The wild world of social media seems to change by the hour, and it can feel overwhelming to market your business and engage your followers through so many different channels.
Even though sometimes it may seem like such a chore to keep up with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, potential clients are checking each of these channels regularly to judge the credibility, personality, and caliber of their future photographer.
So how do you even begin to make yourself stand out in a sea of status updates, tweets, and pins? Try these five new ways to set your photography business apart on social media in 2016:
1. Challenge yourself to an Instagram photo project.
Grow and inspire your Instagram following by taking on a photo challenge. Try a 30-day themed project, or embark upon a photo adventure every week (or even every day) of the year, if you’re feeling super ambitious.
Pick a creative theme that will get a great conversation going among your followers, and document things seen on your run, the scenery around you while you’re enjoying your morning coffee, or the people you meet on the train every day. Keep it interactive by asking for input about the next challenge, and stretch your creativity in a totally new way!
2. Dive into LinkedIn headfirst.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is ashamed to admit that I’ve let my LinkedIn profile wither a little bit over the busy holiday season (…or maybe it’s been a little longer than that). The good news is, it’s still a great outlet for photographers to network and gain exposure for their work.
Once your profile is up to snuff, start to connect with fellow photographers, second shooters, vendors, clients, and friends. Join and participate regularly in industry-specific groups, and contribute to the knowledge sharing process.
Most importantly, ask for endorsements from clients and other photographers/creatives you’ve worked with. Although it’ll only take a moment of their time, your legitimacy as a professional will skyrocket!
3. Humanize your Facebook self.
If you’re a semi-pro or professional photographer, it’s a widely accepted best practice to have a Facebook profile for yourself, and a separate one for your business. Ironically, however, posts that are more personal are viewed (and interacted with) far more on Facebook than posts that are purely sales or business-related.
While your clients and future clients will be looking for examples of your recent work and information about sales, they’ll also be drawn to “behind-the-scenes” tidbits that reveal a little bit about your personality and your life.
Just don’t go overboard – it is possible to humanize the voice behind the brand without over-sharing. Over-sharing is definitely a 2016 don’t.
4. Create a Twitter strategy and stick to it.
The key to making Twitter work for pro photographers is being strategic. To be a considered an active and relevant member of the creative Twitter community, it’s important to tweet regularly (read: 1-5 times per day). That being said, it’s what you share that has a bigger effect on your success.
Stick to dividing your posts into three equal categories: 1/3 industry-relevant content from other businesses/photographers/organizations, 1/3 your own content, and 1/3 general interest/updates that build your personal and professional brand.
The most important thing to remember: tweet things that you yourself would want to read about – being intentional is key. Your likelihood of getting an inquiry from Twitter will most likely go down if you angrily live-tweet your traffic-filled morning commute…every…single…day.
5. Get interactive with Pinterest.
Photographers have long been utilizing Pinterest to share their best images and to prep clients for upcoming shoots with inspirational and “What to Wear” boards (if you haven’t yet, check out this one from Vanessa Joy Photography). Within the industry, however, it’s very rarely used interactively, which is a great opportunity for photographers in 2016.
Try hosting a contest this year to engage the Pinterest world in a whole new way – pin some of your best images and judge the winning photo based on the number of “likes” or repins. One follower who participates can be chosen to win a free mini-session or a set of complimentary Professional Photo Prints. If you’re unsure about pinning your own images on Pinterest, add a small watermark and pin away with reckless abandon.
What new social media activities are you going to try in 2016? Post in the comments below & get started on your social media to-do list today!