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In the past few years, the competition for photographers has been constantly going up. This is, in part, because of the evolution of the internet. There is a much higher demand for professional photographers than years ago so it should be no surprise to see that more photographers appeared.
The big problem for a photographer is getting clients. This is becoming more and more complicated because of the competition. So, photographers have to learn how to promote their services.
One of the best ways to promote a photographer is to use social media. Why? Very simple. Because of the visual nature of social media. Images work very well online, especially on these networks.
The problem is that most photographers do not really know how to use social media to promote their business. Regardless of what network you will use, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other, you have to create a strategy that you use and respect.
Here are some tips to help you do exactly that.
Interact With Followers To Gain Followers
The reason why social media is so successful is that it offers engagement and interaction. And yet, most photographers that use it just do not interact with followers. This is a huge mistake.
When you want to gain new followers online, you need to be as interactive as possible. Start conversations with those that look at your images and respond to comments. Like the posts of the followers and use every single photo you upload as an option to interact.
Obviously, interaction is time-consuming. However, it is very effective and should be a priority. In fact, as your profile grows and you get more followers/fans, you might want to hire someone to help you.
One of the pretty fun ways to interact with people on social media sites is to do it by participating in trending conversations. You do this with the hashtags that you use. These hashtags can be used to describe your images or you can visit posts inside the hashtags to interact with people.
In every single industry, there are hashtags that used much more than others. In photography, you can easily check out hashtags like #photooftheday, #potd, #sunsetphotos, and so on. There are also some day-to-day hashtags that you can join, like #sundayfunday or #throwbackthursday.
Tailor the social media content that you create based on popular hashtags. This can bring your content in front of new people.
Obviously, there is so much more to say about this strategy but you have to master using hashtags on social media. Here is an article to get you started:
How To Use Hashtags In Social Media
Carefully Target The Local Element Of The Posts
This is particularly effective for photographers that offer their services in a specific geographical area or when referring to specialists in a specific type of photography. For instance, when you do travel photography, you surely have photos shot in some locations. When you write the descriptions of the posts, add the appropriate local tags.
As another example, I once did some work for a highly experienced wedding photographer in Bath. When you do this, you do not want to target the entire UK, unless you can move to the entire UK to take photographs. When the services are just limited to Bath, it is just better to focus on that.
Develop A Brand, Embrace It, And Stay Consistent
Whenever you promote a business, any type of business, you have to respect the basics. With most photographers, branding is not even considered.
There is this misconception that branding is all about having a logo. Most photographers use a name and the term “photography”. This is not a bad thing since it offers consistency. Many potential clients will be aware of it and will look for terms like “X photography”, but only when they know what photographer to look for. You see, that “X” usually stands for the name of the photographer, like “Michael Ross Photography”.
The problem is that a logo is not enough for branding. Modern online branding involves so much more than that, like values, a color scheme, and more.
No matter what type of content you create, your branding needs to be consistent. This includes how you communicate online, the colors you use for graphics, and even the unique hashtags you use and can be linked to you.
Want to learn more? Read this:
Branding 101: How To Build A Strong Brand In The Digital Age
Join Relevant Online Communities And Be Active
You should not wait for the community to join you. You have to joint he community. Social media is social and allows you to interact with people from all around the world.
To put it as simple as possible, you want to join relevant online communities. They should cater to who you are, what you do, and the demographics of your target audience.
Being active in these communities is very important because of many reasons. One that is highly underestimated is that you can learn new things about your community. You can figure out what they like and what they do not like so you can offer much better photographic services.
Create A Goal And Stick To It
Most photographers you will see on social media do not have a goal. They just randomly share content and expect new clients to come. This is not how things work in the world of digital marketing.
You need a social media strategy. In order to build that social media strategy, you have to start with a goal. Usually, the goal for a photographer is to expand the brand and to become better-known.
Think about the type of clients you want to see and the recognition you desire. Then, create a small business plan for the career you have in your mind and add goals. When you start with a goal, it is so much easier to do anything social media related.
Some examples of goals:
- Find couples that look for photographers.
- Find dog owners that want to take photos of their loved one.
- Increase client base.
- Gain more followers/fans.
After you have a goal, it is much simpler to create a focused strategy.
Change Your Strategy Based On Platform Used
Every single social media platform is unique in terms of what works and what does not. You cannot share the same content on all of them and expect good results. Why would someone follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when you share the same thing?
When you use social media, you want user interaction. This can only be done when you adapt content.
As an example, on Instagram, image content is preferred. You want to make sure that users will engage with your photographers. At the same time, conversations are not really that encouraged. On Facebook, we have a sharing platform that is much more conversational in nature. This means that users are much more likely to interact when you use words. On Twitter, very snappy, quick content is preferred.
Whenever you create your social media strategy, think about the uniqueness of the social network you will use. Read more about this at:
The Difference Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube & Pinterest
Always Produce High Quality Content
I will leave this as the last thing here because it is the most important. If you already reached this point, you are surely interested in growing your photography business and your social media following. With this in mind, the most important thing at the end of the day is that you have to produce really high quality content. No matter what.
As we are talking about social media, what is actually quality content is not the same as you would talk about when you write a blog post or when you take a photograph to give to a client.
Generally speaking, for the photographer, quality content is a beautiful, proficient image that was taken with a really good camera. For social media, you have to think about other aspects that DO count:
- Content has to be unique.
- Content has to be shareable.
- Content has to be entertaining, informal, or express a specific idea.
- Content has to offer value to the person watching.
- Content has to be empathetic and personal.
- Content has to be properly optimized, based on the medium used, including SEO for social media networks.
All of these characteristics are highly subjective. They do change from one photographer to the next and from one piece of content to another.
As always with social media, you can go wrong. This is why you want to keep trying and you have to adapt. Post different types of photographs and try different messages. See how the fans interact with what you post. This will be your best indicator that you do something right.
Always Stay Authentic
I know I said that producing high quality content is the last thing on the list but I need to also mention being authentic. It is a shame to see how often photographers use business-like sentences instead of human-like sentences. There is nothing authentic presented.
On social media, you have to be authentic. You need to be you. When you deceive users in any way, they will figure out. If you try to make it seem as if you are empathetic when you are not, you will be caught. If you try to make it seem as if you care about a subject when you do not, you will be caught. You get the point.
Always be yourself. Express your own voice. Show your own artistic vision. Always express your voice.
Do not buy fake followers and do not buy engagement. Nobody is fooled by this.
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