Your online photography site is live, your content is drawing in new customers, you’re capturing them on your email list and knocking out newsletters like a pro, but what else is missing from your marketing plan? Getting social!
Why Social Media for Photographers?
Why is social media a vital marketing channel for photographers? It’s an avenue for sharing content and updates, but also for getting to know clients. You can use it to research new business opportunities and network with other photographers. Develop collaborations with other artists to help reinvigorate your work. Educate clients on how you work and how you can help them.
Social Media for Photographers: Choosing Social Channels
If your social media channels are already set up, for personal or business use, then you’ve taken the first step. By using channels you already know, you’ll be comfortable posting content and engaging with people on them.
If you’re starting out on social media, look at your current clients or the clients you want to earn and find out which channel they’re using. Go where your audience is. Don’t make them come to you. For most photographers, this is going to mean you’ll stick with one or all of the “big three” of social: Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.
Start with one channel and build a base. You don’t have to go all out on all three channels. That’s a recipe for burn out and frustration. Focus on one channel that you know your target audience participates in and really work on building it.
Separate Business Accounts?
Do you need to separate your personal and business social media accounts? The answer is yes.
Think of it as setting up a studio for your business. It makes it easier for clients to find you and keep up with just the information they need. It allows you to separate your personal posts from business posts. You wouldn’t want to invite all of your clients into your home, so why let them see everything you post?
Creating separate accounts is particularly important on Facebook. A personal page on Facebook requires you to either “friend” someone or enable following for clients to get updates. A separate business page allows you to schedule posts in advance, keep an eye on what topics your fans are engaging with, and, eventually, run ads.
Social Media for Photographers: What to Share
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to what to share on social media.
Heading out on a hike with your gear? Share a fresh off the trail image with your followers and give them some tips and advice on how to capture a similar shot.
Landscape photographer, Scott Papek, uses his Instagram channel as a journal by recording his day-to-day movements and giving updates on larger projects. This approach lets him build a personal relationship with his followers while also supporting his business.
Meeting a family to take their portrait? Share your favorite tricks for loosening up customers and capturing those beautiful family memories.
Other options include:
- Behind the scenes moments.
- Where you’re located, what your plans for the week are, and your successes and failures.
- All of these give potential customers more information on who you are as a photographer!
- Final shots.
- Share those beautiful images!
- Let clients know where they can find them or how they can work with you.
- Ask a question!
- Anything from where should you head to next to what you should write about on your blog.
- All that knowledgeable content we just helped you plan? Share it!
- Don’t worry about posting, too often, between how fast feeds move and those mysterious algorithms; it’s difficult to overshare.
- Don’t be afraid to get personal.
- Share some private moments to humanize yourself and put your work into context.
- Educate your audience.
- Susan Stripling, the founder of The Wedding School, advises photographers to “share tidbits of information to help them maximize their wedding photography experience.”
- What “insider knowledge” do you have that can help other photographers make better images?
Social Media for Photographers: How Often and When to Share
When first starting out on social, it’s ok to start slow. Don’t worry about posting every hour on Twitter and four times a day on Facebook. Get comfortable with the flow of each channel, but remember that consistency is key. The more reliably you show up each week, the quicker your reach will grow.
Using tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or CoSchedule to automate posts can help you manage the process and ensure you’re sending out content consistently. Many of these services can supply analytics, so when you’re ready to nail social media, you can dig into the details.
Building a Following
For photographers to get the most out of social media, you have to be social! Make time every day to check in on your channels and engage with anyone who has commented on your posts. Go a little further and check out their profiles and provide encouragement for them.
Once you’ve followed up on comments, reach out to your followers. Do you see an interesting conversation happening? Jump in! Focusing on engagement will help you build relationships that could turn into clients or referrals.
Wildlife and aviation photographer, Moose Peterson, uses social media to learn more about airplanes. By responding to comments in his feed, Moose has developed relationships with aviation specialists that have led to commercial opportunities.
Reach out to other photographers. Social media is a great place to build your network. You never know when someone will need to hand off a project or client!
What Not to Do
At some point in your journey, you may become frustrated at the lack of growth and look into ways to increase your follower counts. Never, ever, ever, ever (we can’t say this enough) buy followers. A small, but active following will do more to grow your business than a large one that ignores your posts. Plus, your followers will periodically plummet as spam and bot accounts are weeded out.
Social Media for Photographers: What Success Looks Like
Success on social media is defined differently for each photographer. You’ll need to set goals that are approachable but push you to try new approaches.
Social media is not a “set it and forget” process. Like your content plan, you need to spend some time each month to review what is and isn’t working.
Here are a few key components you can use to determine if your social media plan is working:
- Increased Followers: Are they fellow photographers and potential or current clients? They must like what you’re sharing!
- Increased Engagement: Do you see a rise in comments and conversation in your feed? Then you’re creating content that creates conversations.
- Increased Website Traffic: Do the analytics on your site show more visits from social channels? Then you’ve intrigued enough people with your content. Keep it up!
Over time you will develop a sense of what your audience wants to see on social media and adjust your posts, schedule, and channels to market your photography business effectively.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.