Social media for photographers: Part 2
Getting the best out of social media
In our first post on social media, we looked at what social media can achieve for photographers. In this follow up post, we look at some of the major social media channels in more detail to understand what they are suited to, and how to get the best out of them.
Conditions of use!
Many people use social media and get nothing out of it. If you’re serious about using it to get more work then you need to accept these conditions:
1. Commit to a regular investment in you time to do it.
2. Commitment to investing more time in learning about how to use it.
3. Patience – it isn’t going to work over-night, but if you are consistent in your approach, you will get better and more efficient over time. Be prepared to lose faith in it sometimes, but in the end your persistence will be rewarded – one day it will just ‘click’ and that’s when you will start to get results.
4. Be pushy, make conversation and don’t neglect real conversations (remember, the phone…!) Social media is about finding the type of people you want to connect with, developing a relationship with them, and speaking to them.
Our own experience is that it takes up to 6 months to be proficient at using social media to the point where you are clear on your strategy, you know how to regulate and optimize your time on it; you understand the results you are getting, and are starting to get business from it.
What about your website
If you have a website, you have likely spent a lot of time on it, but even so, you’re probably not adding enough new and updated content to attract lots of traffic. Social media can complement your own site, and be a way to drive traffic and potential customers to it.
Keep focused on your target audience
To get new clients, remember your target audience is clients and businesses – not other photographers. Your targets may well be interested in your pictures – but only if they are directly relevant to their own business or photography needs. Remember, people take visual work very literally; if they see one of your shots which is an inspirational kitchen shot for a manufacturer, they won’t assume you know about bathrooms, or portraits or other manufacturing, for example. So without some conversation and some written content to complement this, you are not going to engage with them to the point that decide to commission you.
How the top 3 work for photographers
Facebook is great for photographers, and for many it has become one of their key marketing channels.
The strength of Facebook from a business point of view, is that it is somewhere where people check in every day. The key to raising your profile and your personal brand is about being current and building frequency to constantly remind your target audience and network about you and what you are doing.
Getting the best out of Facebook
1. Set up a page for your business. This is very important – it strengthens your business brand image and gets round the potential problem of putting off potential clients who don’t feel it is appropriate to ‘friend’ you.
2. Create content. Of course your images are important and work well on Facebook, but add a wide range of other content to give potential clients more information about you, such as blog posts, videos, links to photography related articles, news and other work that you like.
3. Be active. Like and comment on other photographer’s work, respond to comments left on your site promptly. Keep your site up to date, and that means daily. If you are using it as a business tool, you need to show people that you are available and responsive.
There are thousands of photographers already actively using twitter as a new business tool.
Its strength is the ability to quickly connect with thousands of targeted followers, which has many benefits:
- Stay informed with what’s going on in your area of interest
- Keep your followers up to date with what you are doing (brand awareness/top of mind)
- Build relationships with your peers and potential clients
- Drive traffic to your website/blog
- Improve your SEO
Getting the best out of Twitter
1. Tweet regularly; your followers are watching many other tweets, so this will improve the chances of your tweets being seen
2. Use hashtags and key words to build your followers and get your tweets seen. Don’t forget to use keywords as a tool to find targeted content and new people for you to follow
3. Re-tweet and reply. Get conversations going. For twitter to work, you need to get yourself noticed by other people and your own tweets re-tweeted and to get mentions.
4. Thank people who re-tweet you or follow you. Again, give people reasons to remember you more than your competitors.
5. Provide links to your content, I.e. website, blogs. If you are regularly planning to use links as part of your tweeting strategy, consider using hootsuite or bit.ly so you can check how many people are following your links. When you start to measure them, you can refine your tweets to make them more engaging.
6. Get to know more about twitter tools. As you get more proficient, there are ways to improve the efficiency of twitter and understand what it is actually doing for you. (We’ll cover this in more detail in a future post).
7. Regularly review your followers and who you are following. Remind yourself who you are connected with and target those who are of interest by working out a way to engage with them. This could be as simple as a re-tweet, or replying to one of their tweets, asking them a question etc…
Linked in is a business orientated social network, and very popular with Photographers. Compared to other social media, it is much easier to network with and target potential clients.
Getting the best out of Linked in
1. Spend time getting your profile page right, and make sure you use relevant and descriptive words in your job title and description. Linked-in is a good SEO tool. Check how your profile comes up when you type your name into Google and edit if necessary to make sure it is really selling your specialism.
2. Write recommendations for people you have worked with, and they will likely return the favour – testimonials work well on Linked in.
3. Get involved with groups. This is a great way to reach large volumes of targeted prospects. But you need to participate, and understand the group rules, and as always, contribute useful and engaging content. Used in the right way groups can drive significant volumes of traffic to your site.
4. Link your twitter feed and blog posts to your profile so they automatically update. Be mindful that your tweets are appropriate for twitter.