As photographers and people in the visual media industry, we need to make our work accessible across the platforms we and the people who like photographs (everyone) browse and use on a daily basis. We need to be marketing-orientated to take our careers and what we do to the next level, whether the next level is to shoot more weddings, booking more fashion gigs, or being the go-to person for professional portraits.
Quentin Decaillet has written about HopperHQ before, and it’s certainly a tool to be reckoned with when considering using Instagram as a marketing platform. It’s a great app for photographers to share their work and for others who love viewing photos to open up and browse the people they follow. They've recently added stories, which increases the use of the app, although the time spent might not be on the image stream like before. It is very likely that people browse these stories a lot more than the actual photos feed. So as photographers, we need to adapt.
Create Video Stories
I only saw it by chance. I scrolled down, and I saw I was able to upload photos or videos you made in the last 24 hours. This means I can create something, get it onto my smartphone, and post it. This makes the viewer have a richer experience. It doesn't need to be footage or a picture I've just shot. If you want to check out what photographers are doing with it, follow Davis Ayer and Matthew Karsten to see what is possible with stories.
If you don't use or own any video editing software, you can download apps for your phone. I've played around with Youtube’s Capture and GoPro’s app called Quik. Both of them have good music and transitions to use, so the main aim is to shoot great content.
The other apps you can look into using when you’re editing on a smartphone are:
Start a Facebook Page
Let’s say someone is looking for a wedding photographer. There is a very good chance they’ll search for this service provider on Facebook. They’ll either do a basic search or go around someone’s page who recently got married and have shared their beautiful wedding pictures. The person might also have liked some wedding photographers. If this is the case, those photographers all have Facebook Pages.
It gives you a place on Facebook where people can go to to view your work, follow you and reach out to you. It’s one of the sites most people visit and spend most of their online time on. We all visit it, but as photographers, we need to use it as a marketing platform for potential clients. You can also pay to advertise your page when your bookings are low for the month.
Have One Stream That Links and Shares to Everything Else
I use Twitter to post my main stories. With IFTTT, a web app that allows you to program actions on the internet, I am able to post to every other social network like my Facebook page (although this can be done through Facebook itself too) and Tumblr. This makes the social stream manageable and saves you a lot of time.
I’ve been looking into starting a vlog, and even though most Youtube Vloggers now create daily content, it’s a great platform to get clout in the least amount of time. People would much rather view a video about you and your skill than read about you on your site’s about page. And sometimes, you regret not telling someone everything you wanted to in an interaction, and you want to follow up. Imagine you’re able to send a link to a video instead of a text email.
My recommendation is to have a strong intro, to create consistency with your video, and to increase your production value. When someone sees a professionally crafted intro to the video, there’s an immediate impression that it’s a professional person behind it.
Your video topic can be of anything from where you show your post-processing of an image, your tips, or what you’ve learned on a shoot. It doesn’t need to be long. 5-10 minutes is fine, as long as the video is of good quality and edited well with all the boring parts cut out. It can be a behind-the-scenes video of one of your shoots, a review on a product you use, or just tips and tricks on how to get a certain shot. The aim is to be consistent. So if you plan on making a weekly video, you need to do it and publish it at the same time you always do.
If you want to find out how to increase your following on Youtube, one of the best guys in the business has a Youtube Channel. He gives insight on how he did it and how you can too.
If you want to see a way Blind, a design and motion graphics agency makes use of a great intro to their videos, view the video below. This one is about building powerful brands.
I’m considering vlogging, and if I ever start, this will be the intro I put together over the weekend. I wanted it to convey a high-paced energy while showing the viewer what the show will be about.
If you want to share great stuff you find online, your best place to do so can be your Facebook Page. You can create links that add an actionable button to the page they go to, so when people visit that page, there’s a way back to your site or Facebook page. You can do this by using Sniply. It’s a service that you paste a link in and it converts it to have the button, so when it’s shared, it has the link back to your site built into the website. This can be a powerful tool if you already have a following and want people to stay browsing on your platform.
The modern-day photographer needs to be sharing their work on platforms that potential clients are browsing. A following matters. To give yourself some credibility, create a social strategy for your brand you want to market, and plan it out. A week’s planning could be something like this, but obviously it's up to what will fit your schedule best.
- Instagram posts (Hopperhq)
- Line up blog posts and articles to share on Buffer to post during the week
- Schedule all the Instagram posts for the week, limited to three a day
- 500px posts
- Share two inspiring stories from sites you read using IFTTT to post to Twitter and your Facebook Page
- Share these posts on your personal Facebook page too
- Instagram posts
- Share an image of the shoot you recently did on Facebook, tagging the model, hair, makeup artist, and stylist, and send them the picture via email so they can share it and tag you too.
- Share your Vlog video on Youtube
- Instagram posts
- 500px posts
- Share article you think was great on your Facebook page
- Respond to comments on your social feeds
- Repost an article you found interesting and relevant to your industry
- Email newsletter of all the items you shared during the week and some additional content pieces like a blog post or a sale you have running.
This sounds like a lot of work, but if you take the time to set it up correctly, it won’t take more than 30 minutes a day to create the consistency that a good brand needs to have. The main idea is to actually incorporate social media into your daily workflow, as it’s part of being a photographer or videographer. It's not the best photographers that get the best projects to work on, it's the photographers who deliver consistently that, if someone had to think about them, have a rather specific idea of what they'll get with regards to photographs. It's a brand. So, what makes you a professional photographer and someone people want to work with?