Instagram has been taking large strides in the past year, making advertising easier to do, giving users more sharing options, metrics to track, galleries, stories, and so on, but perhaps a more interesting move, one that applies more to the working photographer is one James Quarles, Instagram’s head of business, said is to to be released over the next few months. According to Quarles, in conversation with Bloomberg, Instagram is about to let clients book with businesses right in the app.
Make no mistake, this is a significant move for Instagram, and with the benefit of hindsight, it seems almost obvious that this would be the next step. First it was the business profiles, then deeper analytics for said profiles, then easy advertising for them, and then the ‘buy now’ button that let users actually purchase products right through Instagram. So being able to book a service or appointment is the natural progression.
This is, however, important for photographers and stylists and MUAs and, well, all sorts of freelancers and other service providing businesses. The ‘Buy now’ feature really was helpful to businesses flogging products, but didn’t really benefit the photographer because we don’t tend to sell our time or services in a way that translates to the click of a ‘Buy Now’ button. Here, with this coming update, potential clients should actually be able to book time and services.
This does a few things at once; it makes Instagram more of a commerce destination than it already is, and is also more of a prompt for service providers like photographers to actually advertise on it.
Instagram has notoriously made it rather difficult to share webpages within the app, and that’s been a barrier to commerce for some who couldn’t easily get potential clients to see their link and go to it. This new ability should assist in that department, so it makes your IG gallery, your whole account, more relevant. I mean, it’s already taking great effort to get eyes on traditional websites as it is, and now that commerce is becoming a focus in IG, I suspect it will become even harder, and that IG will become just that much more important for photographers. If you’ve been avoiding it, it seems IG is making a compelling case for why you shouldn’t any longer.
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