Most photographers get into the field to pursue their passion; it's when they start to plan the business aspects that they hit the road bumps. Most experienced photographers will tell you that you can't expect to get booked simply because you have good pictures. The only way to become relevant in your niche is to consistently stay in front of your audience. Social media plays a huge part in this – it gives you exposure to your target audience, peers in the industry, and experts at the same time. It is thus an invaluable resource for getting new opportunities and growing your business. Here are 5 tips to help you get the best out of social media.
Choosing The Right Platform
When you first get into social media, it seems like you have infinite options to put out all your great ideas. A little more time goes by, and you realize the work that goes into managing each account and how frustrating it can get. At this point, it is best to revisit your options and see what is actually working. It makes no sense to blindly pursue every avenue without getting anything in return. Focusing your attention on one to three social media accounts, and putting your best into it, tends to be more effective. Most photographers use Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram as they focus more on visual content, and have a larger audience. Facebook is by far the most popular, as you can manage both your personal account and your photography page with ease. Choosing the right platform could make or break your business and some serious thought needs to be put into it.
Once you've chosen the right platform, you have to learn to edit and post your images to suit that particular platform. Your images are your work - they speak for you, so you have to know how to use them to your advantage. The photographs you post on social media are used to draw attention and make an impact on your audience in the hope that they take action. There are small differences in framing, composition, angles, and lighting for social media compared to other mediums. If you look at Framing and Composition for example – the general 'Rule of Thirds' may not work on social media. It works for your Facebook cover photo, but it won't work on Instagram where the ideal image is not wide. It also won't work for profile pictures and on most other social media platforms as the images are ideally more narrow. Similarly, there are other changes that photographers need to adapt to, on different platforms, to make their photos appealing. Tools like CameraBag can help make your pictures more suitable for social media.
For photographers, it is no longer enough to post good images and expect results.You have to give your audience something that either benefits them in some way or solves a problem. Having a blog that explains a bit of your process and gives small tips gets you a lot of brownie points. If you are an experienced photographer – longer posts giving insights or sharing your experiences in the field helps you grow exponentially. Not only will this make it more likely for your audience to share your post, it will also increase your SEO ranking. Tools like Buzzsumo are great for getting ideas and topics to write about. Another good way to capture your audiences' attention is to host contests/giveaways with gift cards or merchandise as prizes. Overall, good content is key to becoming more visible in your industry and gaining new opportunities.
The key to any form of online marketing is consistency. Unlike the real world, social media tends to move at a much quicker pace. Without consistency, you are driving your audience into the hands of more regular competitors. Ideally, you should be posting at least two to three times a week – be it pictures, content, or both. The more you post, the harder it is for your audience to scroll past without noticing you. Just remember not to be too pushy as it can turn people off. Consistency is hard to maintain especially if you're a photographer that “wears many hats," or someone who works in various other departments on a regular basis. Content curation can solve this concern – you can share others' content, seem knowledgeable about your niche and stay relevant by using content curation tools like DrumUp. These tools give you content suggestions, let you schedule posts ahead of time and help you improve engagement drastically.
A photographers' success, like most businesses, is almost entirely dependent on their audience. Reply to as many comments and messages as possible - ask for opinions, reply to feedback, and give pointers. Engaging with your audience makes you more human to them – meaning they're more likely to comment and share praise, feedback, or tips. More importantly, they will share your work amongst their circles and refer you to prospective clients. An audience that actively comments and shares your work could propel you to new heights. Popular social media platforms have millions of members and standing out in such a large crowd requires a lot of effort. As a general rule, remember to post pictures that are your best – mediocre work isn't going to get you anywhere. Always remember to brand your images so people know where to find you in case they have open opportunities. It's also a good safety measure against duplication and wrongful distribution. Use the above tips wisely, build a good profile, be thoughtful about what you post, and persevere past your excuses – it's the only way to succeed.
Bio: Jessica Davis works in Social Media and Content Marketing for Godot Media.