Kristen Angelo, a.k.a. A Pot Farmer’s Daughter, explains in the May issue of PDN how she built her editorial and commercial photography business around the rapidly expanding cannabis industry. Her Instagram feed has been an important part of her marketing strategy. Angelo says she used hashtags such as #cannabis, #cannabisculture, #i502 (the name of the initiative to legalize pot in Washington State), and many others—“There are a millions of them,” she says—to identify potential clients, and to get her work in front of them.

The first clients she landed through Instagram were cannabis trade and culture magazines. She has continued to use Instagram—converting images shot with a Canon 5D for her feed—to build her brand and attract more clients. “I would say that 90 percent of my connections evolved through Instagram,” says Angelo, who has about 4,500 followers. “It took about a year before I began to see exponential growth and engagement from an organic audience.”

We asked Angelo for more details about her approach to Instagram. Here’s what she told us about the strategies that work best for her:

Consistency: Post new content consistently and maintain consistency with the type/style of work you share. When I first launched my Instagram, I posted new content about five times a day. Now I usually post content twice a day—a.m. and p.m.

Style: Treat Instagram as an extension of your website portfolio. Share only your best work. Be a storyteller. No food, no pets, no memes, no smartphone snapshots, no political opinions, no drama.

Etiquette: Don’t repeatedly follow and unfollow users in hopes of gaining attention. Don’t ask users to follow you. Don’t overshare your personal life.

Engagement: The new Instagram stories feature is a great way to personalize your feed. Show what you know, share behind-the-scenes work-related content, etc. Respond to comments and direct messages in a timely manner, and always with kindness and respect. Seek opportunities to engage with accounts that might benefit from your work. Ask them if they’re interested in sharing your work with their [followers]. Never underestimate the power of the direct message feature.

Perspective: Don’t get caught up in the popularity game. Limit your social media time investment to 30 minutes a day. Don’t obsess over what others artists/photogs are doing. Show your work consistently and you will grow a loyal organic following that is genuinely interested in you and your work.

For more about Kristen Angelo’s work and how she built her business, see our story “What’s Your Niche?: Kristen Angelo, Cannabis Photographer.”


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