Why social media is worth the effort for photographers
I’m sure that most people reading this will already be using social media in some form, twitter, facebook or linked in, so this article is designed to reflect on what can really be achieved with photographer’s social media strategies, so you can re-evaluate how it is working for you.
Social media is often something that people can do themselves, which means you don’t have to pay for it. But remember your time has a value and, if like many photographers you are self-employed, you have to be mindful of how effectively you spend your time, because chances are you don’t have much to spare!
What can social media do for you?
Marketing experts agree that social media is a powerful tool and, if used well, can help you achieve the following:
1. Build brand awareness (yes, you and your particular skill or specialism is a brand)
2. Connect you with new customers
3. Drive traffic to your website/portfolio site
Social media works more effectively when it’s combined with the marketing activities that photographers have been doing for years, such as sending out printed mailings, networking and getting in front of people with your portfolio. So make sure you balance your time with activity in these areas too.
Work out your strategy
Anyone with an ambition to use social media effectively as a new business or marketing tool needs to have a strategy in place first, to be clear about what they are trying to achieve. So lets look at some successful strategy ideas, which may be relevant for you:
1. Help people get to know more about you
Social media can be a great way to let people know more about you and understand your particular experience & specialisms, It can explain how you work or approach projects for example. It can tell people where you are based, where you are available to work and give insights into how you might work with them, and what you would be able to bring to a project. It gives people an insight into your personality, they feel like they know a bit more about you on a personal level which in turn strengthens their opinion about you. For clients who are also using social media, it can be a great way to keep in touch with them and keep them informed about what you are up to. For people to remember you, you need to stay top of mind, and regular postings or tweets are a great way to keep reminding people that you are there.
2. Join the conversation
Social media works best when it is a two way street. It is a great way to share ideas and information, to get feedback and opinion about ideas, images, projects etc.., and you can stay informed in real time about what’s happening in the areas of your interest, and by adding your own contributions, show you are involved and aware of what’s going on.
3. Promote yourself
You can use social media to promote yourself, and it is perfectly acceptable to mix personal and business messages. The watchword here though is balance. Social media is about sharing – contributing to and participating in two way conversations – promotional messages are really only a one way deal, so getting the balance of promotional messages to personal messages right is important, and the emphasis should always be on the personal messages. You need to use social media to get conversations going or to drive traffic to your website, and then find the right time to turn the chat into something more business specific.
4. Improve your SEO & site traffic
If you share, you will be shared. The more active you are, the more you will see your SEO and site traffic increase. The major search engines index tweets and display them on the first page of search results, and social media experts agree that social media participation is an increasingly important factor when defining search results. Don’t underestimate the power of this. When we share content about our members we can see traffic spikes within seconds – literally! And we know it’s from the social networks we are active on, because Google analytics shows us the source.
Making it work for you
1. Don’t do everything!
Pick a couple of channels and dedicate regular time to working those. Start with ones that you enjoy or find easy at first, you need to really stick with this and that will make it easier. Trying to do too much at once can be overwhelming, time consuming and unproductive. Once you have got into a routine with a couple of channels, you can always start to add a few more.
2. Decide on a strategy
What do you want to get out of each of the channels that you use? Different social media channels have different strengths, so match your strategy to the social media channel you choose. Again, to start off with, stay in your comfort zone. Twitter is quick and easy (but addictive!), and can be a great way to have conversations with other photographers for example if you are looking to network, canvas opinion or stay up to date with what’s going on in the photography scene.
3. Don’t forget to write!
It is easy for photographers to rely on their images when they are sharing content on social media. Writing isn’t always a photographer’s favourite pastime, but people are often very interested in knowing more about photographers and their work, so writing is important. Remember that your business prospects aren’t photographers, so they will respond well to any insight or explanation you can give to your images.
We hope you found this article useful. We’ll be adding to this very soon, so keep checking back on the blog.
Don’t forget, Eposure is now free to join so if you are a professional commercial photographer then why not sign up? For more information please visit the membership page on the site.