This month we’ve created the #FebruaryChallenge, a way of getting small businesses on board with Instagram. 

We’d love to see lots of businesses and brands join in this community photo project.  So please join us at our Instagram account @jonbradleyphoto to find out more.  Why not pop over to say Hi!

Shop window with red Hi sign

Why an Instagram Business Challenge?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been trying to up our Instagram game!

As a photographer it’s something I should naturally be doing, right?  Well, as much as that sounds obvious, Instagram hasn’t been a priority.  Yes, I love photography and I feel so lucky that my hobby is my job.   I very rarely have a day go by when I’m not photographing or editing a person, place, or product.

So, in the (very) short time in between I’ve avoided taking more images and Instagram has seemed like a busman’s holiday.

Fingers with red nails typing on a smart phone

So what’s changed?

Well, I now realise that Instagram needs to be a vital part of my marketing.  It connects me with clients and keeps me front of mind.  More recently, I’ve enjoyed looking at what my clients, the businesses and brands I work with, are up to via their Instagram accounts and it got me thinking that I need to invest a bit more time into the platform too.

So this year I got on board.  Granted, I’ve not got thousands of followers (yet!) but I’ve worked out that if I upload a good image each day, my followers and connections will grow.  And if the last few weeks are anything to go by this is happening for sure.  20+ new followers each week and I’m happy with that.  If I boost my followers by 1000 this year I’ll know that I’m doing something right.

When it comes to marketing there are no quick fix solutions and I accept slow, organic growth is better than paid for followers or followers that have no interest in what I do.  So for this year, I’m committed to my Instagram journey and I want to see where it takes me.

Why don’t you join me?

Rather than undertake this journey on my own, why not hop along for the ride?  I thought I’d create an Instagram business challenge and I came up with #FebruaryChallenge.  The idea is to motivate small businesses to visualise their business, to bring it to life through images.

Business owners know that they should be creating their own Instagram content but often they don’t know where to start.  That’s where #FebruaryChallenge comes in.  Each day of the month has a different word to inspire content.

Day 1 is easy, it’s Introduction Day so post a photo of yourself.  Either your business headshot, a selfie or a shot of you doing what you love.  It’s a way to say hi.

Photographer in a studio photographing corporate portraits

Remember it’s not all about the photos

Yes, photographs are powerful.  They can sum up emotion, personality and style.  But they can’t work for your business alone.  So along with each daily word, post a photograph and post some text too.  And don’t forget your hashtags.  Follow every post with #FebruaryChallenge, that way we can all search for these posts and connect.

So for day one, your text could read something like this:

As a photographer, you’d figure Instagram would be a piece of cake for me, right? Well, when I’m running around on a shoot, working with my Canon not my iPhone, or when I’m back in the office busily editing collections for my business clients, I sometimes do forget to post. So clearly not a piece of cake! 
But I’m determined to get my head into Instagram. Photography is my passion and I love to see what other people are photographing and what drives them to take a shot.  Yes, I’m lucky that my hobby is my job.  But it’s not all about work!  When I’m not working, I love to spend time pitchside watching my kids play football. Or I head off along some dirt track on my mountain bike, switching off from technology and people. And when I chill it’s with my wife who works with me. But downtime means no chats about editing, photos, and clients. The conversation is usually about exciting trips we have planned or what we’re currently watching on Netflix and it’s usually fuelled by a good bottle of red.

#FebruaryChallenge #photography #photographer #mywork #canon #mylife #personalbranding

Talk about whatever you wish around the subject of ‘you’.  Include what you like and if you have boundaries, stick to them.  I tend not to post photos of my kids but I don’t mind mentioning them.   I’ve included a few hobbies, aside from photography, and introduced that I work with my wife.  Including as much or as little as you wish about your life will engage and connect with people.  After all, our USP is ourselves.  That’s what makes our businesses unique.

A few things to remember:

The words – try to capture the daily word in an image.  Think about what you want to say in the text and that may influence the photo.

The photo – Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Everyone needs to start somewhere.  Shoot your image either via your smartphone but use the phone camera NOT the Instagram camera. For some reason, the quality isn’t as good.

Filters  If you want to use the filters within Instagram, try to decide on the one you like and stick with it.  You want to create consistency in your images and on your Instagram feed.  Using too many filters just looks messy.  Check out this post from Canva on the most popular filters and where to use them.

Hashtags – Be sure to use the group hashtag: #FebruaryChallenge so that way we can all follow along and see what other amazing businesses in our community are posting!   On my example post above (Day 1) you’ll see that I’ve included some other hashtags that are relevant to my business.  So add these too.  It would seem that 11 is the magic number when it comes to hashtags so use them!   If you’re not sure what hashtags to use, look what other people are using within your sector.  As you type in a hashtag on Instagram it will tell you how popular it is.  Build up a list of hashtags and use them when they’re relevant to your post.

#FebruaryChallenge – Let’s do this…

You can join in as much or as little as you like. Pop in and out when it takes your fancy and if you miss a few days, that’s totally fine. The photo prompts are at the top of this post and below too.  I’ll be posting them on my Instagram page too so pop along to @jonbradleyphoto.   Simply take a photo of your interpretation of that day’s word and post it on Instagram followed by #FebruaryChallenge