Social Media for Photographers
We've covered a lot of information so far and we're hoping that you are able to kinda simmer on it for a little bit. Think about your brand and then take a look at what pieces are applicable to the specific type of photography you have and the goals that you have. 'Cause there's going to be photographers that are brand new with their websites that'll have something totally different for goals than somebody who has an established brand and has been doing it for 10, 15 years and just want to improve their SEO game. So this is why we gave so much information, because we know everybody's at a different process and a different stage of their marketing machine. Now, we have covered SEO and we've covered a lot about content. We did a great deal on those. But now we have the piece of social media for driving content to your site. And as we said, you want to connect with people, you drive them to your site, and so that's one of the ways to do so. Here's the thing. There's a lot of content out t...
here about social media for photographers. There's a ton of content. We have some of that content as well, but what we tried to focus this class on was the things that we know photographers don't know, right? The email marketing and the Facebook pixel. I think most photographers are completely unaware of that. Most photographers, however, are aware of social media. So this is going to be a short segment with just some of the best practices that I've picked up along the way. If you followed me on social media six years ago, you were one of very few. And people are like, how did you do this? Well, I wrote a book on social media. Oh, she says she did, thanks, Jess. I wrote a book on social media and I had zero following, but I just followed photographers who were doing well and then copied what they did. And so there was no magic element. It's just been six years of following best practices. Here's what you want to keep in mind. How I use social media and how I think of social media, it's helped me build and maintain those relationships that I am seeking with my clients. I can build them and have conversations. They can ask questions, they can follow me, get to know a little bit of my personality. It's about relationships, and so one of the things that I always think about is the cocktail party, so I use this example quite often when I'm thinking about marketing. All right, so let's say that you are seeking to network with people. For me, as a fashion photographer, I know one of the number one best ways to get business is networking with people, it's the people that you know. But it doesn't mean it's like, oh, it's my rich uncle who knows this person and that gets me business. It's the people that I make know me. But I have to be proactive about it. So the example in real life, if you go ahead and you go to a cocktail party, and you stand in the corner, and you cross your arms.
That's usually me.
Yep, that's totally you. You're the awkward person in the corner and nobody goes over and starts a conversation with you.
Like, it doesn't happen. But what you do benefit from is if you wander around and you listen to conversations and like, oh, I have something to add to this conversation. You join that, you engage with people. That's when you warm them up, you have a conversation. At the end, it's appropriate to say, "It was great talking to you. If you'd like my business card I'd love to work with you." Not business card, business card, or standing in the corner. But also, there's a lot of cocktail parties going on. There's a lot of these business mixers going on in life. Now in one night let's say there's 10 of these mixers. Are you better off darting from one to the next, throwing out your business card, saying hire me? Or are you better off really just picking two of those parties, one of those parties, showing up, having the conversations, meeting people, engaging, building the relationships? And we all know what the answer is. It is identical, it is the exact same thing online. Online, it's your 24 hour a day, seven day a week, international cocktail party. And the first person that made that analogy to me was actually Chase Jarvis. When I was writing my book, I was writing it about seven years ago, he let me interview him and that's one of the tips that he gave me is to think of it like the cocktail party. So, so many times you might have heard me say think of this like real life, the interactions you have, the way you approach things. It's just online and the etiquette applies, and so that's how I kinda want you to think about social media. What parties are you going to? Decide which parties have your ideal customer. Become part of that community and engage and make relationships. And then once you leave, find ways to continue those relationships. So that's what social media really is all about. So we're going to talk about some best practices. Just know social media and all the algorithms, and all those things, they're constantly changing. Now, if I tell you click these buttons, do this now, it'll be obsolete in like--
Yeah. Especially with Facebook, right? It's just a general social media best practice. So that's why I didn't want to focus on that for this class and we focused more on bigger marketing pictures. You can look up and you can go to certain sites, one of the sites I look at is Mashable. You can go to that and see what are best practices as of today for Facebook, as of today for Instagram, and those are a lot of things you can kinda look up.
Or our group is another good place because we report on that.
Yeah, we'll continue those conversations, especially for how it applies to photographers. So keep that in mind, but what I wanted to do just real quick is some of the best practices that apply to all social networks, that's not going to change, so you don't have to worry about algorithms changing and what I say, being irrelevant. So first thing is that consistent voice. When you figure out your ideal customer, you know who they are and you know how to talk to them. And that voice should be consistent throughout. So one of the people in our audience, you had a very quirky voice, and I liked how you wrote about yourself. She was the geek photog, the geek photographer. When she was describing herself, she was talking about her nerdy hobbies and it was really playful and fun and engaging, so you would keep that across your social platforms. Of course, that voice wouldn't be appropriate if you were doing business head shots. But she already decided what her audience is and the appropriate voice, so you want to have that consistent voice. But with social media, don't spread yourself too thin. Pick the one cocktail party, maybe two or three you can visit. Don't pick the five, six, seven, eight. It's not about numbers, it's about the relationships you make at those parties, and so you want to be able to devote real time to them. So narrow it down. The next one would be join communities. So when you have your ideal customer profile, you're figuring out what communities they're in. This might be forums. It might be Facebook groups or what I mean by community, it might even be like a community hashtag. There's certain hashtags that communities are using over and over again, so how can you interject yourself appropriately, not forced, into a community or conversation? And when I do that I remember if I want to join this community, if I just show up at that cocktail party and I'm like, "Hi, book me," no, what can I do to offer something relevant or add to the conversation? That's how I get people to say, "Yeah, you're one of us, you can come in." and then when they need to hire a photographer, "Oh, yeah, we'll hire her because she's one of us." So that's why you want to join those communities. The next rule is the 80/20 rule. A lot of the social platforms that-- I reviewed many photographers that submitted their social media sites. One of the problems that I saw quite often was that most of the time it was, "Here is my sale, here is my discount, hire me." The general rule of thumb is that only 20% of your posts or your effort should be any of that salesy stuff. The rest of it should be you sharing photos or conversations, or all of that content we talked about creating, and all of that value. And if you're worried and you're saying, "Well, what do I talk about that often?" Remember, it doesn't all have to come from you. You can share other content, so that kind of is going to lead into another one of these later on. The next best practice is when you want to share something and you picked your three parties, remember that the way that you share your content, or behave or dress for each party, is going to be different, different parties. You know, how you would dress to an Instagram party and a Twitter party are going to be different. There's just different people there. There's different etiquette. So when I post something to Instagram, my message is different than what it would be on Twitter, not just because of the length of the, the amount of characters I can have, but also the voice that I take and the audience that I know how they're going to be engaging with it. So just don't post and do the same thing all the way across the board. Know that each audience needs to be nurtured in a slightly different way. The next thing you want to do is you want to use your analytics. Analytics exist for all of these platforms. For example, if you decide, you know what? I think I'm gonna be different, I'm going to be unique, and I am going to use YouTube as a way to share content and create a resource for my target audience. There's a way to look at your analytics on YouTube so you can see what videos people are watching, how long they're watching the video, and on average at what point they turn it off. So a, you can see when are they getting bored, or when was the content not something they were interested in, so that you're using your time more effectively. Or I can see when it's best time of day to post on Instagram or Facebook, or the type of content that's getting more comments and more engagement on Facebook. That's all out there, and you can look up analytics for any of these different platforms. But use them, they're really useful. So I know exactly what times of days and days of week it is best for me to post on Instagram for the most people to see it and engage. Do you have, you good?
No, that's the best advice you can give for utilizing the platforms is really test and look, and see what's happening so you can stop sending out messages that don't work.
Don't reach anybody. Yeah, so the next one, number seven is engage, and that's the standing in the corner at the cocktail party. You do have to go out and start conversations. Offer something up that's helpful so people are like, "Well, what do you mean? Like if I just ask a question, no one responds." Well, if you are in a certain group or a certain community that is all about sharing and answering questions, and you're answering people's questions, when you ask them, they're more likely to give you a response. Like it's not just about, "Hey, I'm asking you a question," then expecting something. It's that generosity and reciprocity. So it's asking questions, starting conversations, telling stories, not just here's my photo over and over again. Photos do much better when you've got a little bit of your personality in there, a little bit about you, because again, people aren't just hiring you for the quality of your photographs. If that were the case, the people that are successful probably wouldn't be the ones that are successful. It's about the marketing, but also about the personality there. Number eight, this one's more recent, but use video. If you can use video in some way, maybe it's your Instagram stories, it's Facebook Live. Right now it gets a great deal of engagement. You can use Animoto for example, to create short videos. You can just do Facebook Lives with your phone from behind the scenes. But right now most social platforms are giving quite a lot of weight to video content. So it's not that you need to go become a cinematographer. I'm not saying that, but consider video content and how it gets your message across to your audience. Number nine is share content and link back to your website. So if you do share photos and you're sharing content, it shouldn't be that the person looks at it on Facebook and goes, "Okay, I saw it." There should be, "Go check out more on the website," 'cause their whole idea is to send traffic back, and so if it was just here's one photo, there's no action for them. It's, "Here's one photo if you want to see behind the scenes. Here's a photo if you want to see more in this gallery. Here's a photo if you want to see more in this venue," something to drive back to your website. So keep that in mind. It shouldn't be existing only in that social platform as a best practice, or at least peak their interest to go look around your site in some way.
Yeah, and just to add to that, like the whole recurring theme is get people back to your website, because now you know we can pixel them, we can follow them around on Facebook with ads. We have the opportunity to get their email, and then we can have the opportunity to continue the conversation, so at all costs try and get people back.
Yep, and then the last one here is share adjacent content. So, I've been talking about, you know, you want to be joining communities and you want to engage, you want to have conversations. But it doesn't all have to be things you say. It's just anything that you find useful to your audience. So if you see a useful post, and I'm going to the cosplay person, useful posts about something in the cosplay world and your audience is cosplay related, share something about-- Right, just what your audience is interested in. So it's not all about you, but that keeps it so it doesn't look like you're saying every second, look at me, look. It's like, look at me, oh, this you might also think is helpful, and it just breaks up the monotony of constant seeming to be promoting.
Yeah, so those are the social media best practices that don't change. Those are the things that I try to keep in mind and use from social platform to social platform. Definitely check out the Facebook group that we have to hear a little bit more about specifics for platforms right now, 'cause again, that always changes. We talked about a ton for all these things that you should do on social platforms and whatnot, but there are ways to automate it. Want to talk about that?
Sure, so there are pieces of software, like I'm sure you've heard of Hootsuite and Buffer and Edgar. Those are useful for scheduling and rescheduling content. Now, what's cool about Edgar is if you think of it like a bowl. You stick a bunch of your content in there, preferably not photos, but like links back to your site, blog posts. It'll use artificial intelligence to continue to pick out of that bowl and at the opportune time, repost it whereas like Hootsuite or Buffer, it's like a one-way street. You schedule it once and then it goes out, and then you have to reschedule again. This way it's pulling from like this constant group of things that you can put in there and then have it recycle all the time. So that's useful, and then there's things like BoardBooster for Pinterest, which you know, repins things for you and any of these things that help you schedule and automate, it's worth looking into. Yeah, unfortunately the automation things do cost a couple of bucks, but if it's worth saving your time and time is money, then it's worth it in the end.
All right, so here are the benefits of automation. What this means is I use some kind of dashboard or some kind of website where I schedule or automate some process of my social media or marketing. Like, I tell it when to happen and it does it for me. So here's a couple benefits, time-saving. For example, one of the tools that I use that I'll talk about, is I can schedule all of my posts from one platform so I can kind of just tailor the message to Twitter, to Instagram, to Facebook, all from that platform and it also is showing me any ways that people interact with it, so I don't need to keep going and checking all the different ones. It's telling me how people are interacting. Consistency, so the fact if this is saving me time then it helps me be more consistent, because I'm more likely to schedule things out and do this more regularly instead of dragging my feet. The next one is audience optimization. So for the tool that I use, I can actually say, "Hey, post a photo on Tuesday when it's the best time for my audience to see it." I don't even have to look at the analytics. It'll do it for me, it analyzes that. So it's very useful.
It analyzes based on previous engagement, so it says like, "Okay, it looks like everybody at 12 noon on a Wednesday interacted with your content more than any other day," so you're gonna then just want to schedule it for that time.
So there are a couple different sites. So this is one of, the back end of my Hootsuite. So Hootsuite is going to allow me, like I've got, the first one is my Facebook timeline for my personal Facebook, then I've got my business Facebook. I've got my Twitter, Instagram, and then tweets like at me. So taking a look across the board, you can see that I scheduled stuff out. You can see it, but then I can also see who's interacting, how it's performing, who commented, and I can respond to them right there. So it's not like I need to constantly-- Are you up there? He's right there.
I am. So I don't need to constantly be going to all these sites because it takes a ton of time. So I can manage it all right here. And it's just time-saving, so I don't think my life is-- I mean, I do look at Pinterest and Instagram non-stop, but I don't have to. I just do. And then here's an example of what it looks like when I scheduled out when I went on vacation, so I can pick the specific time, I can tailor the message and I can schedule it out. If you worked with, if you have an assistant or an intern, you could also give them permissions to be able to do it without having to give away all your passwords. So these are some of the most popular tools. I use Hootsuite. You said Meet Edgar's pretty popular right now.
Yeah, Edgar's a little different, like we'd said. It's not the one-way conversation where you just fire it off. It will recycle that content, so if you have like 10 pieces, 15 pieces of core content, it'll continually recycle it when it finds the opportune time, like which one was more popular and kind of-- Not over and over again. You can spread it out, but it's useful. And we're gonna talk about that for one of our case studies. There's somebody that would really benefit from using Edgar to recycle some amazing content that they had.
Yeah, and it's useful for evergreen content specifically, and evergreen content is content that doesn't really have any sort of date or time associated with it. So it could just be timeless tips, like certain posing tips that aren't gonna really change or something like that, so it'll continually be useful for people no matter when they actually read about it.