Jamie Jamison of Canfield knows something about building an audience on Instagram.
Jamison, who describes herself as a “photo stylist, visual storyteller, social media content creator, mixed media artist,” has attracted more than 15 thousand followers to her @alajamie account.
She makes it look easy. And as Jamison explains it, anyone can build an audience by applying a few tried and true content marketing strategies.
I recently sat down with Jamison to talk about her passion for photography, flowers and still life, and how all of that translates into a winning Instagram profile.
Q. How did you get started using Instagram?
A. I joined several years ago and I didn’t know what to do with Instagram, so my account was inactive. Then, I attended a photo retreat and the attendees loved Instagram, so I decided to make more of an effort.
Initially, I thought it would be a great marketing tool to see how people responded to my photos. What I found was a much greater community and inspiration. I started posting daily and my followers and engagement started to climb.
Q. Is there a specific focus to your posts?
A. My initial focus was general still life, but as I started taking pictures I realized that I was drawn to flowers and unique props, with vintage pieces or handmade items. I made a choice to try to include seasonal flowers and cool props. I’ve always loved antiques and felt it was a great way to give them new life.
I also run a weekly “contest” called #petalsandprops. I select four photos each Monday from other photographers that I think reflect great flowers and finds.
Q. How did your followers find you?
A. First and foremost, I posted great content. Second, I engaged with others. And third, I used specific hashtags to promote my photos. Now I have a stronger, consistent hashtag strategy. Using #petalsandprops has attracted more followers.
Q. How did you build an audience?
A. I built it organically. This is important. Never, ever pay for followers. It’s obvious when someone has done that. You usually see lots of followers and low engagement. The key is really putting out great content and doing it consistently.
Q. Do you have any advice for people who are trying to build an audience on Instagram?
A. First, decide what your social media strategy is for your business. Instagram is a terrific tool, but it is not for every business. If it makes sense for you, commit to maintaining a consistent presence. Posting every day is optimal. You can’t grow an audience if you only engage once a week.
Think of it as a conversation with your customers. The more you talk to them, the more they will engage with you.
Want to see more of Jamison’s work? Go to alajamie.com.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.