Real stories from commercial photographers who use social media

One of the ways that eposure networks is with linked in. We use it to post our blogs and to have conversations with other commercial photographers and marketing businesses. The photography groups we are active in have over 250K members. For us, this has generated some great contacts and business, and lots of valuable information relevant to our market and our site marketing. It also drives a great deal of traffic to our site.

We recently posted a couple of articles on social media, and this is a selection of the comments that we received from photographers and commercial photography businesses about their own attitudes and experience with social media. These are some of the responses we’ve had so far – positive and negative. We’ll post some more soon in a separate post.

Comments

I agree with all the comments. However for me, (and I tell this to the photographers we represent) the real point of all of this is “doing it” in a measured / focused way so that you’re efficient with your time and you feel the self satisfaction of the process. This must become almost like a procedure, a part of your daily or weekly working habits – not a “one off”. There’s a real value on many levels to the concept of consistency’
– Frank Meo

‘I believe it is just like anything else, the time you put into it is what you get out of it which does create a problem for the creative needing to keep producing product. After launching my website and getting on the social media route I have developed a following of people that I can contact about things that are happening. Instead of just talking with friends now you are connecting with other artists and their friends and their friends who may actually be potential buyers or know someone that would like your style. Now I have a place to broadcast with people that know me and my work.
The one key thing about social media is that people are sick of being marketed to so it shouldn’t be beating them over the head with marketing, people want to know the artist and marketing happens in relation to getting to know people instead of getting to know people to market to them. It’s all about connecting and forging real relationships with people’
– Linebaugh Steven

‘You have to be strategic about how and where you share. If you share in places where the meta data gets stripped it not only puts your imagery at risk but can be a huge waste of time; time that could be better spent making new and better images to share with people directly with whom you already have a real-life connection. When they see an amazing image they often share it directly with their work colleagues internally. That’s the best kind of social media. The ROI on your time is far higher. A bazillion “likes” of your images without your having a well-thought out strategy on how to convert those “Likes” into clients, is like spending all your time in a rocking chair..there’s motion but no forward momentum’
– Carolyn Potts

‘I agree. Creating excellent images is key, but floating a few great images onto social media can work well.
I’ve spotted several very good images ‘shared’ or posted on FB or just google images, and look into commission them only to find no credit or details are on the photo! My editor may send sample shots as inspiration… But can’t be tracked and bought!
So, i think its wise to ‘correctly’ use of social media so art directors who search high and lo for a cracking image may discover your work by happy accident’
– Andrew Beswick

‘Perhaps one of the most interesting stories regarding the power of social media concerns the photographer Eric Lafforgue. He started out posting his images of North Korea onto Flickr, and the result was not only almost cult viewing figures (over 2 million viewings) – but also he is now a highly respected, and well published international photographer ( http://www.politicaltours.com/photography/eric-lafforgue ). His images are utterly fantastic, and that helps of course! So he deserves recognition – but by all accounts flickr helped the promotion’
– Michael Hughes

‘Social Media is just a part of an overall marketing plan; in the modern world an essential part. For me the key word is “PLAN”. Decide how you’re going to use the tools you have available, then get on with it.
Just remember to keep making words and pictures.’
– Simon Brown

‘Social Media should form part of your overall marketing strategy, it isn’t a stand alone channel. You also need to think about what channels you are going to use, and lets face with there are many that work very very well for photographers if you invest the time and effort to learn how to communicate correctly and legally.
Yes it may cost in time; however you can buy / develop free apps that will allow you to automate many of the more mundane tasks.
@Don – you have it spot on there; it’s about who knows you BUT more importantly it’s about what your saying.
Social media shouldn’t be one way traffic (i.e. you to them) but it should encourage two way discussion and interaction’
– Andrew

‘I decided this year that I was going to actively start making use of social media more and not just depend on word of mouth or my in much need of a revamp website. I have been using LinkedIn regularly, as I have several corporate clients, who are on there, and have decided that this week I am going to take the plunge and sign up for twitter. Following on from that I am getting a new website design with a blog. Have decided to give FB a miss though.
Sonja Seear’

‘What do we buy via Social Media?
For me the answer is nothing. That is not to say that there are not benefits to be had from social media, just don’t hang all your hopes on it. I use it to stay in touch with previous clients, which can lead to new business through referrals and new friend contacts. Only had one booking that I know for sure has come through social media’
– Paul Spiers

‘It seems to me that all this on line social media is a major time suck. Going out and meeting folks eyeball to eyeball has netted me far more results than spending my day staring at a computer. On line, you are easily dismissed or passed by, just another entry amongst hundreds of thousands somewhat faceless others’
– Michael Hnatov

‘I agree with everyone here. Yes, Michael Hnatov, eyeball to eyeball is good if there’s someone around to talk with. Through the internet, I’ve hooked up with photographing Hip Hop (not my format of music) concerts. Thanks to the computer, I would have missed these chances to get out and do what I love to do, photograph people having fun and not getting into trouble’
– Rick Olmstead

‘I embraced social media quite some time ago and I use very specifically: a FB fan page for my podcast and LI for my consulting/training/teaching work. My website houses my portfolio, blog, podcast, videos and books.
I don’t expect work to come in via these portals. I’m online and use social media to affirm in clients and prospective clients minds that I am the right person for the job. When they check up on me, I want it easy for them to get to yes.
Most of my business comes in via SEO, referrals and past clients. I close all of my deals either in person or on the phone. Email is necessary for communications but the power of my personality and voice always has and always will carry the day’
– Michael e. Stern’

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