Header image by Triggertrap User Maxime Lara
Whether you want to expand your online presence or simply increase your business reach, these top tips from social media manager Katherine Hockley will send you in the right direction.
Use multiple platforms
You may think you only need a presence on Instagram, but in reality you should be promoting yourself across a number of platforms. It will increase your reach and the wider the net, the bigger the catch. Posting on your personal Facebook page is not enough either, as it is not accessible to new clients or audience members. If you want to be taken seriously, create a separate, professional Facebook page devoted to your photography brand.
If you can accompany your photography with a blog, you give yourself another opportunity to engage with your audience. A blog allows people to connect with you in a different way, and it maintains a line of communication even if you can’t get out and take photos.
Blighted by bad weather? Not a problem! Do a behind-the-scenes post to show how you created one of your most popular photos.
Suffering from creative block? (It happens to us all.) Do a re-edit of an old photo and let your readers in on the secret.
Readers love to know little details, so even if it’s just a run-down of the kit and settings that you used on a shoot, it’s a means of keeping in contact and showing a different side to your photography.
Start a project
If you really want to make a splash on the internet, create an exciting or original project. Push and challenge yourself–creatively, physically, and intellectually–and document your journey. If it’s really interesting, photography websites may start paying attention to you and giving your project coverage, like Panos did with his photography project Greek Skies.
Know your brand
You should be able to sum up what you want to communicate with your work in a few words. Is your photography experimental, or more traditional? Are you looking to engage a certain sector of the population? Do you want to come across as formal, or informal? You should ask yourself this: what do I want my audience to think when they see my posts? Your brand should be consistent, but that doesn’t mean limiting yourself to one type of photography. The sentences you write to share a post make all the difference, and they can be the make or break of your personal brand.
Inject some personality
Being ‘on-brand’ doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun with your online presence. Almost the opposite, in fact: injecting some humour into your posts is more likely to engage audiences, so don’t be afraid to feed your personality into your blog posts, tweets, and image captions. It’s better to come across as a charming, witty person than a faceless corporation-bot that’s obsessed only with getting new clients. For example, Innocent Smoothies post irreverently on Twitter on things nothing to do with their brand and it pays off significantly.
Don’t just share your own content
Only sharing your own content tends to make you come across as self-obsessed and self-promotional. It’s not a good look. Moreover, if you can share articles, retweet tweets, and highlight other people’s work that your followers and readers will find interesting, they will regard your social presence as one worth keeping an eye on. It wins you brownie points with other photographers and writers when you promote their work, too. It’s about putting the ‘social’ into social media.
If you struggle to post regularly or find yourself being erratic with your social media strategy, there are plenty of free scheduling apps that will help you organise your pages. TweetDeck allows you to schedule tweets so that you don’t have to be online to post them. Buffer and HootSuite allow you to schedule your Facebook and Twitter posts, while Latergramme allows you to schedule your Instagram feed.
It’s worth doing a tiny bit of analytics to work out when your prime posting times are, so that you can schedule tweets and blog, Facebook, and Instagram posts to maximise engagement. Don’t be surprised if your optimal tweet time is different to your perfect Facebook time, and use this to your advantage!
If you’re a wedding photographer, tagging guests in photos on Facebook will mean you automatically advertise yourself to their entire friends’ lists. If you begin to follow other photographers, you stand to foster positive relationships that can prove valuable. Apart from the potential to have your work shared and promoted by them, there’s also the chance of guest posts or professional collaboration.
Guess what? People love free stuff. If you’re looking to increase your following, a small prize for a competition can go a long way. Social media influencer and photography enthusiast Christian Hopewell (LazyDreads) says:
“The best growth I've been able to get out of my Facebook page is when I've got something to giveaway... even if it's only worth a few pounds, when you get people commenting and sharing things on Facebook. It’s much more effective than spending the same amount on Facebook's own advertising.”
For example, you could send a free print of one of your photographs to one of your followers in a retweet competition.
Create journey posts
Don’t just share your finished photos; create progress posts and show how you achieved the final image. Doing a before and after edit post will be of interest to your followers, and means you have more content to share as well as showing off just how skilful you are.
Check your spelling, punctuation, and grammar
A lot of people won’t share something if it’s misspelled or lacking in punctuation marks as they believe it will reflect badly on them. Therefore, make sure your posts are always coherent and written out properly. There’s no point jeopardising potential shares or likes because you can’t be bothered to write the word ‘you’ out in full.
Keep an eye on photography news, and start conversations based around what’s trending. What are your thoughts on Instagram’s new feed rules? Is Nikon’s newest camera floating your boat? A quick blog post or tweet from your account on any hot topic might be seen by someone browsing the relevant hashtag, who then goes on to click on your page and discovers your amazing photography.
Non-pressure calls to action
Don’t be afraid to encourage your followers to take action on your posts, just don’t be too forceful. Writing ‘Tag a friend who will appreciate this’ is far more likely to create results than simply writing ‘Tell your friends about me!’
The $64,000 question
When you’re about to post something, ask yourself: Would I want to see this on MY timeline? If the answer is no, then you need to make sure you package things in a way that engages your audience, or re-evaluate the kinds of posts you’re sharing.
Follow these top tips and your social media presence will improve in no time! #Woohoo! Don't forget to follow us on our various social accounts too!