20 important things to know about social media and the photography industry.

As we all know too well, our industry has been changing over the last few years and with it so have client expectations, needs and the way that they search for photographers.

It used to be that if you were talented your work would surely stand out and with a combination of good work, savvy marketing and some well deserved awards you could actually make a living in this business.

Well, look around.  The competition isn’t getting any smaller and the ability to stand out harder and harder.  Marketing choices are abundant and you no longer know where a client will search for photography.  You are spending more of your time marketing yourself than you are shooting for yourself.

Clients feel these differences too.  With so many choices of sites to review and photographers to consider, they have countless creative options available to them.  So much so that great work is not the only criteria for consideration any more.

It is time to realize that it is no longer just about your photographs, but about YOU and the story behind your images.  It is crucial to understand that having great work is sometimes not enough and that often times clients now want to know the story behind the you and your work.    They want to know what it would be like to collaborate with you long before they pick up the phone to talk with you.

And, I believe that integrating social media into your current marketing plan is the single most effective way to have a voice and share your own story.

Well, apparently, lots of people in our community are curious about this way of thinking as well.  The space at Dog Patch Studios was full of people for the San Francisco APA event, “Social Getworking.”  All of them wondering how to navigate the world of social media.

It was a very informative panel mediated by photographer Josh Bobb.  Together with Miki Johnson (social media guru) and Timothy Archibald (photographer and blogger), we tried to make sense of all the reasons to participate and vehicles to consider.


Here are the 20 most important things about social media stood out in the conversation:

1)The internet is the real world, so act the same way you do in the real world.  Just be yourself.

2) “Everything I’ve gotten professionally has come through my social media involvement — without exaggeration or exception, literally everything,”  David Duchemin.

3)  Humans crave stories.  Stories are what people remember and seek out time and time again.  Stories that come from an honest and genuine place and push ones’ comfort zone often times are seen as refreshing in the blog world.

4)  Social media is the new word of mouth and a powerful tool through which people seek out recommendations and search for inspiration for most everything.

5)  Social media is not just about what you ate for breakfast or how much you loved the new Harry Potter movie.  It is about sharing content that is relevant and meaningful.  It is about  adding value.

6)  Social media is about personal connections, word of mouth and sharing ideas to a select and targeted group of people.  It is about finding your voice as a creative and sharing it with not only your friends, but people in your industry.

7)  It is 100% necessary for a photographer to market him/herself regardless of if they have a rep.  The addition of a photographer to marketing plan leads to exponential results.  Social media provides photographers with so many options for connecting with people.  For those photographers who prefer not to meet one on one or cold call, social media is the perfect way to reach out.

8) Photographers are visual people.  If you are not confident writing a blog or posting a status update, find a way visually to connect.  Know that the images you share do not have to be all work related.  Post photos you shot with your iphone of things that inspire you, share images of your kids or photographs of random things that make you smile. (anyone know why #8 turned into a smiley face???)

9)  If you think of social media as work or a to do list item than you haven’t found the right creative outlet for yourself.

10)   SEO is important but not at the expense of content.  Do not let that part of the process overwhelm you or cause you to stall.

11) Sharing interesting things you find online is just as important as posting your own ideas.

12)  Find 10 blogs that you like and follow them regularly.  Comment on posts that you like and share the most interesting posts.  The authors will begin to be curious about who you are and link to your site.  They may even begin to follow you and share what you have to say.

13) When you find your voice, make sure it is genuine.

14)  Do not use social media solely to get work.  That strategy is transparent.  Remember that this is the real world.  You don’t sell yourself to everyone you meet do you?

15) Blogs and websites that work together to tell your story will become more of the norm.  Websites alone will eventually feel unfinished.

16) People who you are friends with on Facebook or follow you on Twitter, Tumblr or any of the other sites, CHOOSE to do so.  They are an active audience who wants to learn more about you.

17)  Relevant content is key.

18)  Tools such as Hootsuite(can’t post an image though) and Sendible (can post an image) are great tools to help manage your posts.  Klout shows you how influential you are on the web (or not!) and helps you find people who are sharing posts that are relevant to you.  WordPress is cleaner, current and easier to use than Blogger/Blog Spot. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are great sites to help manage your lists if you send out newsletters.

19) Google yourself and set up a google alert for yourself.  To find out how to set one up, just google it!

20) “Profiles” are more useful on Facebook than “Pages.”

If you have any questions or note to add, please do email us, we would love to hear from you.

See full post here: Heather Elder Represents Blog2011-07-25.