Whether you make a living as a commercial photographer or you're pursuing a career in the fine arts, you'll need to attract attention to your work and distinguish yourself from the competition. For many photographers searching for effective ways to fuel success, social media presents an ideal space to increase awareness, connect with potential clients, and open doors to new opportunities.
If you're already sold on the dynamic benefits of social media, and are eager to start making it work for you, here are seven tips for growing a supportive online following:
1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
A primary reason to use social media is to drive qualified traffic to your online address, so it's essential to greet new friends with a thoughtfully-curated profile. Beyond providing necessary info like who you are, the services you provide, and how to get in touch, give your page a personally-branded, professional finish. This will enhance your appeal as a visual artist. From a beautiful portfolio of your best work, to highly-developed content that emanates directly from your marketing mission, the more viewer-ready your portfolio, the more weight your social media presence will carry. Including testimonials from satisfied clients can also be beneficial.
2. Stir The Pot
In the modern world of social media marketing, the best possible endorsements you can receive are the ones from your fans. In order to build an engaged following, you need to ramp up your activity in a meaningful way. Distribute quality content your existing social networks will enjoy, seek out, and share with friends. Visual media has proven effective in spiking online engagement, so take advantage of your photography skills by including captivating imagery in all of your posts, cultivating an eye-catching (and frequent) Pinterest presence, and creating entertaining and informative videos that put your skills on display.
3. Embrace the Give & Take
It is important for busy professionals attempting to use social media as a fast track to success to recognize the two-way street social media represents. As important as it is establish a position of authority and relevance by posting great content, it is just as crucial to follow it up with meaningful interaction.
When you put something out there for public consumption, whether it's a sample of your work or an informed opinion on an industry trend, use it as an opportunity to start a conversation. When you demonstrate the willingness to mix it up by asking your audience for their comments and personal experiences, and also make the extra effort to respond them, you harbor a culture of mutual respect that helps launch more productive relationships.
4. Be Generous
Paul McCartney famously sang that, in the end, "The love you take is equal to the love you make." That sentiment holds especially true when it comes to social media. In order to maintain perspective, keep asking yourself what you'd give for a loyal pool of supporters who are invested in helping you achieve your professional goals. Being generous with advice to aspiring photographers, creating insightful material that helps your audience grow more informed, and sharing special offers they might find helpful are great ways to forge lasting relationships built on trust and admiration. When social media is really working, it is less about amassing an adoring fan club and more about playing an integral role in an active and thriving community.
5. Push Creativity
As a photographer, you need to let the creative juices flow in developing visual messages that command attention, make a concise point, and demonstrate both your talent and perspective. No matter what type of photographer you are, remain open-minded about using software tools, unique filters, and design techniques (typography, for instance) to create eye-catching images your audience find hard to resist. Whether it is capturing the most important moments of people's lives, or documenting the unique perfection of a natural landscape, it is possible to make a connection that transcends the digital experience.
6. Post, Repost, Repackage, Repeat
It can be understandably difficult to drum up the energy to create top-quality content for social media. A smart strategy to efficiently grow your audience is to carefully schedule your most effective content a few times over a 24-hour period. Also, repackage the content for diverse channels to ensure maximum exposure to your extended network. While you never want to alienate and lose members of your following by over-saturating their news feed, in many cases it is more beneficial to sacrifice a few less interested leads in order to gain broader exposure to an enthusiastic audience.
7. Get Started Already
You've been warned in business to be cautious when putting the cart before the horse, but in the modern era, aspirations are all the motivation an individual needs to start building an online following. No matter what stage you are at with your photography, the stronger and more developed your social network is, the greater your ability to identify a consumer base, increase awareness, and open new revenue streams.
Social media is a cost-effective, highly sustainable method of marketing a career that in many ways trumps traditional advertising. The only catch is it takes more time. So if you have designs for a future in photography, the sooner you start building a social network the better equipped you'll be when the rubber hits the road.
Social media is a powerful tool for creative professionals eager to gain exposure with an engaged and appreciative audience. By creating a polished profile and captivating content, being thoughtful in building relationships, and remaining diligent at cultivating a thriving online community, you can grow a photography following on social media capable of helping you achieve your goals.
About the Author
Rich Herman writes about digital advertising and new media, social marketing, and technology.