There’s no denying the power of social media today. With over 4 billion people connected to the Internet, social media is quickly becoming one of the main means of communication in the world. And it’s easy to see why: every social media channel acts as a platform to enable users to share, engage, and discover content.
However, it can be quite daunting to get started, and hard to figure out the best way to use the new tools you’ve signed up for. So this article is here to help you see the benefits of social media, and help you make sense of it all!
Why join social media platforms?
If you’re new to social media, or have never really used it to promote your business, I find that the easiest way to look at it is to pretend that your social media channels are your physical photography shop.
You have a shop front (which is the appearance of your channels on a purely aesthetic level), products (which is what you sell, whether it’s wedding, editorial, or sports photography), and a salesperson (that’s you!).
The problem with not having a real physical shop is that you barely ever get to engage with customers or promote your work. And that’s why social media is essential for you!
It helps you reach new people:
The same way your potential customers would walk past your store on the street, social media users can easily land on your online pages and discover your work.
Get to know your customers:
Creating social media accounts opens the door to new discussions with potential and existing customers. It’s a way for you to interact directly with people looking to hire your services: you can answer their questions, discuss your work with them, and listen to what they have to say without any delays.
Share your work:
A portfolio is essential and great for any artist, but it can be hard to reach with simple Google searches. Having your work on social media makes it a hundred times more likely to be seen, shared, and interacted with!
Which platforms should you use?
Before you start creating accounts on every single social media platform out there, you should ask yourself the following questions: What kind of content do I want to post? What kind of interactions am I looking for? How much time do I want to spend on my social media?
Just remember: quality is always better than quantity. Pick the most relevant channels for your needs – that way, you can be sure that you’ll show a great side of yourself, and you don’t risk spreading yourself too thin.
With all this in mind, you can start looking at your options. The following selection of channels is very subjective, as these are the platforms findr uses to engage with its community. They work well for us, but that doesn’t mean that these are your only options. You might benefit from creating a YouTube channel, or want to try your hand at Pinterest. It’s all about trial and error, but here is what our experience has taught us:
It’s a fantastic platform for news, and quick-fire communication with a very wide range of people. Twitter is ideal for announcements, or to join conversations using hashtags. The downside of Twitter it’s that it’s mostly a verbal platform, so you might not get much engagement when you share your visual work. And Twitter moves really fast: your tweets get lost quickly, so it can prove itself quite time-consuming. But Twitter is the best place to find out about competitions, grants, exhibitions, and other events you might not to miss out on.
I may be quite biased as I use Instagram privately too, but it seems to me this is the most appropriate platform for any visual artist. The concept of Instagram revolves around pictures, so you couldn’t find a better home for your work! Think online portfolio visible and accessible to all. You also get to discover fellow artists and create your own network of photographers. But with a lot of other artists on the platform, you’ll have to fight hard for a place in the spotlight.
If we go back to the analogy of the physical store, Facebook is probably the closest one to a real store. It mixes both short text, visual work, and longer content – and Facebook users love a video! This means you can play about with all the content you create. You can also receive direct reviews from existing customers, link your page to your other social media platforms, and share all the information you want – such as contact details, a bio, etc.
I’ve signed up – now what?
The main point of having a social media page is to promote your work, update potential and existing customers, and advertise for your business. And you can’t do that without showing what it is you do. On Instagram, I’d recommend posting quite often, but never more than twice a day – otherwise, not all your posts will receive the same amount of attention, and your followers might miss out on something great. Gill Murray, for instance, does a great job of posting regularly. As for Facebook, is a great place for verbal communication, announcements, and photos, so long as it’s all relevant and timely.
Just make sure to treat all those channels separately: don’t just always repost the same content on each platform. For example, your Instagram followers might not care about the news you put in your caption, and simply want to check out your gorgeous photography! And if your social media pages are your shopfront, make sure to post only your best content. Just remember to always curate your feeds as well as you can.
Engage, engage, engage!
Getting feedback on your work is always pleasant, whether it’s a praise or constructive criticism. And it’s the same for other artists! If you find people whose work you really like and want to see more of, follow them! If you come across a beautiful picture, give it a like or leave a comment. Use hashtags to join pages. Engaging with other people’s content is essential to become part of online communities, and to discover other creators. High Tide Media are fantastic when it comes to validating other users’ work, and engaging with everything their followers post.
But you can also personally gain a lot from it! First of all, liking or following other accounts makes those users aware of your existence: that drives traffic to your pages and, if you’re lucky, even your website. But it also makes you more visible to other users and potential customers, as you might then show up in their recommended pages, or in their “Explore” feed in the case of Instagram. And, for something that costs you so little, you could end up making a lot of profit from it if those users turn into customers!
Extra tips to help you on your journey
1. Stay organised
If you’re afraid that managing you social media might take up too much of your time, you can try to schedule the content you want to post in advance. Put aside a couple of hours here and there to write copy and pick your pictures, and you can then be sure that you’ll never panic realising that you have nothing planned for that day! For example, photographer Georgie Glass is doing a 1-picture-a-day challenge, but she always schedules her content weeks in advance to avoid bad surprises.
2. Collect data
Also, if you’re not sure that social media is for you, how about giving it a go and monitoring your changes to see if it’s worth it? Nowadays, with analytics on Google and most social media platforms, you can measure the success of your posts, the number of followers you have every month, and even how much traffic your website gets from week to week. This might help you see the value of social media!
3. Make things easy
And finally, make sure you’re easily bookable by creating and sharing your findr profile with your followers. If you’ve followed these steps correctly, you should have people dying to work with you and hire your services in no time, so why make the last step of the process hard for them? By linking your findr profile to your pages, you can immediately be booked – that means a smoother process for you and for them, and more time to take pictures!
So whether you see yourself in the fast-paced Twitter, or in the aesthetically-focused Instagram, sit down, buckle up, and let the fantastic and endless world of social media platforms help you develop your brand and promote your work.