Today, virtually every successful professional photographer has a sales website. Many even have implemented some sort of marketing plan to aid them in selling their creative services. Few however, have even begun to recognize the tremendous advantages of implementing and adding an effective social media strategy.
Social media marketing is very different from conventional website marketing. Success in social media venues doesn’t follow from directly advertising your services or product. Social media marketing revolves around delivering valuable and compelling information to target consumers. The viral nature of social platforms will make them extremely effective “on-ramps” for your existing website by separating you from your competitors in those inevitable Google information searches.
5 Simple Tips to Get You Started on the Social Media Bandwagon.
Tip #1 Create a Blog
If you don’t already have one, create a blog and connect it to your existing website. Start with simple, one page posts of general interest to your target audience. Keep the articles short, but try to post something new at least once or twice a week. You are not trying to impress your fellow photographers, but are trying to provide information to your actual customers. You would be surprised how many consumers would be interested in knowing simple things like how solid colors work best for pictures or how a fundraiser can be enhanced through event photography. Post about an environmental or child shoot you did and include a few selected pictures. Show off, but don’t try to sell a new product or service. You don’t need to do extensive research, just write about things you already know and have already done. Be creative and offer up some of your experienced advice and tips. Here is a link that may get your creative juices going. Be sure to set up an automatic email system (Aweber or Constant Contact) to capture resulting leads.
Tip #2 Sign Up on Social Media Sites
Join and have a complete profile on at least 2 social media sites. Actually, we suggest you join three. Our top three choices would be Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The “help” functions on the sites themselves are pretty comprehensive and should get you get going with little trouble. You need to remain aggressively active on these sites, making connections, monitoring and continually posting new and valuable content. Sign up for Lazyfeed or Google Reader, either of which allow you to automatically monitor specific topics of interest and easily see what other people are blogging about. Pass interesting blog links on to your followers. Join groups on LinkedIn as they are a terrific source of good information on what your colleagues are doing. Relax, this is not nearly as hard as it sounds and I guarantee that you will be amazed at the visibility, clients and referrals that will come your way as you become a visible expert in your area.
Tip#3 Utilize Video
Video is a uniquely powerful tool and today almost anyone with any digital skills can create their own web video content. In addition to YouTube, there are many other free video hosting sites that accept uploads. If you want the best search ranking, video is definitely the way to go. Do a video of one of your shoots, showing how you interact with your client. Show unique environmental hot spots where you take people for wedding or senior portrait shoots. Animoto.com is another site that you can use, even if you don’t have actual video content. It allows you to turn your best still photos and music into beautiful videos. The great thing about Animoto videos is that you can easily post them to the various social sites as well as link to them from your blog and even sell them to your clients.
Tip#4 Get Help On-line
If this is all new to you and you are not sure how to get started, there are a number of places on-line that have tutorials that will help you get started. These are just a couple to get you started, but if you search Google there are many more to select from. Here are a few links.
Top 7 Twitter Tutorials: http://bit.ly/alBGO9
How to Use Facebook: http://bit.ly/9H7Fvu
LinkedIn 101: http://bit.ly/aO5DjX
Free 5 Part Series on blogging: http://bit.ly/bxgu4K
Tip # 5 Outsource or Barter Your Expertise and Learn From Others
If you feel that all of this is too much of a distraction from your core business, you can outsource everything to a rapidly growing list of companies and individuals that offer these services. As a photographer, you already have very unique skills that are in tremendous demand in the social media arena. You are a visual artist and images are absolutely critical to this venue. You would be surprised at what you could arrange for by bartering a few head shots or by doing some absolutely trivial Photoshop (compared to retouching) work on a Facebook fan page.
Remember, unlike print or other media placements, your digital content remains available long after posting, continually adding to your positioning as a the “go to” expert in professional photography.
Some great posts here!! I’m just curious how to get into the blogroll on H&H’s blog? Thanks so much!
WOW! This is good stuff. Many photographers want to start using social media as a way to connect with their customers but aren’t sure how to get started. So, I’ll be adding this to my tool belt of information to share with photographers that I run into.
Thanks for the post!