What networks are right for you?
- [Colby] So, what networks are right for you? What social platforms do I use? This is a screenshot of my phone. If I turn this on right now, which I'm not going to, you'd see this if I opened up my social folder. So, this consists of Facebook. Four different apps I have for Facebook on here, I got Facebook, I got Mentions, I got Messenger, and I have Page Manager, which, whatever reason, the text isn't showing up underneath the Page Manager icon. So that shows you the indication of how important Facebook is to me. I'm willing to take four spots up in my little folder here of icons for social media and that's the significance of it. I have Google+. Again, Google+ to me still has value for search engine results, I also drive quite a bit of traffic. So, I'm still active on there. I don't spend a lot of time posting there, all the time not nearly as consistent of my other networks. Instagram. instagram is hugely important. It's a place that I love posting, try to post daily except when I ...
get super-busy with projects or classes like this but in general, it is a big valuation for me. Kiwi Q&A. That's one that we didn't talk about. It's a Q&A-focused social network. It's a really interesting one because, again, it's based just on the idea of questions and answers, and I've built up a nice, large following there. But it's a fun one to check out if you like that kind of engagement, you want to ask questions about a bunch of different interest networks. All the engagement is spurred on that idea of questions and answers. So, there's not a ton of other stuff, it's pretty straight and direct to the point. LinkedIn, my special prize. My lovely LinkedIn that I value so much for the work that I do. Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter. Again, Pinterest, I don't really do too much on there. I like putting stuff on there, I have some personal boards that I keep private for my own reason, but for me and my brand value, it doesn't add a ton. Snapchat, as I mentioned before, mostly I have it on here because I need to as an educator, and every once in a while, I post stuff to it, but with Instagram copying most of those features, I mostly use Instagram now. And then Twitter. I'll jump on Twitter a couple of times a day, throw out some tweets, my thoughts, my feelings, jump into fun discussions about different types of things. But that's just platforms that I use. So, you can't be everywhere all the time and this is a big important aspect of social media. You don't need to be on every network. So, let's talk a little bit about what social networks I recommend for certain types of photographers, helping you just to figure out where you should focus your time. So, landscape and nature photographers, which I don't know why that's not all the way across, but that's all right. So, landscape and nature photographers. Facebook. It's a given. You're going to see Facebook across pretty much the board here. It's really important, you have a lot of tools to be able to reach specific target market audiences, a lot of photographers on there to connect with. You can find ways to connect with people that do purchase prints and it can be quite advantageous overall. Instagram. For most people, Instagram is one of the most important now, has been, because of just how the feeds or how your stream works, how it handles photos in general, how the fact that you can't reshare and do stuff. The interactions are very specific and straightforward. And the interactions are high for a lot of people. And LinkedIn. Now, I mentioned LinkedIn for landscape and nature photographers solely for the idea that, yes, you're not going to find necessarily people that are there to purchase your prints to hang on their own personal walls, but it is a phenomenal place to try to find people that do interior design, or art directors, or people that work in publications. Figure out who you need to pitch stuff to, because if you just send stuff through the general standard channels, most of the time it's going to get ignored. So finding the right person to talk to is important. Optional 500px, 1x.com, and maybe Yahoo. Mostly for all the people that are worried about Yahoo and its general standing. I mention these networks because most of these are about image sharing. They have some social components, and yes, some people do sell some prints through some of this stuff, but for the most part, I found the value for them for the reality of where we are in the photo industry these days much less than it might have been a few years ago, in terms of the stuff that you can do to generate a lot more additional revenue doing different things than trying to use networks like these. And additionally, you have places like Fine Art America, which is, again, there are some social aspects, but mostly it's a place where you can put photos up there and people can buy posters and all sorts of other stuff. I know some photographers that do decent, but again, you're using someone else's platform which means they're taking a cut. So, we're going to talk about those last ones, but I wanted to mention them specifically for landscape and nature photographers. Travel photographers. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. The reason that I mention these things is for a lot of the purposes we've already talked about. Facebook, it's just too big to ignore. Instagram is perfect for this type of stuff, for the type of content that you're trying to share. It's very visual in nature and you get really high interaction and engagement rates, which brings us to LinkedIn, because you can take those interaction rates and then sell that idea of creating a brand for yourself to work with clients. So, LinkedIn helps you find those individuals or those marketing firms that represent travel brands, companies, destinations, things like that. Snapchat I also recommend specifically for those that feel they have a really nice and engaging personality, but also because the nature of travel photographers is that, generally you're doing really exciting stuff. Now it's not going to be something you're doing all the time, but you're going to be in potentially cool stuff if you can start getting some interesting gigs, or you can be in Petra in Jordan. It's a great place to do things like Snapchat Stories and stuff like that. So, the idea of integrating something like Snapchat or at least Instagram Stories for that type of stuff is built for travel photographers doing really interesting things. Wedding and portrait photographers. So Facebook, again, quite important. Large audience, not great search but great advertising potential because you can target-market your audience better than almost all the other social networks. Instagram, because, again, interactions are helping a lot of people and a lot of photographers. Wedding photographers that are starting to find a lot of clients through platforms such as Instagram because of things like hashtags. A lot of photographers are taking that idea of working with third-party vendors, and you're tagging other vendors and then you're using hashtags together and getting joint clients. And those vendors are then promoting you and all sorts of benefits using things like Instagram. Pinterest I mention again because of the female demographic. The fact that a lot of brides still use things like Pinterest in order to gather the thoughts to put together an entire wedding. That's huge. If you can build some really interesting boards wrapped around stuff that you can offer, weddings, ideas, do-it-yourself stuff. The potential is very limitless. And Pinterest is a wonderful network for you to use for that. And LinkedIn. Again, I mention LinkedIn specifically because you can use it to find local businesses that you hope to work out and reach out to. Now, depending on where you are, local businesses, it might be easier to pick up the phone or stop in. But depending on what you want to do, maybe you do want to get some work put into
Bridal magazine, or...I don't know too many other bridal publications, but essentially the idea that you can find editors you want to talk to you to create stories that might be advantageous for you in terms of advertising or marketing. Music and event photographers. Instagram has been number one for all the music photographers that I've talked to. Twitter is actually still quite high because of the type of interaction, that general demographics of people that are going to concerts. A lot of the people like Adam here are working with some of the biggest names in the industry and it's a different type of social demographic than most other photographers. So there's different means of communication. There's different ways but Instagram because of the visual nature of the Stories, but Twitter is for the type of communication that people are having. And again, Facebook, because it's pretty big. Most people, most music and event photographers aren't super-excited about Facebook anymore, but they still have a presence there because they feel it's important. Photo educators everywhere. If you guys want to get interested in creating tutorials, you need to be where the photographers are. Facebook, Instagram, you need to have a website because you can offer products and services. All super-important stuff for people that want to get into the education aspect of photography, or social media, or whatever it is, all fairly similar. Social influencers, so people like Chris Burkard that has large followings, generally the places that are most important in this order are Instagram, number one right now because companies are still throwing an exponential amount of money there to people that have build up a brand or a following, to create marketing campaigns. Snapchat is growing quickly because of how much content is being consumed. The videos that people are creating. And still Facebook. Now, a lot, a lot of people are getting paid to actually create campaigns wrapped around Facebook. But usually they're a part of the equation. So when I do a social media campaign for a company, generally the focus for me is going to be Instagram, my website, and then we're going to include some Facebook posts as part of that campaign just because, again, everyone's there. It's not a large part, it's not the focus, but it's a part of it. So, before we continue on with that, speaking for any of you guys here talking about what you do. - [Female 1] How do you keep up-to-date on what are the best platforms and how they're changing? - That's a good question. So how do you keep up-to-date with the changing nature of social media, technology, features? I think a lot of it is really non-scientific. It's keeping your ear to the ground, what's trending right now? For me, I know, because of the work that I do, generally what people are getting paid and what they're getting paid for. So I have enough contacts with marketing firms and whatnot to know that right now, a lot of marketing departments around the world are dedicating a lot of money. What they're doing is, they're taking a lot of their budgets out of traditional media and they're putting into social media. And that in itself was really eye-opening as it was happening and it's still happening. But in turn that is also helping me understand what networks or where things are going. So for you guys as individuals, a lot of it's going to come down to, not necessarily worrying too much about market trends but understanding where the benefit for you is happening or isn't happening. Again, that comes with experimentation. That comes with keeping your ear to the ground and seeing what is someone else doing. For the most part, the person that's going to benefit the most of being ahead of the trend is the person that's there first. But that being said, the people that are there second or third or fourth, you guys are wedding photographers in a specific area. Maybe, someone else found some success and you mimic or create your own version of whatever they've done and you can make it exponentially bigger. Isn't that the way of Apple? Every other company is going to create interesting things that they're going to then take and make it their own. Come out with it years later and then generate exponentially more revenue. So there's nothing wrong with being second or third. You don't want to be a 100th. So don't worry too much about constantly being right at the forefront. But I think it's important to also do your due diligence and understand what's working for you and what's not. And at the bare minimum, keeping your ear to the ground and saying "Oh, I heard this new network. At the very least, I'm going to go over there and I'm going to secure my custom URL. So I'm going to secure my name that I have on all the other different social platforms. Colby Brown Photography or Colby Brown, I'm going to go on and something that's trending, that's happening may die out, and sometimes a lot of the time it does after a couple of weeks, but I'm going to secure that just in case." So sometimes that can at least help in the very minimum to get you started. So that you're not playing catch-up like I did with Instagram for not being on it for two years and then I had to come back and start from scratch. Any other questions? Yes? - [Female 2] Do you think it's a problem for your brand to create slightly different content for different platforms depending on, for example, I do high school seniors. So they're not on Facebook at all anymore. I have over 2,000 followers and just not getting anything but their parents are. But then Snapchat is more playful, more aimed at the teens. So is that a problem? Is there disconnect if you put different... - It's a good question. A good question. I don't think there's a disconnect at all. I think, as long as you're staying as relatively on brand point as you can, I think changing the content that you share is actually advantageous for you guys, depending on the network that you're going after and the demographics. All of it should change and shift based on where the benefit is. So, I don't treat Snapchat the same way I treat Facebook. I don't treat Facebook the same way I treat Instagram. So yes, sometimes there's crossover where I'm sitting there and saying that a photo on Instagram I'm going to port over to Facebook, but the bare minimum, I'm going to have separation and distance. And in a lot of times, I'm going to change the captions for that stuff. And I think for something that's as drastically different as Snapchat, I think that's the purpose. That's why people are on Snapchat. So you should play towards that. And as long as you can find value out of something like Snapchat for the demographics you're looking for, for senior portraits which is perfect for a network like that, then you should do it and you should run with it. Don't let it worry you about affecting other brands, because the honest truth is that most people that are on Snapchat aren't going to care what you're doing on Facebook or any of these other places anywhere, and vice versa. So there's going to be no cross-contamination. You're going to sit there and you're going to have your own demographic there and then just try to figure out how you can work in your... making it work for your business model, then I say kudos. That's awesome. That's smart. That's the same thing. That's why wedding photographers I recommend being on Pinterest. I don't recommend Pinterest anywhere else but because Pinterest has the market demographic for brides and people looking for weddings, why would you not be there? Why would you not have some pins? Why would you not be willing to invest a little bit of money to promote a pin for your best bridal moments or something like that to a specific location that you're trying to promote yourself into? That's going to be a different approach than how you're going to maybe treat Instagram. So, definitely adjust your strategies based on the benefits of the platform, the market demographics that you're speaking and understand that each different platform has different demographics that it will speak to. And that's why there are these different platforms. Otherwise, we'd all just be on Facebook and there'd be nothing else. There's a reason Instagram's popular. There's a reason Snapchat's popular. The reason that certain demographics prefer Twitter. So definitely take advantage of the different personalities and the approach that you want to get towards these different platforms, to achieve those goals and reach the people you're trying to connect with. It's more importantly to sit there and think about, if you're not working with a younger generation and you're not trying to be a brand influencer, there really isn't a point to wasting your time on Snapchat or something like that because the valuation just isn't there, unless you can create it.