Talk to any professional in a creative field and they will probably tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with social media. For professional photographers, this is almost always the case – while social media can be a valuable tool for gaining cost-effective exposure, getting your photography noticed in an ocean of other images can be tough. And for freelancers – as most photographers are – managing your profiles and content over an ever-growing number of platforms is a headache and a distraction from the work itself. Nonetheless, social media is now the best marketing channel, and there are numerous tactics and techniques photographers can use to maximize their reach and their client base. Let’s take a look.
When you’re promoting yourself on social media it’s important to use the right platforms in the right ways. All photographers must have Instagram – the app was tailor-made for photography and pictures look great in the format. Facebook and Twitter are also essential. YouTube might be a video-sharing platform, but it generates so much traffic that having a presence there could also be useful, even if it is just a couple of videos pointing to your other socials. If you’re going for a more youthful demographic, you’d do well to check out TikTok and Snapchat – as well as keep your ear to the ground for popular new social media platforms.
Organizing your socials
You should aim to post new content on your social media accounts fairly regularly – at least once a week according to some marketers. This will keep you in the timelines of your followers, making you, your photography, and your brand familiar – followers will be on the lookout for your new content. It may seem like a hassle to post the same stuff on every platform, but cross-posting from the app you use most reduces the headaches. As a photographer, you will probably be posting photos on Instagram, and this will appear on your Facebook and Twitter with a link for followers to click through. Check your other apps to see how cross-posting works on them.
Organize your time
Being a freelance photographer means you probably don’t have a fixed schedule, so it’s important to organize your time effectively. Managing your social media accounts is something you can schedule, however, so set aside a couple of hours each day to check all your profiles across the platforms, upload new content, reply to messages or reach out to potential clients. There are now plenty of solutions that allow you to combine social media marketing with the other tasks a photographer faces, such as editing, file organization, and portfolio management, allowing you to fully organize and optimize your time.
As a professional photographer, your work should already have a strong aesthetic signature. But your social media presence also needs a consistent look and feel. This is all part of building brand recognition, so colors and logos (if you have one) should be the same across all social media platforms. Photographers spend a lot of time putting photographs together into groups, sequences, and series. This principle should also be applied on social media – select sequences of images that look great together, tell a story, or sell a service. Instagram is a great platform for photographers, and adding multiple photos at once is a simple and effective way to present sequences of images that will boost your brand.
Social media is all about making connections with people, whether you’re using the apps recreationally or for business. As a professional, it’s good to spread a positive image to be as approachable as possible to potential new clients. Take time to write good captions for your work – these needn’t be essays, but informative and succinct. Respond to comments and messages – research has shown that personalization is a major plus point when it comes to social media marketing. It’s a two-way street as well – the more you get to know your demographic, the more you’ll be able to tailor content for them, and the more they will respond to you.
It’s impossible to overstate the value of social media as a marketing tool. For freelance professional photographers, self-promotion on the most popular platforms is the best and most cost-effective way to build a business.
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