Social media has become the most powerful marketing tool for a photographer today. Image takers can connect with thousands upon thousands of potential clients. All with the click of a button.
From Facebook and Instagram, to Twitter and YouTube- the potential is tremendous. But becoming “internet famous” requires the planning, strategy, and commitment.
Here are six social media tips and strategies that photographers of all levels can use!
1. Choose Between Niche Appeal or Massive Diversification
The niche appeal strategy is popular with photographers who specialise in one field.
Niche appeal means creating a brand that appeals to a particular demographic. This can be a color scheme, a style, or subject matter. Anything that is characteristic of your brand in an obvious way works.
But for this strategy to work, all your social media content must follow it. It must be tailored to represent a very recognizable and particular aesthetic.
All your hashtags should also target only the people that are drawn to that pigeonhole. Those are the ones likely to stick around and click ‘follow’.
There’s several benefits to niche appeal strategies. Clients interested in booking you will know exactly what to expect.
The downside is that you might find yourself stuck in your niche with not enough clients interested in what you’re offering.
Here’s where a diversification strategy might prove more helpful. With diversification, you can attract a larger number of followers.
You’ll be offering a large variety of photography if you choose to diversify. This is what I do. Your appeal is that you do everything, and that you can adapt to anything your client might request.
Your social media feed can encompass all the different work that you do.
The best way to approach this strategy is to assign different days to different subjects. This keeps your content new and interesting.
The downside to diversification is that it can put off some clients. This can, at times, cause you to lose business.
Several ex-clients whose pets I photographed were very conservative. They took offence to some of the musician portraits I took and posted. As such, we no longer work together.
2. Interactive or Not?
Social media is for interaction and engagement. The original purpose of many of these platforms was to connect users. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
A great strategy for gaining new followers and fans is to be interactive. Talk to the people viewing your work, and respond to all the comments. Share some of the social media love by ‘liking’ your followers’ posts.
Ask your followers questions. This is an excellent way to be more interactive with them and encourage engagement.
Use every photograph you post as an opportunity for interaction. Ask your followers to share their stories and opinions. Or even their own photos!
On a sneaky note, this allows you to gauge your potential (or current) clients’ aesthetics. You can then modify your business model to attract brand loyalty.
The downside to this strategy is that it is very time consuming.
3. Be Relatable to Gain More Followers
The more relatable and personable you are, the higher the likelihood of gaining significant business and repeat customers. This is Marketing 101.
It rings true for the internet as well, albeit in a different way. Followers want to feel like they can relate, understand, and have a kinship with you.
Being relatable is a common and brilliant social media strategy. Companies, individuals and brands use it all the time.
For photographers, a good way to create more relatable content is to let your personality shine. Take lots of goofy and fun behind the scenes photographs!
Make commentary on your photography process. And take selfies with your camera gear.
If you have any hobbies, take a few professional quality images of what you like to do. Show parts of your life that people can connect with.
This strategy comes with an added bonus. Clients will feel more comfortable with you if they feel like they know you a little better. It may seem silly. But sharing on social media makes strangers feel less like that and more like friends.
This rings true for current and potential clients who follow your accounts. They’ll be more comfortable around you during the shoots. And your photographs will be better.
The downside to this strategy is that not everyone will enjoy what they learn about you. But that’s okay, because you can weed out clients that you won’t mesh with!
4. Use Trending Hashtags and Topics
This is a quick, easy, and fun way to engage in social media culture. You need to be up to speed with relevant hashtags and current trending topics.
Then you should cater some of your work to fit current happenings. This can be a brilliant way to get your photography in front of millions of brand new eyes.
Hashtags are words or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#). These are used to identify messages on a specific topic. By adding hashtags to your image, you are categorising it.
Users can click on the hashtag to see other images within that group. This is how your image becomes part of public viewing.
There are many hashtags dedicated to certain industries, days of the week, or months of the year. Here’s a complete guide to using hashtags for photography.
Popular hashtags for photographers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook include #photooftheday, #shutterbug, #photographerlife, and more.
Some of the commonly used days-of-the-week hashtags include #mancrushmonday, #throwbackthursday, #flashbackfriday, #sundayfunday, and many more.
By tailoring your content to be relevant to these tags, you can find a large range of new fans.
A trending topic experiences a surge in popularity on one or more social media platforms. This only happens for a limited duration of time.
Trending topics can include news stories, seasons, popular music or television shows.
Try doing regular Google searches, exploring social media feeds and seeing what is out there.
The downside to this strategy is that you can end up getting caught up in it. Some spend too much time trying to adhere to current hashtags and topics. They lose some of their artistic vision in the process.
5. Stick to Your Brand and Make It Pop
Sometimes the best strategy means going back to business basics. You’ll need to have or build a very solid and recognizable brand.
With social media, you can embrace your brand and sell the lifestyle that is associated with it.
This rings true for photographers. Photography sells an experience as much as it does final images.
You can do this in a variety of ways, from creating niche content to fun behind-the-scenes clips.
6. Be Active in the Online Community
Instead of twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the community to come to you – go to the community! The whole point of social media is to be able to engage with a tribe of people all over the world.
Start being active in the online community that caters to what you do, who you are, and where your demographic hangs out. This is an excellent way to build a massive following.
Plus, you can learn a thing or two and bounce ideas off of peers.
This is the strategy I most recommend to include as part of your social media campaign. It can increase your recognition, help you grow as an artist, and meet like minded individuals.
On Facebook, you can use ‘groups’. These connect you to a massive amount of communities you can become a part of.
Join several that strike your fancy or your business’s fancy. Then start commenting, posting, and participating.
Use Instagram and Twitter’s hashtag system. That way you can find users that are into the same things you are and engage with them.
More Social Media Tips
Here are some more social media tips you can use when posting content. These should be included in the social media strategy you choose.
Figure Out the Goal of Your Strategy First
All social media strategies need to start with a goal in mind. For most, the intent is to expand their photography brand and become better known.
With your name and portfolio out there for the masses to see, the recognition can be invaluable. It can lead to a significant amount of photography work and client retention.
But you should break that down. Start thinking about what kind of clients you’re seeking and what kind of recognition you want.
A good way to outline a mini-business plan for your social media career is to use the intent as your header. Then add various goals that expand upon your needs.
Intent – gain more recognition to acquire more clients.
Goals – find more dog owners in Los Angeles that would be interested in my services; and reach 1,000 followers in the California state.
With this plan in mind, you can find the best strategy, or mixture of strategies, that fit your goals.
Here are our top 6.
How to Make Sure You’re Producing Quality Content
The definition of quality content is a bit different in a social media sense.
Quality content is a technically proficient, beautiful image taken with a professional camera. Right?
Yes, but when it comes to social media there’re some other important aspects:
- The content is informational, or expresses an idea;
- The content is highly entertaining and shareable;
- The content is unique;
- The content provides a value to the viewer;
- The content is personal and empathetic;
- The content is optimized for SEO (optional, depending on social media platform).
These characteristics can be subjective.
But there’s one way to know for sure if it does or doesn’t. Keep an eye on how your fans interact (or don’t interact) with your post. That’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Adapt Your Strategy for Each Platform
Each social media platform has a speciality. Adapting your content is the key to getting the right kind of user interaction.
Instagram caters to images and prefers image content over anything else. It wants users to simply engage with photos, but doesn’t encourage conversation.
Facebook is more of a conversational and sharing platform. It wants people talking to each other more than images.
Twitter wants quick snappy snippets of day to day life. And YouTube is a video platform exclusively.
When choosing a social media strategy, keep these things in mind. An interactive approach might be best for Instagram and Facebook, but not for Twitter.
When and How Much to Post
Don’t forget about being consistent. This might sound tedious. But knowing that they can expect a post from you everyday will make your followers stick around.
But don’t go overboard. Constantly posting won’t do you any good if you’re not posting at the proper time. If you post at 3am, when the majority of your fans are sleeping, no one will see it!
Try to schedule your posts around the times that you can logically deduce that people will see it. On weekdays, try to post during lunch hours or after working hours.
Avoid posting when your following is likely stuck in rush hour traffic, at work, or still sleeping.
On weekends, account for the fact that many people like to go out and party on Saturday and sleep in on Sunday.
Try to get around posting at those hours when people are less likely to be on their phones.
And keep in mind that holidays may result in lower engagement across the board.
How to Stay Authentic on Social Media
Authenticity is a very important concept in social media. Deceiving your users about who you are will come back to bite you later on.
Be yourself, express your voice, and show your own individual artistic vision.
Do try partnering with other accounts, photographers, brands, and businesses. This way you can cross promote each other and share the love.
Finally, don’t cheat. Buying fake followers or engagement is an easy way to throw money down the drain and it isn’t fooling anyone.
The fake interaction will also mess up your market research!
Now that you have these strategies in your arsenal, go make the most of social media!
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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