Gone are the days when photographers had to hope for a lucky break or try to get discovered. With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to show off your work. The bad news is, that also means the competition has become fiercer. Unfortunately, if another photographer is more tech savvy than you when it comes to social media — or has more time to devote to it — you might not get the attention you deserve.
The good news is you don’t have to dedicate hours each day to Tweeting and pinning. However, you do need to carve out some time each day to work on promoting yourself and your photographs. If you want to make a living with your art, marketing know-how is a must. Even better, excepting your time, social media is free.
Find Your Audience
Each social media platform attracts a slightly different crowd. It’s wise for photographers to focus on Pinterest because it caters to image-driven audiences. Pinterest has even dedicated a page to the Best of Pinterest Photographers and there are numerous photography-centric websites that claim to have gathered the “best of” on Pinterest as well. You’ll notice, if you peruse some of these photos, they may not quite deserve the recognition they claim.
What they do have is a committed following and they’re delivering what the people want. If you’re a savvy photographer, you’re likely already creating what people want, but the trick is to match your work to the audience. They’re likely on Pinterest, so start pinning away your own work and don’t be shy about engaging with others. This is a community, after all. Pinterest isn’t Facebook, and trying to remain an island here will only harm your work.
Is Twitter Worth It?
Everyone’s on Twitter, so if you can make the time, it’s smart to be there, too. You can always focus on Tweeting your work and this is a great way to actual delve into conversations (albeit short) with your potential fan base. Your images won’t look as stunning as on Pinterest, but here that’s okay. The purpose isn’t to amaze, but to start casual conversations and connect with your audience.
This is all assuming you have the natural personality, or can fake it, to gain popularity on Twitter. It’s largely driven by those with short attention spans, so bear that in mind. It’s not going to be just any photographer’s go-to social media platform, but it can certainly prove beneficial while complementing a more appropriate site like Pinterest.
It’s Not Just Your Work
Unfortunately, your art won’t solely speak for itself and it’s important for photographers to understand how social media promotion works. It requires walking a fine line between too much promotion and too little. While your photos might be great, social media users also want to know about you and your personality so they can find something to relate to. You might think this is all done via your photos, but social media has made things much more personal.
It might be a good idea — if you’re a strong writer — to consider adding a blog as well. This lets readers get to know who’s behind the camera. It also lets you share some of your techniques, favorite locations and your philosophy on photography. This is what artists use to hire PR managers for, but you can also do it yourself. It’s no longer enough to be a great artist; you know have to sell both your work and yourself.
Linking Social Media
To really exude a professional image and maximize exposure, you need to have a website and preferably a blog along with an active social media presence. Make sure your website clearly links to all social media sites, and the biggies like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter make this easy to do. Since you’re an artist, people will expect your site to be above and beyond the others, even though you’re not a web designer.
Invest in a good web designer, or choose one who can redesign a website if you already have an outdated one. Preferably, the designer has experience working with photographers and knows the best ways to put together online portfolios and accept payments if you sell your work online. Site should be updated regularly and the social media links should be clearly available on each page. Responsive design, best practices and trends are all something a designer should know inside and out.
Put the Social in Social Media
Photographers who are new to social media as a business platform often make the same newbie mistakes, but they’re easy to avoid. Just keep in mind social media is, well, social and the point isn’t to be constantly on display. The goal is to engage, build a following and connect with your audience and hopefully future customers. It’s not a soap box, although some people treat it that way, and you’ll get the best results if you ask questions, re-pin other works you like and generally put on your marketing face.
Does this sound like a lot of work? It certainly is and many people are surprised by how much time it can take up, especially when you really get into the nitty gritty of it and start exploring. Even getting to know the intricacies of Pinterest can be a challenge and there’s often a steep learning curve. However, the payback is often well worth it, but only if the photographer is vigilant.
If you ignore your social media presence, no matter which site it is, that’s worse than no social media presence at all. You need to keep your work and your name at the forefront of everyone’s mind, so this requires pinning, posting or tweeting at least once per business day. Photographers who aren’t up to that challenge should seriously reconsider, because it’s easy to think it’s “just” social media and not a big deal. Think of social media as a key marketing platform that your work, income and reputation depend on, because that’s exactly what it does.
Adrienne Erin is a social media marketer by trade and also dabbles in design and amateur photography. She loves sharing what she learns about making social media promotion easier and more effective.
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By Adrienne Erin All content is by the author, except where noted
- E-commerce Retailer BellyBling Utilizing Social Media Marketing for Modeling Contest (prweb.com)
- How Often Should You Post on Social Media? (business2community.com)
- Infographic: How To Advertise on Pinterest (mobilemarketingwatch.com)