Lessons Learned from Social Media
All right, so, lessons learned. We talked about this a bit. Value is subjective. If both of us, if me and one of you guys here had the same number of followers and the same exact engagement, the same exact followers, both of us would see different value in it. Because of my experience, I might be able to take those followers or that engagement and sell it to a company, or sell it to a service or a product, or turn it into some sort of financial viable enterprise, because I've been doing this for so many years. And this is, again, one of the reasons why I think a lot of people, or a lot of photographers look at social media and say, "Well, where's the point? Why should I be on it? It's not worth it." I hear that all the time, "It's not worth it." And I don't think that's accurate. I think it can have value. It can give you value for your company, your business, for your inspiration, to help you learn about photography. It all depends on how you use it, how you leverage it. Your social m...
edia is like a camera. If you don't learn how to use your camera, you're not using it to its fullest potential. Social media is the same way. Leave the ego at the door. Again, I've mentioned this before and I'll mention it again, I don't understand why there are egos in the photo industry. Photographers are important, art is important, but we are not necessarily curing cancer, and photographers that get high engagement rates that think that they can treat other people like crap, I think is horrible. And it's something that's not sustainable. So if you do find growth, you do find success, don't let it go to your head. Remember the three tenets that we talked about. Be humble, be honest, and be passionate. Treat others like they are gold. Treat every single one of your followers like it's someone in your family, at least someone in your family that you like. A lot of people don't do this, and, again, I think it goes a long way. To me, it still tells me something, and I'm still surprised to this day that, 17 years into the internet, probably 10 plus years into the social age of the internet, where we've had Instagram, and we've had Facebook for a number of years, that the vast majority of people that reach out to me on social media, direct messaging, even through emails through my website, are still surprised that I respond. That's ridiculous. You guys are taking the time to reach out to me. Now, I'm not always responding right away. There are times when you guys will reach out to me and have a question and three months later I'll be like, "Hey, sorry. Traveling around, my son's birthday, yada yada." But I'll always try to get back to you. To me, that is huge. That is huge for photography, that is huge for social media. Again, the idea of engagement. That's huge for building brand trust, brand loyalty, your fan club, all of it. Super-important aspect, treat everyone you come across like gold. And there'll be people who don't treat you the same way, and that's fine. Don't worry about it. Don't dive into the trenches, no reason for it. Stay positive, respect other people, and treat your followers that are willing to follow you and engage with you like gold, especially early on, because it will help you. It will help you grow your audience, it will help you build things up much quicker. And the last one I would say is to have fun. We've talked about a lot of things in this class for social media, and social media's still about human connection and engagement. Have fun. Enjoy the time that you're spending online. You don't want to go through the process and just be like, "Ugh. What am I going to post today?" When I had this idea for this post with the DJ Maverick the drone I was like, "Wait a minute, the legs... okay. I'm going to go outside, let's pose this right, let's have a little fun with it." It was engaging. Life doesn't have to be so serious. Social media doesn't have to be so serious. Everything doesn't have to be so business-minded or marketed. Enjoy your posts. Have fun with your followers. Be playful.