Sunday, October 02, 2011

Real value of social media to photographers #2

Build a social community that lasts

In my previous post I asked what the real value of social media is to photographers, highlighting the challenges we face to make money from our work. If you've not read the blog post yet then I recommend nipping over and catching up before reading on. The focus of this article is getting a business benefit out of social media. If you just use social media because you like sharing your work for fun then that's a whole different ball game.

Nowadays it's not a question of whether you should use social media. The question is HOW should you use it to help promote your photography. I'll keep this brief. All of the points below are based on experience and backed up by personal research.

Steps to getting real value from social media:
Set clear goals - what do you want to achieve. The clearer your focus is the higher the rewards for your effort. For example if you're trying to sell work to advertising agencies but then spend all your time building a network of other photographers (your competitors), well it that is obviously not going to deliver a return.

Identify your target audience - eg couples wanting to get married, publishers, corporations, agencies etc

Concentrate on the most appropriate social media channel - Facebook works well for big brands focused on consumers, Twitter allows you to engage quickly with a wide range of individuals, LinkedIn is great for reaching business decision makers, Google + is for techies, early adopters and has strong photographic community...the key is to go where your target audience congregates. You'll need to research this.

Get people to come to your own website where you control the content, the way it is seen and you own all the intellectual property rights. Beware of giving all your precious content away on social media like Facebook. Don't drive traffic to Facebook and other social media channels unless you can funnel it into your sales process.

Engage with the right people - ultimately it doesn't matter how many followers, votes and Likes you have; it's about reaching the right people, the people willing to PAY for your work. What's worth more, a thousand votes or one person willing to spend a £1,000 on your photography?

It all takes effort, focus and time. Ultimately people will want to find out more about you if they think your work is good and crucially if they think they will like working with you. Social media is well suited to opening doors on both fronts but it is not the silver bullet to solve all marketing requirements. It's another channel, exciting and full of opportunity, yes, but it needs to be balanced with other channels.

That's probably enough to chew on for now... I'll write more on the subject if you say you're interested.

Here are some of the place you can find me on the net:
Till soon,
Paul
I'm a Getty Images Artist


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