Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

 

Lesson Info

Ages of the Internet

All right. So let's go ahead and jump into our coursework. Now, I do want to mention that the first segment of what we're talking about is a little bit dry. I apologize for that. But it's really important to understand, as the age-old saying goes, that you need to learn how to crawl before you can learn how to run. When it comes to social media, I feel that it's very important to know where it started, where it began, and where we are now, and why we're here where we are now before we can dive into a lot of the other information that I know you guys are eager to learn and the questions that you guys have. So, again, we're going to start off. It's going to be a little bit more dry, a little bit more backstory, but we're going to power through it and we're going to get to some really good stuff here soon. If you guys have questions, again, about this stuff, please let us know, and we're happy to address them. So, first thing we're going to talk about is essentially the different ages of ...

the internet. We've been on the internet for the most part, for, let's say, about 17 years, okay? For the general public, we've been around for that long. During that time span, we've gone through a couple different ages of the internet, and each of the different ages is proceeded by the next evolution of digital entertainment, digital communication, all sorts of interesting stuff. And what happens, when the internet first came on the play, so first came on the late '90s, early 2000s, was the dot-com boom, okay? So during the dot-com boom, the focus was generally on stagnant websites. It's about content. It's the first time that a lot of people were able to really get access to information at a high level for a lot of different stuff. Before, it was really difficult. I remember before, the idea of even Google Maps. Like, "How did we get around?" We carried around this book, and, "What did we do? How do we make it work?" The dot-com boom helped lay the foundation for a lot of the companies that brought a lot of the interest and the excitement around the internet together. Now, I don't know if you guys heard of this one, Google. I don't know if you guys have heard of them before. They came out of the dot-com boom. Google Search is one of the most prominent search engines online now. Sixty-seven percent of all searches happen through Google. They're dominating the market in that space. Other companies that came out of the dot-com boom, Amazon. Anyone shop at Amazon? Anyone a Prime member? I am. Cool. Seattle here. eBay, I buy a lot of stuff on eBay. Priceline, coupons.com, which actually I had to research. I didn't know, but they got cool coupons, so recommend checking it out. But all of these different entities and everything that happened during that dot-com boom was really about the idea of information, capitalism. That really started us off on our journey and our adventure on the internet. So the next stage of the internet was the focus on dynamic content. So, dynamic content was the evolution of the static age of the internet, where you'd go on to Google and you do a search, and all this text and stuff popped out. And essentially, dynamic content was taking that content and trying to make it more exciting and more engaging. We wanted to retain people's attention spans for longer. So, what came out of the dynamic age? YouTube. Again, coming back to a Google property, YouTube was purchased in 2006 for...I can't remember how much, but a lot of money. YouTube was huge. YouTube is huge. Right now, there are 300 hours of videos uploaded every minute of every day. The number of videos viewed on YouTube every day, close to five billion. Number of unique visitors to YouTube every month, close to 900 million. Total number of hours of videos watched on YouTube every month, 3.25 billion. It's a lot. And the reason that YouTube came out and became so prevalent was because it was one of the first of its time. Now, in addition, you also have entities like Vimeo. Any of you guys watched videos on Vimeo before? It's a little bit more indie. They generally have a little bit...sometimes I want to say a little higher quality of stuff out there. This is Chris Burkard, who, if you guys don't know, is a photographer we're going to be talking a lot about today. He's a good friend of mine. Surf and adventure and travel photographer. He's a social media monster. He's awesome. But this is his Vimeo page, and essentially a bunch of the videos that he's uploaded there. And Vimeo itself has 170 million viewers every month and 715 million monthly video views. It's a lot of content that people are consuming. Then you have CreativeLive. CreativeLive was started in 2010, I believe. Did my research. Again, it's my first time, so had to look it up. We have thousands of classes here, and, you guys, we're live-streaming this, so we're taking that idea of content and education and making it dynamic, which is the success of how CreativeLive came to be. And then Facebook Video. Facebook Video's come on the scene has been huge. They put a lot of energy and effort into it. We're going to talk a little bit about that throughout this class. But in the last two years, Facebook Video has been catching up quite a bit to YouTube, which is generally the biggest player in the space right now. And every single day, there's over eight billion videos being watched on Facebook. That's huge. And Facebook itself is actually pushing that stuff out there, which is really interesting to know as a content creator, is even if you're a photographer, you're not really into video or if you understand that video content is being pushed out there. So they're helping you fight through their own algorithms because they want that content seen. It's good information to know, and that's something we're going to dive into quite a bit. So the next stage of the internet is where we are now. That's essentially the social age of the internet. Now, the social age of the internet took a lot of what we learned from the dot-com boom and the digital age of the internet, and essentially has taken all of that, all those experiences, and have really tried to bring back the human element. I totally understand, there's a sense of irony in this specific image that we're using here. The human elements where all these people are on their phones and doing all the stuff. But in reality, the social age of the internet is about connection. It's about connecting with individuals or companies or brands, it's about having conversations, about engaging with people. That's something that the past few generations somewhat...I don't necessarily want to say failed to do but didn't have a focus on doing. This is another reason of the success of CreativeLive because it's mixing all the three of the different pieces. You're taking education and capitalism. We're selling courses here on CreativeLive. We're making it digital because we're live-streaming it. Then we're engaging. We're bringing all of you guys in here live. You guys live-streaming are watching this from all over the world. This is a testament to where we are today. It's that core foundation of that human connection that equates out to the social age of the internet. It's been 10 years in the making. Because if you think of the dot-com boom, that was really early 2000s. Digital content has lasted through today, but really started around 2006 to 2012-ish. And the last generally 7 to 10 years has been about this idea of social. Again, Facebook started in 2005 by Mark Zuckerberg. Again, we're going to talk about that. But its initial point of making Facebook, before it was 1.7 billion users like it is today, was simply to be a communication tool for people in his dorm room at Harvard, and it morphed into the giant mammoth beast that it is now based on that premise of human connection. So, what are the core elements of the social age of the internet? One is that sense of feeling connected. So, we're putting out content and the idea of getting engagement on the posts that we put out there, whether it's photos or text or videos or memes or GIFs or whatever we're doing, is that whole idea from a content creator standpoint, that idea of connecting, that idea of sharing our content, and having people engage and interact with it, is awesome. It feels good, right? And the same thing from the other side. From a content consumer standpoint, you're sitting there and you're looking...maybe you guys follow me on Facebook or maybe you don't, whoever you follow, when you engage with something that you like, generally it's because there's something about it that is engaging, that you like, that's pulling you in. So that idea of engagement and that idea of connectivity is really, really huge. And then what's really interesting and which is really what this class is about, is taking that idea of the human connection and engagement that we want those content producers, photographers, visual artists, and take that, and to doing something with it. Now, this is a video post from Benjamin Von Wong, who is a high-concept philanthropic humanitarian. He does everything. He's awesome. If you don't follow him, check out Benjamin Von Wong. He's one of the photographers we're going to be talking about today. And what he did, in this case, was, he took the idea of advocacy photography where he created a project wrapped around plastic bottles in the ocean and he brought in this team of people, and they essentially created this sea of plastic bottles, and they posed these mermaids with makeup artists and all this stuff. And then he took that idea of that content and they put it on the internet, and then threw that idea of engagement, of connectivity, of somewhat shared responsibility, people began sharing and interacting with it. So, this was taken... When I took this screenshot was probably a few weeks ago. So right now it's saying that there was 64,000 people across this planet that liked it. There was 206,353 people that shared it. They were so engaged by what it was that they wanted to share it with their audiences. And then the views, which aren't listed here, last I checked, which is a few days ago, was around 20 million. We'll talk a little bit more about how he did that, how he got this to go so viral, and what came to be. But what I wanted to do is bring it up because this, again, embodies a lot of what we want, and it brings up that core fundamental aspect of human connectivity and engagement and that connection point between you as a photographer, and you guys watching online, you guys creating content, sharing it out there and having that engagement go both ways. So, the next thing that we're going to talk about is trust. Now, currently we live in a trust economy. I think lot of people don't fully understand that. And this is really important to know because the algorithms that most of us struggle to understand, struggle to figure out on Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, all have this idea, this core idea of trust at its center. And so when it comes to trust as a currency, what's interesting and what's happened along with the social age of the internet is where you have companies... So this is Amazon. You see my name is up there. This is a book I wrote back in 2012, Google+ for Photographers, back when Google+ was really hot on the social media scene. And so I worked with my publishers at the time and created this book. And then, what was the most important thing that we had to do once we get out there, we put these big marketing campaigns together, we shared it out on social media, tried to get people to buy it. It did quite well, actually. And what's happened out of that idea is the idea of trust. So reviews have become a huge aspect of social media, that idea of trust. You sit there, and say it's 2012, and you're going to look for a book and you're like, "Google+, what is this?" You go on to Amazon and you're going to sit there and you're going to read the reviews. So I am closing, me and wife and son, who you guys will see in this presentation, are closing in on a house in the next, hopefully, 10 days, maybe a little bit more. We just moved out to Easton, Pennsylvania. And we had to buy all new appliances for this house because it hadn't been lived in for a few years. So what do we do when we're looking for all new appliances? Check out the reviews, run Home Depot, run Lowe's, we're going to all these different places, and we're trying to sit there and say, "I don't really want to trust the marketing speak from the companies because they're just trying to sell me their stuff. I want to trust what other people are saying." And it's that core concept is how these algorithms are forming a lot of their information about you guys. So same thing with Yelp. Again, I haven't been to Seattle in a while, so coming into Seattle, I needed to get some food last night, I'm going to jump on Yelp. I'm going to see what are the most reviewed places. A lot of the times, myself and a lot of you guys probably, will base your judgment, saying, "Oh, well, this so and so restaurant has 5 stars and 138 reviews. Must be good, right?" Facebook is doing the same thing. Instagram is doing the same thing. Twitter is doing the same thing. This is a screenshot of an email I got. I used to live in Broomfield, Colorado. And after going to their store quite a bit, I moved away. It was irony that they sent this later on, so they didn't know that I moved. They essentially want me to post on Yelp because they wanted to increase their trust, because they understood the value of it to them as a brand. So visual inspiration. Now, what's important to understand is that... Well, I guess, pulling it back. It's important to understand that all different social networks are predicated on engagement. And so all the different social networks out there, engagement spurs more engagement, encourages people to come back. All of those networks have created their user interfaces based on the idea of visual inspiration. So the idea that people are visual by nature. So a photograph is generally much more engaging, much more pleasing to the eye. If you're scrolling through your stream, you might not engage with someone that's sitting there and saying, "Hey, how are you guys doing today?" But if they put a photo with it, it might be pulling people in. And it's because of that idea that photography, or visual arts in general, are very inspirational. And what happens or what has happened through how the systems generally work out there and through how the internet has put things together and how social platforms have been constructed is, essentially, they promote this idea of visual inspiration, and in turn, that has an effect on society. So I can take this image of this tiger, which I took just outside of Denver, Colorado, at the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary. And this image could inspire people to go to that place, or maybe it's going to inspire people to buy the camera that I used to create this with. This idea of inspiration is really, really huge because it's not only how the social networks have created to really lift up visual content, it's also important because we are now, again, 17 years into the internet. For the most part, 17 years. So for most people, they've heard the marketing pitches. You've heard UPS or whoever reach out to you and say, "Buy our product. Do this thing." These days, the most powerful asset that you guys have as photographers are your images to inspire something, and that has value. That has value to clients, that has value to people that you're going to license this image to. It has value to people that want to put that photo on their wall. This image of mine of Iceland has immense value to me. Now, it took a couple thousand dollars to fly to Iceland. I had to rent a camper van. I had to stay there for a couple of weeks. The gear that I used, the tripods, the filters, there was an investment. This photo has exponentially paid for all of that because I learned the idea that inspiration is the key to marketing and advertising. So, I was able to take this image and use it in this class, and I will make money off of this class. I took this image and I used it to inspire people to come with me to Iceland for a workshop. There's value in that. I took this image and I shared it on Facebook and Google+ and Instagram and on Twitter. And all those engagements that came out of that, maybe some people bought an e-book that I also included in, or maybe some people signed up for this class because I shared this out and then that content got pushed out and then people heard about what was happening. Regardless if it was direct or indirect, the idea that you can inspire people as photographers just through what you're already creating is huge. And again, a really important, fundamental aspect of understanding the social age of the internet. So that leads us to, "What is social media?" So, social, by definition, is referring to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of a society. And if we look at media, it's essentially the main reasons of mass communication, especially television, radio, newspapers, and the internet, regarded collectively.

There are no shortages of online networks for photographers to share their images, but which platforms are best for you and how do you utilize them to grow your photography? Sony Artisan Colby Brown will walk you through the foundations of social media and why it’s so important for your brand as a photographer. He’ll show you how to define what you want out of your online experience and how to maximize your time on each of the major networks. 

Colby will discuss:
  • What each of the major social networks are and what they’re best utilized for
  • Tips for growing an audience or followers
  • What networks to use to achieve your goals as a photographer 
  • Tricks to breaking down the different network algorithms to maximize your engagement
  • Develop a social media strategy to build your brand as a photographer
No matter your genre of photography, be it travel, wedding, or pet photography, social media has the power to grow your audience, business, and skills. Learn tips and tricks on where and how to invest your time using these free online marketing tools.


Hoping to go beyond growing your following and learn how to grow your business using these networks? Check Out Colby's other course: Monetizing your Social Media Presence for Landscape Photographers

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • This course is designed to help you develop a Social Media strategy if you are Photographer. I am a professional photographer with over 37 years of experience and although I know how to use Facebook and Instagram I didn't really understand how to use them to achieve business and personal goals. I started watching this course about 2 months ago and have just finished it due to work commitments. However I have put into practice his advice as I learnt new understanding and my following has grown rapidly. Also my work load and quality of assignment has increased dramatically too. It takes some brain rewiring to understand how social media has taken the place of many traditional media streams but Colby does an excellent job of painting a picture that helps hugely. The best thing about Colby's strategy is that it is real life, honest and something I feel I can personally and ethically live with happily. I happily endorse this course and recommend it.
  • I was very lucky to be in the audience for this class. Colby is an incredible instructor - he has the rare combination of being successful, knowledgeable and talented, but at the same time down to earth, approachable and genuinely willing to help others succeed. The content presented is actionable - I have so many ideas of things that I can do right now that can help my online presence! I can't wait to get started!
  • I learned a few things I never knew...especially the whole inside scoop on LinkedIn....who knew??? Easy to listen to....a lot of deflection to later answers to questions...which would have made a director allow for less...why ask if you cant answer just then....and he says every question is a "great question" but it clearly isn't in a few cases....so credibility goes down...I understand positive enforcement for the millennials...but every question is not great. otherwise easy to follow and straightforward....