot, you can post images of you behind the scenes. What does it look like where you work? Post a picture of you in the bakery! What is your favorite part of your job? Post a picture of you pipping a cake or adding flowers to the top. How messy does it get when you’re mixing cake batter? Post a picture of your hands covered in flour, making you more relatable to your audience.
It may surprise you, but the photos that get the MOST amount of engagement on my Instagram feed are those that have me and/or Dylan (my husband and second shooter on wedding days) in them, NOT the gorgeous wedding photos we take . . . Yea – that should really tell you how important it is to make sure your face is showing up in your feed! Here is the shot that is my ALL-TIME most liked and most-engaged with image:
Back to our baker friend, she can also post photos of her brides and grooms cutting into their wedding cake or photos of the babies smashing into their birthday cake. Show other people enjoying your product or service. If other people like you and your product, your potential client sees that as a recommendation. If other people have had a great experience with you, the potential client will sense that they’ll also get that same great experience.
You can only say “loved creating this GORGEOUS cake!!” so many times, am I right?!? I’ve found that telling stories to go along with the pretty pictures makes it easier. It’s human nature to want to hear (or read) stories. Stories are how we, as a species, passed down information for centuries. To this day, humans still want to listen to stories. Be a story-teller with your posts. You can tell your own stories or the stories of your clients, but tell the stories so that you can connect with your potential clients. With your headshots, tell me (your audience on Instagram) why you got into baking or share your favorite flavor combinations. Educate me about the process or answer a question that you get asked all. the. time. about your craft.
When you post a picture of your work, tell me about why that client picked the flavors they did. Maybe the bride has sweet memories of making strawberry jam with her grandmother as a child, so she wanted to have a strawberry filling in her cake. Maybe the groom would pick pecans up for his granddad, then they’d sit and eat them together, so he wanted pecans incorporated into his. Maybe there was a special diet from an important person at the wedding, but you happily accommodate special requests (gluten-free, for example) – tell me that so I know my dietary needs won’t be a big deal for you! If you do cupcakes and make lots of different flavors at no additional cost (than picking one flavor), tell me that! Maybe one of my hold ups is trying to pick ONE flavor – knowing you’ll let me have more options at no cost would make you stand out among other bakeries.
Tell me about the decorations on the cake. Maybe the lace pattern on the cake was created to look like the lace on the bride’s wedding dress. Maybe she shared with you that her cake topper was the same her parents used at their wedding – share those stories!
The cake baker was stumped on posting because she found it difficult to make time to post. My advice to her was to MAKE time! There is nothing worse than when a potential client finds you on Instagram, only to see that you haven’t posted in 6 months or only post every other week. When that happens, that potential client may think (respectively) that you’ve gone out of business OR that you’re not booking consistently. Ouch! It does you more harm than good to have an account and not use it consistently. My encouragement would be to post at least 3 times a week, but no more than once a day (twice a day at the absolute MAX).
Instagram just announced this morning that it is allowing business accounts to schedule posts. Now, there are no more excuses! Set aside 15 minutes a week and get those posts scheduled! If you don’t have a business account (which I would suggest, for now, to avoid having a business account, as they don’t get seen as often as personal accounts), there are apps out there that will allow you to schedule posts. Since Instagram doesn’t allow any other app to post for you, these apps send a reminder to your phone, along with the picture and caption you decided on earlier. Planoly is a free one that does just that! Check it out!
There is probably a ton more that I could share on the topic, but I’ll end there. Hopefully, you found this information about how to use Instagram for creative businesses helpful! As always, if there is a business question you may have, I’m an open book! Shoot me an email and you may see it answered in a blog post! Also, I do offer one on one coaching for creative business owners, so if you want something more specific for your business, I’d love to chat! And, of course, if you want to see my Instagram Feed, you can find me there as @MylahRenae.
– Mylah Renae
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Mylah Renae is a luxury wedding photographer based in Austin, Texas, capturing timeless and tangible memories that celebrate marriage.