There’s no more ideal place for photographers to promote their services and to share art with the world than Instagram. Though Instagram still remains a visually-focused platform, if you want other people to discover you on Instagram, posting your great artwork without promoting is not enough.
And by promotion, I mean a whole lot of Instagram marketing actions, including the discovery of a target audience, interaction with them, and building a proper promotion strategy. That’s what photographers Simon Alibert and Emmanuel Bertrand did to promote their Instagram account featuring other talented photographers — @fotofeed.
The Combin team wanted to chat with the guys and ask them about their art, Instagram, and photography. Keep on reading if you struggle with promoting your own Instagram account. Especially if you’re a photographer.
Could you tell us anything about yourselves? How did you become photographers, and what was your journey towards art?
I was born near Grenoble, France, in 1972. I am only an amateur photographer. I started making photographic compositions in the early 90s, at the age of 21. I made my first exhibitions in 2007, first collective and then solo.
At the moment, I have had 19 solo exhibitions and 42 group exhibitions. Martin Parr, Stephen Shore, Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, Garry Winogrand and Anton Corbijn are the main instigators of my work. In the 90s, I was the one who photographed bicycles. I love urban details, beautiful cars, seashores, abandoned buildings and people… with whom I often produce pure compositions, mostly in colour.
How did you start your fotofeed project? Please tell us a bit more about it and the idea behind it.
Fotofeed is an Instagram stream displaying quality photographs. Selections of pictures started on the 1st of August, 2019.
We encourage photographers who want to be featured to use the branded hashtag #yourfotofeed. Among photos having this hashtag in caption or comments, we select one image a day and add it in the fotofeed stream, with the name of the author, of course. We pick only one photo per photographer a day throughout a year.
After one year of photos selection, we edit a photo book containing the 365 selected images of the year. This book will be available up to December 2020. You can purchase it on our website.
How do you choose photographers that you feature in your account? Is there a special algorithm or technique?
During the first year, we did it totally manually with an Excel sheet listing candidates and selected artists that way. It was quite easy at the beginning, but things became harder after a while.
As soon as we select a photographer, we follow them, then the search with #yourfotofeed excluding people we follow gives us the new candidates. The only problem with this method is that we had to unfollow all selected profiles of the first year to start the second year. But it does not mean we don’t like them anymore!
What, in your opinion, is the most important that any photographer should know to get noticed on social media?
Use the right hashtags, and make yourself known by all available means.
Did you struggle with building your Instagram visual aesthetics? Maybe you could give advice on how to choose and develop the unique aesthetics of an Instagram page.
Actually, we don’t pay attention to the look of our page. We select photographs one after the other; we don’t think about the overall appearance.
Where did you find your first clients? Does Instagram help you increase your exposure?
If you are talking about our first featured artists, we’ve sent quite a lot of messages in comments and direct messages.
If you are talking about customers for the photobook, we don’t have any at the moment as the first book is still being created. As soon as we have it, we will propose pre-purchasing, mainly through Instagram.
What strategies do you use to promote your Instagram?
We do mass-liking and comment on good pictures a lot, that’s it. Actually, the number of followers is below our goal. I think we need some advice!
Do you use any third-party tools that help your page grow?
We admit that we tried some bots at the beginning, but maybe it was too early to do so, and the results were disappointing.
How did you find out about Combin Growth?
By searching for an app which could search a tag within a single profile. Combin does not do it, but the search with filters is helpful! We’ve been using the application since September 2019.
This is when I installed the app on my desktop, but I did not use it regularly until June 2020.
We’ll think about the implementation of the feature you were initially looking for! Have you tried our new free content planning tool for Instagram — Combin Scheduler? :)
We installed it but never used it so far. But we will! Just a question of organisation :)
What would you recommend to aspiring photographers who just start their career journey and want to leverage Instagram?
Make good photos, post them regularly and don’t be shy using 30 useful ‘classy’ hashtags every time!