Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

Lesson 7 of 42

Finding Value in Social Media

 

Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

Lesson 7 of 42

Finding Value in Social Media

 

Lesson Info

Finding Value in Social Media

- [Colby] Finding value in social media. And again, this is something that we kind of had laid some of that groundwork for in the first couple seconds of this class, but it's something that I think is one of a handful of different topics that people don't, again, truly understand. You're sitting there and you're saying, "Okay, I know I need to be on social media. I know that it's important," but why is it important? It's that question of why which we'll also get to a little bit later in this course, but specifically to the value proposition of social media, there's a lot of possibilities there, and I want to dive into some of that. So the best example or analogy that I can give to help people understand the value of social media is the example of a camera. Now, this is a photo that was taken of me for my good friend Bio Matias [SP]. She lives in Portland, Oregon . Great outdoor photographer. Highly worth checking out. And this is in South Iceland and in a place called Jökulsárlón. And ...

this is me sitting in the water and sitting up for the shot. And essentially, the way I like to correlate social media into this image is that I'm there on location. I'm sitting there, and I have the gear I need. I'm doing everything that I feel is right. The value of what I'm trying to take or the value of, I guess, let's say the camera itself is predicated on my knowledge of how to use it. A camera is a tool, the tool that we as photographers use to create the images that we do something with. Whether it's self-prints, whether it's trying to make a living, whether it's just our cathartic or therapeutic exercise for us. Regardless, your camera is your tool, and social media has that same correlation. You can go out and you could spend $30,000 on a Phase One medium format camera or whatever it is, and the value of that camera to you is limited to your knowledge on how to use it. Social media works the same way. Social media by in itself, numbers that you get, the engagement, the followers that you might grow, in and of itself have no value until you learn how to leverage it, until you learn how to use it. And that includes knowing how you can actually leverage the tools, leverage that value to sit there and say, "My followers mean this or engagements mean that," or what you can do with them. A lot of people just don't even know those opportunities that are out there. And so looking at some of my social stuff, let's hear. This is Google+. So this is saying right here it's 2.8 million followers. So did Google pay me when I grew that brand? Did I get any money from having a large follower base? No. Did I get any money when people engaged on my photos? Sit there and you like the photo and then that gives me like 10 cents and I get enough likes and get a star at the end of the week, free breakfast. Didn't happen, right? What about your images? So this image is an image that was selected for Google Chromecast, so selected by Google to essentially be on those…the 40 or 50 or 60 million people that have the little Chromecast devices that you can send stuff to. I have a couple in my house. They're wonderful. What happens on them is that you have…they have screen savers. So when you're actively streaming Netflix or whatever you're doing, there's images popping up. And what Google has done for a long time although I think they're starting to pull back from it at least in terms of counting those numbers is they show you those numbers. So this image to date has around 60 billion views. Now, Google didn't pay me to license that image. That was something that they just asked and I said, "Sure, why not?" Having those numbers by itself don't mean anything, don't have any value to me as a photographer, but what I can do is I can take that number and I can apply a value to it, and I find someone that determines that viewership has a value, that engagement has a value, that follower numbers do correlate into something. In and of itself, social media, in just what it is, doesn't have any value to you until you apply and you create that value which is a really, really important element of finding success with social media. Now, this is a question that I wanted to ask you guys and you guys go ahead and I'd like a few of you guys to grab the mic. What value, currently where your social media is, what value does it have to you? And those guys chiming online, you guys chiming in over the internet, you guys let us know as well and maybe we can come to Drew with a few of those things. But I'd love to know, with what you're doing right now, with where you're at currently as of today, what value does social media bring to you? Anyone? Need a volunteer, I need one or two. What is that? Yeah, let's pass it around. - [Woman] By using the website link in my profile. - Okay, excellent. Are you getting money? Are you getting revenue from that or like is it generating leads? - I'm booking jobs, yeah. - Okay, perfect. Excellent. Thank you. - [Male] For me, I think, similar, like some leads, but primarily, I think it's the social aspect of connecting with other photographers, feeling like there's community around me and I'm not just doing it on my own. I think there's also like the negative value that can come along with that where I feel like I'm not finding success, and it's kind of discouraging. - Fair enough, that's a good point. Excellent. Thank you for bringing that up. A lot of that is very…it's kind of endemic of, again, the photo industry as a whole and social media. Is that nature, that idea that the value proposition of photography has its ups and its downs. And the business side of things, the one where it's really hard for a lot of people to kind of wrap their head around is to sit there and to think proactively about the idea of social media in terms of a value proposition. So again, people…I mean, I can't tell you how many times that photographers of an older generation where the industry was different have looked at people like me and said, "Oh, there's social media photographers," as if it's like a degrading way to describe the success that I've had, and I think it's amusing. And the reason that I think it's amusing is because those individuals just haven't learned of the different value propositions, the value opportunities that can come out of social media, and you don't have to have millions of followers. I think that's something that I definitely want to share out there. If you sit there and you're…just as the analogy that we were talking about where the lady chimed in and say, "Hey, I can't go to Iceland. That's not realistic for me." For most people, most people are not going to have 4 million followers. I'll be honest, it's just not going to happen. It's hard. It's difficult to build a following. However, what you can do is build a following and find value out of what you have or the type of engagements that you are creating now as well as where you would like to be. And that's what I really hope we can do here during our course, is really establish those value opportunities and what you can do with it. So let's talk a little bit about different ways that you can find value out of social media. So these are some of the things or ways that I and a lot of the other photographers that I worked with when we go over the photography section which is in another segment, but these are ways that I found exponential amount of value, some more than others. So the first is just engaging with an audience. That has value. Again, with the idea that social media as a whole is kind of about communication and connection. The opportunities that you have, the value proposition of posting content online and have any opportunity to have engagements, whether it's 3 people or 20 or 100 or 300 is huge. Those are opportunities that you didn't have before, so don't waste them. This is one of the reasons I think engagement is so huge. When you sit there and you post out and people engage back with you, engage back with them. Have a conversation. Establish a relationship. The algorithms which we're talking about not too long will reward you, but that has value in and of itself both indirect and direct value. You have an opportunity to have a conversation with another individual that you didn't have before. Now, that person may or may not become a client. They may or may not become a customer. You may or may not ever hear from them again, but you have that opportunity to have that conversation that can lead to something. That in itself is valuable. It's value to every brand. That's why you sit there and go on Twitter and you have people…you have companies like UPS doing customer service because they want to have that connection point. You want to establish that relationship. Relationships are how you were going to sell products and services, and how you're going to grow financially, at least, a business. And it certainly helps when you're growing your brand as well in terms of follower numbers because people want that connection. They're starving for it. So give them the opportunity. Fill photo workshops. So again, we talked about photo education. Photo education is large part of what I do because I saw the writing on the wall. A couple years ago, I realized that more people were entering the industry. It was a place where there was a lot of misinformation, a lot of bad educators as well, and I felt that it was a space that I could fill. I make a good chunk of my money through photo education. Not everything, it's probably about 40%, but it's…that 40% is a large number. So allowing me to fill workshops or offer things like services through social media is huge, and all of that stems from those conversations because those conversations help the algorithms and those algorithms help people see the content. And through the course of this course, ironically, you guys will see the correlation of how all of these things actually work together, and how the idea of simple engagement have a butterfly effect that will rapidly change how people interact and engage with the stuff that you push out there on social media. Selling e-books, video, and video tutorials. Again, it's something you're creating a product. Now, this doesn't have to be tied to photo education. It could be tied to whatever offset that you are interested in. You could create something for models, if you do portrait work. You can create some sort of educational aspect and offer that to sell. I always recommend people starting at really small realistic goals, realistic prices, realistic products. But sit there and put something together that you think people will have value and people can learn from. And I can tell you right now the biggest barrier for this, for people not doing it, is yourself. You're not confident enough. You don't feel that you have something to offer. And to me, I'm calling that a spade. Everyone has something to offer everyone else, and there will always be someone that is a better photographer that takes better photos or has more business sense or is better looking or whatever it is. It doesn't matter. There's always going to be someone better, there's always going to be someone worse for the rest of your life. So don't use the excuse that you don't have something to offer if you haven't even given it a shot. To license images and to sell prints. Now, again, being in a landscape and travel space and that's probably at least most of my stuff that has the most reach, that goes the most viral, that's what I'm known for. I shoot quite a bit more than that, but that's kind of what I'm known for. This is like the premise, the focus of so many photographers working in with those genres. And social media can help, and we're going to talk about print sales when we talk about Darren White, a Colorado photographer and the success that he's found in a later segment. And we'll talk about selling prints and a little bit about image licensing, and I licensed quite a bit of images. And social media helps me to find new clients, but oftentimes, it's those relationships I've developed through social media to get a client job that then turns around to an image licensing opportunity. It's not all that often, at least for me and my business models, or I sit there and will actively find new image license. I don't go actively out and search for it. It's a small portion of what I do. Maybe 6% of my income. But when a couple thousand dollar image license comes in, obviously, it's nice or even I've had bigger ones. I've had $20,000 image licenses before for exclusivity stuff. There's big money that can be in it depending on the unique nature of an image, but again, it comes back to that value proposition. A company that paid a lot of money, a high five figure number, for an image license did so because it was something that was unique that that company needed that they couldn't necessarily get anywhere else. That's why I was able to charge so much money, and the fact that I lost all value of that image for the two-year contract which actually just ended up. So I'm happy to try to license that image again. But image licensing and selling prints, you can use social media to help with that, but there are caveats and there are challenges, and I want to be upfront and honest with you about that, mostly about the selling prints. Now, selling prints in and of itself is one of the previous revenue streams for specific genres of photographers that is still holding on but it is getting more and more challenging. The reason for that, the supply and demand. There are more photos taken every single day than the first hundred years of photography. That's a statistic that is commonly thrown out there for photographers. So in a single day today, there'll be more images taken today than the first hundred years of photography as a artistic medium. That's pretty profound. What that means is that there's a lot more stuff out there. And so in order to have something that's truly unique that someone wants to hang on their walls, specifically the prints, requires that personal connection, requires some sort of significance for them to have that relationship with the subject of what you're doing for the most part outside of high fine art abstract stuff. There really aren't too many Jackson Pollocks out there around in the photo industry taking abstract stuff that's pulling in the big numbers. So for most people that are getting into print sales, for a lot of us, it's nature, landscape, and outdoor photographers, and arguably, there's some truth or validity to portraits and groom and wedding stuff. But those things are a little bit different because you're going after the clients in which case you're selling back to. Otherwise, I'm going to sit there and try to sell an image of one of my thousands of images of Iceland or Patagonia or Africa or wherever it is. And for someone to actually spend the time to purchase one of those prints, because there's so much stuff out there, because camera gear is so much more affordable, because people have their own stuff, is they really have to have that personal connection which makes it exponentially more difficult to find those individual sellers. It's still possible and we will talk about that a little bit later, but I want to be upfront. A lot of people ask me about, "How do I sell print?" And a lot of the time, they don't like my answer because it's the truth. It is getting harder and harder to sell prints and even more so exponentially more difficult to sell prints that actually make good money. I still know photographers that do it. I have friends that do it, but it's a shrinking list. A lot of people do it on the side with the other products and services or things that they offer, or people like me that also do marketing campaigns which I believe is…oh, no, next is networking. That's small over there, I can't see it. So networking. That's the next section where I want to talk about, and kind of what you had mentioned before, the idea of finding collaborative environments both from your peers so that you're not a photographer that feels that you're alone in the middle of a glacier and no one's around you and you don't have anyone to relate your successes and your struggles with, but also for clients. A lot of people, a lot of the work that I get hired to do, a lot of the marketing campaigns that I do, is based around social media. Now, I still get quite a bit from my website to be honest, and again, that's why I have a section in this course talking about the value of a website. Organic search results, people being able to sit there and say, "Oh…" Again, Iceland, Patagonia, something, they have some sort of correlation that they found me on. Most social platforms, I'll tell you right now, crappy search. They're not very good. Go on Facebook and you try to find that one post you remember from a week ago, it's not happening. And that's just the truth. So that's where the value is for the websites, for clients finding me. But pushing my stuff out there and trying to get the most amount of reach, the most amount of eyes on my stuff, is how I find a lot of clients. A lot of clients will say, "Hey, I come across this or I came across this or I saw you on this, or you posted on Instagram. I've been following you for a while." I can't tell you how many clients say that. "I've been following you for a while. I've been trying to find an opportunity that would speak to the type of work that you do." So using social media to network and find clients is big. That's another reason why I have a secret love affair with LinkedIn which we will talk about in depth. - [Drew] We're getting a couple questions about licensing. - Licensing? - Sure. Do you directly license your stuff? What are your thoughts on copywriting images and theft? Can you speak to that just a little bit? - Yeah, let's go…yes. So good questions. So image licensing. So image licensing is essentially the idea that a company says, "Hey, I want to use this image for marketing their own products and services." It's that simple. They won't put it on the wall. They don't want to hang it up in their foray or in the secretary's office. They want to essentially take that image and use it to market their own products and services. And so for me, because licensing is not a large portion of what I do, and because generally, I have pretty high rates, I've priced myself out of most companies' budgets. And part of that's intentional, part of it's what I think the value of the work that I'm creating is. And so because of that, it's much more easy or easier for me to sit there and just represent myself. So I have my own lawyers, and my lawyers draft up our own image licensing contracts, and 95% of the image licensing that I do in a given year is from clients coming to me, generally past clients of people that I've worked with and asking for the rights to use a specific image. We talk about rates. We talk about how long they're going to use it for, where it's being used, and we come to an agreeable amount. And determining image licensing rights, prices and stuff like that is probably for another class. I'll give you a little bit of information about that. Generally, most of the image licensing that I do will be anywhere between $500 to the sky's the limit. Whatever someone's willing to pay is the price that I'm willing to charge. And oftentimes, that's kind of a fun part of the business side in me which I really love that give and take, I love that conversation. Is when a company comes to me…and it's not just with image licensing to be fair. It's all matters of the work that I do. And they sit there and say, "Hey, we want to do this." And I come back at a price. And if they don't come back with a counteroffer, I'm priced too low. That's my mentality, and that's a hard one to do. It's a hard one for people to accept to sit there and say…the value of saying no to work drastically increases the value of your own brand. Now, there are caveats. Obviously, if you're working in a specific situation where you have a thousand other people that are waiting to take that spot for less, that's a different story, but once you've built up things just a little bit or once you have a feeling that what they're looking for is something that you value a little bit higher, feel free…I always recommend when it comes to prices for image licensing is to sit there and ask for 20% over what I'm happy with because I'm always willing to go a little bit down. That's the dance, the fun part of business. So if I'm going to offer 20% over knowing that I'm willing to take 80% of what my initial value was and have a hard line, I rarely get people saying no ever. And if they do say no, it's on that first line where they're like, "How much does this cost?" And I'm like, "$10,000." Then you never hear from them again. I'm like, "Oh, well, I didn't want you as a client anyway. So I'm good." So when it comes to image licensing, I think you can license for yourself but it does help to have a network established and built. There are other places you can go out for doing things like stock agencies. Just know that anytime you involve another company into your business ventures, they are taking their hands into the money that they're generating for you. It's nature of the beast. And I did that for a little bit. At a certain point, I was like, "You know what? Why am I giving away 30% or 40% or 50%? Why don't I charge more and get less clients and make more money?" It seemed pretty logical to me. So another question. - Yeah, Tom has a question. He said, "Can you elaborate on engagement? What kinds of conversations do you have? I have a hard time engaging beyond saying, 'Thanks for the comment.' What does engagement mean to you?" - That's a good question. The answer to it is twofold. One, we're going to dive into engagement in the actual section about…and actually, a couple sections that talk about like spurring engagement, so I don't want to give away too much. But a lot of that comes down to two things. One is outward engagement. So when you're sitting there on and on your social media channels, engage with other photographers. Engage with other accounts. Engage with people that you find interest, topics or subjects that you find interesting. Engage with other people because that engagement will again spur engagement. And depending on the platform, you might actually see that your follower numbers will rise based on that engagement investment, the time you're putting in to engage with other people. But when it comes to engagement on your post, a lot of that time, a lot of that comes back to you inciting or encouraging that engagement to begin with, and the engagement that you want. If you sit there and you put out a photo and people are like, "Nice photo." It's like these giant digital pats on the back. It's like, "Oh, that's great. Glad you liked the photo. That's awesome." But if you sit there and, for example, ask a question of it. Here's a beautiful photo of Yosemite. Who's been to Yosemite? Who's going this year? Engagement points, conversation starters. That is a big thing. And again, any of the engagement sections that I talk about in this course will be…it's called call to action, CTAs. Include them every time you can because those engagements, again, which we'll learn about in just a few sections here, will drastically help the algorithms for all the social platforms to say, "Hey, maybe we should show more stuff to this guy's followers or more stuff to this page." And it's really important. So to build your brand, now, this is again, an important one, and has more of an indirect value from a social media standpoint. So again, talking about that idea of trust. So on social media, I have a section that we talk about…that I talk about in the course where I'm going more in depth about monetizing social media for outdoor photographers that really talks about the value of having a verified profile. Now, I'll walk you through the steps of how to ask to be verified in that class that is separate from what we're teaching here, but the value of having a verified checkmark next to your box is something that builds that trust. You're building that brand. Now, in and of itself, it doesn't mean much. You have a checkmark. It's blue. It's white. It's gray depending on what network it's at, but that checkmark in itself is helping you build your brand value, the value of your brand when people look at your page and say, "Oh, this guy's a pretty great photographer." That's more of an overall concept. It's like the images that I'm putting out and the engagements that I'm getting and the follower numbers and all this other stuff kind of coming together to build up that brand value, and that brand value when used or leveraged right, is something that I personally sell to the right clients. I want to sell my brand value to companies I want to work with. If I'm sitting there and we're working in an age where a lot of people are out there creating great content, at a certain level, quality content doesn't mean all that much anymore. It's just the reality of where we're at. So if you're creating good quality content that you feel is engaging and it's nice images and they're visually stunning and whatnot, at a certain point, you need to learn how to take things to the next level, and that's where you have to find things and find value propositions in stuff like your brand or things like social media and the engagement that you get. But overall, that brand value can exponentially grow. I have so many…again, so many clients that have come to me that sit there and they've wanted to work for years, but they just couldn't find the right fit. They knew that I had the brand that they wanted to associate with because I built it up, and they took the time and the effort to circle back when they had that opportunity. But if I didn't have that brand value, why would they waste their time? There's millions of other photographers out there. I've built up the brand value through things like social media to be able to have a value asset for my brand which is myself, and we'll talk about that a little bit and kind of personalities of your being online, but it's important. Getting your work seen. I mean, this is, again, straightforward. You push your stuff out there, it's your publication force when you are on social media, getting your work seen, getting more eyes on it. That in itself could lead to print sales, image licensing, clients finding you, all sorts of stuff especially if you have little breadcrumbs that you leave in there, URL links, little information about the stuff that you do, whatever it is. These are, again, I think of them as conversation starters. Whether they're indirect or direct. Direct are where like people are commenting on the posts or the photo. Indirect are where people wrap back around and see some of my stuff, come back to my page, see more things and engage or send me a private message or something like that. So getting your work seen out there has value. Connecting with other photographers. Again, the idea of community the sense of engagement, the sense of you're not feeling alone, there's something you can learn from everyone. And what I think is a very underrated aspect of this is I think a lot of photographers will look at other photographers from a competitive standpoint. Will sit there and say, "Oh, my competition is doing this or my competition is doing that." And I think that's very negative. I try to look at it…again, I try to turn things into the positive. So who's finding success doing something that I want to do and how can I take the time to study what they're doing to try to figure out? Maybe I'll even reach out. I got a lot of people reach out and be like, "How did you build your following?" I'll sit there and say, "I did this. I did this. I did this." Some people are a little bit more reserved so you might not get an answer. Nature of the beast, but everyone, the information is public. No one out there that's making money through social media or building their brand is doing so by publishing privately. All this information's out there. See how they post. Look at the time stamps of when they post. Look at all these bits of information. Now, some of that might not necessarily be relevant to your specific brand or followers, but you can take bits of that recipe and create your own lunch or meal or whatever you want to call it, and it's important to do that research, and connecting with other photographers and seeing where the value proposition for other people can help you determine how to get to where you want to be. And to advocate for important causes. We talked a little bit about this before, the idea of philanthropic work with…photography is a visual medium and you can use any following or the quality of the content you can produce to do good things for humanity. It's a good thing. A lot of people love it. I would be lying if I told you that me starting The Giving Lens in 2010, if that didn't have a positive effect on my brand value. Now, The Giving Lens, again, is a company that I started in 2010. We offer tours and workshops around the world where we partner with local NGOs and we help fight for different causes and every trip is a fundraiser. So partner with local NGO and the trip is working maybe with women's rights or species preservation, youth education, women's vocational schools, families with HIV, whatever it is. Now, I personally started that company because I wanted to bring a human element back into the work that I was doing as a photographer. I don't make a penny from The Giving Lens which is why…a lot of the reason why we offer trips so low is because I want to be competitive but for the reality is that I don't want to pull money from that. That being said, the work that I do through The Giving Lens has a massive benefit to the brand value of me as a photographer and an entrepreneur. So that's, again, the foresight of it wasn't something that I intended to do, but once I realized it was there, it's something that is worth mentioning. It's part of my resume. So something to think about as well, thinking creatively about how to build your brand. Doesn't always have to be about money and it shouldn't always be about money. If you look at most National Geographic photographers out there, I can guarantee you the vast number of the most successful ones all got their big break by working out personal projects, most of which lost money. So they invested themselves into something they were passionate about, and in turn, got noticed. Now, again, you can't go into it with that wrong intent of, "I'm going to do this because I want to get noticed." Do something that you're passionate about, but just know that there can be value in that type of stuff. So again, subjective, keyword throughout this course. Value of social media is subjective. That's why a lot of people, again, come to me and say, "You're a social media photographer." I'm like, "Cool, thanks, man. That's great." I made well into five figures this month alone because I learned to leverage social media. A lot of photographers don't like to talk about money and I don't get it. I don't understand it. It's like it's this taboo subject that you're just not allowed to talk about. Whenever you do talk about it, you're bragging, and whenever you don't talk about it, well, I guess you're just doing what you're supposed to do. I'm a business guy. I love business. And at the same time, I have bills and I have a life that I want to live, and you guys do too. So understanding the value propositions of social media is like business 101. Anything that you do should increase value in your life whether it's professionally or whether it's personally. In my personal opinion, there is no reason to do anything that adds negative aspects to your life, and the same thing should be about business. So if social media is having a negative drain on what you're trying to build, you're doing something wrong. You're on the wrong path. Maybe something that you're doing just isn't working. There's steps or there's ways that you can kind of work around that, but regardless, the value of social media is going to be subjective. My value of social media to me is probably, in all fairness, because I've been doing this for 10 years and I have a large following and these large businesses, probably is exponentially larger than a lot of people out there, but I didn't start with that. I started with a small amount of following trying to figure out which networks were right for me, how to post, how to get through the algorithms, how to do all this stuff, just like everyone else. And the understanding that the value of what you can get out of social media is literally limitless, is something that, at the bare minimum, everyone should understand by the time this course is over, let alone by the time this segment's over. You can do a lot with what you have. You can do a lot with almost anything in life if you find some way to create value out of it. The idea of creating value from social media is something that most people don't wrap their head around. Your followers matter, your engagement matter. Everything that you do can have that value proposition. - Just kind of going back to like the time stamps and everything, how do you figure out like the best times to post things or how did you go about solving that? - Good question. So the question is, how do you go about figuring out the best times to post? And again, this is probably going to be common. I do have a segment and we will talk a bit more about this and talk about statistics and data information and data mining, but to loosely answer your question is that there are statistical general guidelines that are proven over the course of statistical information gathering from a large focus group or large groups of accounts on different social platforms to sit there and understand how many times a day is a good amount to post? What times a day are a good time to post? And so there's a lot of information out there wrapped around that. It's like Instagram and this is something that will repeat throughout this class, Instagram, generally, the best time to post is going to be before work or right after work. Now, where your followers are, obviously, there's a variable. We have time zones. So you might have to play and figure it out, but generally, most accounts are most active before they get to work, 8:00 to 9:00 in the morning, 5:00 to 6:00 in the evening because people are done with their day. Not everyone is going to jump on social media when they're supposed to be working. Most people have real jobs unlike myself. So those are the solid times. So that's some statistical information out there, but the rest of it will be studying your own followers which I think is important. So sitting there and saying, "Okay, I'm posting out," and try to look objectively at the content you're producing. You're taking the personal attachment to your work which is difficult for photographers out of the equation. Your favorite image might get no likes and a picture that you took on your cell phone of your coffee might get a hundred. Doesn't matter. All of them are conversation starters. Take away the personal side of your photographer, your attachment to your images, and try to learn where you feel you're getting the most engagement. Now, it's not a controlled experiment so you're not going to sit there and say, "Okay, I'm going to post this here and this here," but you can sit there and you can try to do the best that you can. And generally, you will find certain times that are going to be better for you, and a lot of that comes down to algorithms which we're going to discuss in a second very soon. - [Female] So looking on your feed, you have like a combination of different photos. Is there like a percentage that you try to aim for to have like certain amount of landscapes or certain amount of people, certain amount of animals? - That's a great question. We're going to talk a bit in depth about consistency in social media because it is important. It's really important, actually, when leveraged correctly. The difference for me, and this is, again, coming back to I talked about this a little bit before, that there are the social media accounts out there that have lower numbers and higher engagement because they probably are more consistent in terms of the type of content they're producing. Michael Shainblum who we talked about before, again, phenomenal photographer. You look at his stream and the vast majority of the stuff is like epic Milky Way stuff or like foreground elements with sunsets and seascapes. He does exceptionally well with that, it's not a knock on him by any stretch of the imagination. For me, a sacrifice I've been willing to make since I started my first photography company in 2006 is that my interest vary. And so I like to shoot a lot of stuff. I like to shoot humanitarian work and travel stuff, and I like to do landscape work. And every once in a while, I'll act like my wildlife photographer and I'll go take pictures of geckos in Hawaii or gorillas in Uganda because that's what I'm passionate about. Now, I will tell you right now without trying to get too much into the answer that when I do post stuff that's outside of what most of my photographers are generally following me for, engagement drops drastically and I don't necessarily care because I still like those images. But to be fair and safe, I've also built up a large enough following and a brand where I can experiment and do those things. I wrote a blog post on my website essentially titled "Where's the Fun in Specifying as a Photographer?" Something along those lines. Like where's the fun in essentially having a specialty? But the truth is that in business, you need that specialty for the most part, at least to start off. You need to be known for something because it really helps have more direct effect in helping you build a following, or building the right following which again is another topic in terms of your market audience that you want to get for. So for me, I like to do a lot knowing that I'm going to be sacrificing something in doing so, but I've also built up enough of a brand where I don't care too much. I want to share these other things that are valuable, and at the same time, there's ways to get around that which we're going to talk about which is pretty cool, and really interesting to think about from a cerebral and a statistical and mathematical standpoint which is kind of fun.

Class Description

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

Giles Rocholl
 

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.

Beatriz Stollnitz
 

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!

Rob Lettieri
 

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....