How Smartphones Can Help Your Business (No, Really)

Smartphones get a bad rap. They’re ruining the photography business, they’re the downfall of society - you know, that sort of thing. Wedding photographers complain about the glare of screens dotting the aisle like a runway landing strip. Newborn photographers cringe when mom shoots over their shoulder. Clients text you at all hours of the night, not realizing your “work phone” is sitting on your bedside table. But as much as we hate on smartphones, we can’t ignore that they’ve given us the ability to network, communicate, and market in ways that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Here’s how to use your smartphone to build your business more effectively. 

1. Flex your creative muscles.
You know that posting fresh content - and posting it frequently - is the best way to engage your audience, and boost your SEO. But what if you don’t shoot enough to fill your feed every single day? Starting a personal project can be the perfect way to show off your chops and allow a peek into your personal life. And smartphones make it easy to stick to a 52 or 365 project without giving up after the initial thrill wears off, because your “camera” is always in your pocket, and it only takes two seconds to post. Just make sure your mobile images reflect your style; if you want the freedom to flood your feed with breakfast photos or blurry family snappies, make a separate account for your business. If you’re posting something where a client can see it, make sure it reflects your talent and aligns with your brand. Otherwise, post it on your private Facebook page (a.k.a. #nojudge territory).

2. Get personal (but not too personal).
Social media can be a great way to connect with clients on a more personal level, and smartphones allow us instant access to our entire network. But while sharing the occasional deep thought, personal photo, or funny link is a great way to connect with clients, it can backfire. (Just ask every airline, politician, fast food chain, or clothing store that’s ever derailed an entire social media campaign with one bad tweet). Even when you’re posting something close to your heart, keep it professional. Steer clear of dirty laundry and divisive topics. Someone can disagree with your political views but still be a fabulous client, so what do you gain by alienating them? Connect with clients on more neutral grounds - your allegiance to Krispy Kreme, your obsession with vinyl, the last great book you read, etc.

3. Use Instagram for instant referrals.
Many newlyweds create a unique hashtag for their wedding, which makes it easier to see all their guests’ photos at once. But you can join in the fun, too. Post one of your favorite images using their hashtag; not only will they be stoked to see you bragging about them, but their guests will get to see your photos and your business name. And nothing drives home the difference between professional photography and “my phone takes great pictures” like seeing your amazing images next to their friends’ grainy snappies (Just be sure to post quickly, while everyone’s excitement level is still high).

4. Take people behind the scenes.
Stop stressing about that relative shooting over your shoulder. You know their iPhone shot is never going to compare to your perfectly-composed, perfectly-exposed images. Instead, recognize that behind-the-scenes photos can give potential clients a feel for how you work and what to expect from a session. So ask that proud mama to post a photo of you posing her newborn, and then share the “after” shot with her. Snap your favorite details from a wedding, or share the gorgeous ocean view from the venue. Instead of talking about how much you love your job, use your phone to show it.

5. Network without feeling awkward.
Coffee dates are the perfect way to network with local vendors - unless, of course, you’re an introvert. Or, you know, a busy photographer with a jam-packed schedule who barely has time to breathe, let alone talk shop over pumpkin spice lattes. But never underestimate the power of your smartphone to help you build bridges with other local businesses. After a session, tag and thank anyone who contributed, from the MUA to the florist to the venue to the coordinator. They’ll appreciate the shout-out, and it’s an easy way to keep yourself on their radar without feeling like you’re pestering them.

6. Show off your non-digital products.
One thing smartphones still can’t do? PRINT. Snap a photo of your heirloom albums, canvas wall galleries, or a gorgeous framed print as a simple reminder to clients that they need to get those photos out of their Facebook feed and into their homes, where they can enjoy them for years to come.

With around 350 million photos uploaded to social media each day, it’s true that “everyone’s a photographer.” But not everyone is you - and if you can adapt to the era of smartphones, you’ll be able to promote your brand more effectively than ever before.

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1 Comment

Chris Adval's picture

Thanks for the tips it was helpful!

But for some reason this article feels like a total advert paid entirely by Design Aglow. I don't mind it to keep fstoppers lights on, but don't need to hide it into an article, if so admit it in my opinion.