5 Simple Social Media Tips for Photographers

Well, 5 simple social media tips for anyone really, but lets just apply them to photographers for now!

If you’re a photographer just starting out or if you’ve been a photographer forever and just want to expand your online reach, these tips may be helpful for you. Keep in mind, there’s no magic button with social media (despite what “social media geniuses might tell you) and there’s certainly no money-back guarantee with these tips, but they’re certainly worth considering!

1.Your audience are not sitting around waiting for you to post!

If, like me, you’re a bit of a night owl, you whip up a great blog post and have some great images, but then you look at the clock and it’s 2:37am and you think “I’ll post it up on Facebook anyway!” …don’t! Hold out, step away from the keyboard. Think about this, everyone in your demographic is mostly asleep - or they should be, and if they’re not, they’re probably having much more fun than you, sitting at your keyboard. Wait until they’ve arrived at their desk for work in the morning, turned on their computer, opened up their email program, scanned their emails and popped to the kitchen for a cuppa - when they get back to their desk, that’s when you want your post to be front and centre. (or just on lunch time / post lunch / post dinner time) It’s something very simple, but very important - with so much content sliding down the front page of Facebook (and Twitter and etc etc) you want your content to hit at the right time and you may need to experiment to find out when the right time is for you.

2.Don’t join all of the platforms all at once!

It’s a good idea to start out without biting off more than you can chew - for example, joining Facebook and Twitter might be enough to start with, without joining LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, 500px and Weibo too… It’s best to start on the platform that you think is going to have the people you’re looking for - Facebook is usually a safe bet as they have ‘all of the peoples’ The main reason I suggest starting slowly is that you need to be able to create compelling content for each platform - if you can’t create regular content for just one social platform, how the devil are you going to create content for them all! You can do fun things like getting Facebook to automatically send a link to Twitter when you post (and viceversa) or using IFTTT to grab a Tweet and post it on Tumblr, etc, so yes there are ways to automate - but don’t get ahead of yourself.

3.The old “Build relationships” line

Building relationships, what, how, when… This is social media! I don’t want to build relationships! The way I describe this is as follows.. You’re a vacuum cleaner salesman, you’ve been invited to a party (yeah, sure) and when you walk into the party there are a whole bunch of different people all standing around talking, having a beer… You walk into the middle of them and ask everyone to be quite and start trying to sell them vacuum cleaners - what d’you think’s going to happen? — Sit down, grab a drink, strike up an interesting conversation with your new, as yet unknown friends, find out what THEY like and see if you guys have anything in common. Gain your audience’s trust and interest by being interested in them.

4.The numbers do tell you things

You may well be asleep at this point, but if your main goal is to get people from your social channels to your website to check out your epic portfolio and hire you immediately, you really should know if that’s actually happening! Free tools like Google Analytics can tell you a great deal about your audience. Where they’re from, when they visit, how long, what they do next - etc (sounds a bit stalkerish, but it’s wholesome stuff, honest) Use that data to work out what they like about your website - do they spend all their time in your gallery and no time reading your blog posts about the coffee you had last week? Refresh your gallery often and stop drinking coffee - simple! My point is, use the analytics provided by social platforms to tell you what your audience are looking at, and shape your content to suit.

5.Be honest 110% of the time

Photographers are a special bunch (I’ve managed social media for global brands for coming up on 6 years, I’ve seen it all) we’re quite picky, we can be very precious (though, I think if you surveyed the overly picky ones and cross-referenced that with how many were pro photographers, well…) You need to be open and honest in your social communications. Don’t steal other people’s work and pass it off as your own (we will find out and we will grill you - we do that) If you’re lucky enough to have people commenting on your work and you get negative comments - don’t fire your guns. Tomorrow there will be another comment, thank them, address the issue calmly (if required) and move on. Life is short. Don’t feed the trolls.