Want to get more leads in a specific area of your business? Have you heard of PhotogRefers.com? The next big social media platform for photographers is upon us. In fact, it is the only social media platform specifically designed for photographers and our creative community.
If you know me or a little bit about my background, I am constantly fascinated with new marketing and business opportunities for running a small photography business. Effective advertising is not cheap. Many are unable to afford marketing campaigns. There may be a new solution for those with limited budgets that want to network with their peers. In the summer of 2012, Chris Becker started dreaming and working on this project that released the first week of March, 2014. This new platform was similar to how he and others in the Southern California area built their foundations which have proved extremely successful over the last decade: sharing and receiving referrals from peers. Becker is not only the founder, he is a member and uses the platform daily.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Becker during WPPI to hear all about this new venture and the benefits it will have for our creative community. Essentially, PhotoRefers.com is a platform to connect photographers and clients alike from around the globe. This isn't a directory or classified listing. This site is meant to be continuously updated with your freshest and favorite work. “We built this for the community. It is a win win for everyone involved” Becker commented. The site was soft launched at the beginning of this year which included only those who registered their emails about a year ago to receive an invitation. In 10 days, over 1,500 photographers created their profiles and started using the system. This network will only continue to grow.
The most intriguing aspect of this new opportunity is being able to connect to a new audience. Your peers. Each member has the ability to “friend” other photographers which allow you to keep up with their work. You can also “add to referral group” which will send out notifications when you are looking to hire or have a lead to pass out. Whether you are looking to receive or send leads or hire a second shooter for an upcoming event, this website does it all. Second shooters can also user their accounts to seek out shooting opportunities. It was built upon a system that offered three levels of referrals: friends, your referral group, and email. Members are able to share their favorite images and network with other photographers. The interactive tools allow users to “favorite” images; the cream of the crop will rise to the top of the gallery. This is a great way for your work to receive worldwide exposure and industry recognition.
The website has a clean design and is easy to navigate. Setting up your account is free and quick. List your name and business information and select a category that your business serves. The categories you can select include weddings and events, portraits, boudoir, and commercial/fashion. If you sign up for their premium account you can select multiple categories. Then, start adding images to your account for others to preview your work. It is important that you upload new images. This is not a place where you upload a few photos and forget about it. The success of networking with others is largely based on adding new photos on a daily or weekly basis. To get an idea of how to get the most out of the site, Becker shares his #1 tip for getting your work in front of people looking to hire a professional photographer:
“Only post 1 image at a time. You don’t want your images to compete with each other for clicks and views. Post it on PhotogRefers.com and then share it to your other social networks. The more love your image receives, the higher it’ll rank in our gallery and the more likely it’ll be seen by someone wanting to hire you.
Also you’ll rank higher on our site by posting an image a day for 10 days than if you post 10 images in 1 day. Just make PhotogRefers.com your healthy, 1 minute a day, social media habit that will actually help your business.
Remember, when you share your work to Facebook and Instagram, those images are usually only seen by those who already know about you. When you share your work on PhotogRefers.com, your work is exposed to an entirely new audience.”
In addition, clients seeking photography can use the site to find their perfect photographer. Perspective clients range from brides, commercial customers, or anyone seeking portrait (families, newborn, senior, etc). The best part for the client is that they do not have to register or provide any sensitive information. They can simply go to the website and fill out a request form for services. They can select what they are looking for, their price range, and how many photographers they want to hear from. This request will show up in the dashboard of registered premium users. Once the allotted amount of photographers has fulfilled the request the lead will disappear unless the perspective client requests more.
Once you finish reading this, there is no reason you shouldn't go over and sign up for a free account. You have nothing to lose. You can search for other photographers in your area or those that you want to add as friends or add to your referral group. You can also upgrade to the premium account for a small yearly fee if you believe this system will work for you. The success of this website and referral community is largely placed upon our shoulders. The more photographers who use this service the more benefits we will be able to give and send to one another. Make sure you also check out their Facebook page. PhotogRefers.com has partnered with 30 companies. They are offering some great discounts and promos! Head on over to the website now and get started on your profile; don’t forget to share this article with your photographer friends so you can connect on the next big thing in our industry. It maybe the best thing you do for your business in 2014.