By now, saying you need to be marketing on social networking sites is like saying “don’t forget to blink.” Everyone knows they need to do it. The opportunity social marketing presents is enormous: the people you know help spread your message to the people they know, vastly expanding your reach. Most social media marketing is free or very low cost, and often — once you set up your accounts or pages — marketing efforts don’t take a lot of time.
The most obvious social sites for marketing are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. MySpace has become less relevant to some audiences — but if your customers are there, then you should be there, too. LinkedIn is important if you’re doing any sort of commercial photography, such as products, ads, corporate portraits or headshots for models or actors. While Flickr is an obvious site for photographers, chances are most of your potential customers can be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
All social sites are most effective when used together, as a system. Have a new video on your YouTube channel? Tweet it, update your Facebook status about it, and share it on LinkedIn.
Facebook, of course, is the behemoth of social networks — and therefore, a critical site for marketing. You shoot a wedding, and both you and the bride get the images up on Facebook. Now, your beautiful work is on display in front of all your friends and fans. But more importantly, it’s being shown and touted by the bride — who, like every bride before her, cannot stop talking about her wedding. Instead of telling 5 or 10 people she knows in real life how dazzled she is by your pictures of her special day, she’s now sharing that with her 300 Facebook friends. Some of them are going to need a photographer too — and suddenly, on her recommendation, they’re looking specifically for you.
Social sites are invaluable tools for creating a community and building word-of-mouth sales. They are also excellent delivery vehicles for more direct marketing approaches. Any time you have a press release, a blog post, a new photo gallery, a video, or anything else that can build your audience, you should be using all your social sites to spread the word. Keep in mind, the more valuable the content is to your audience, the more likely it is they will share it with others.
Here are a few specific ideas:
Be sure to check out our other posts on social marketing, including “Boost your Professional Photography Business with Facebook Advertising.”