Monetize Your Social Media Presence
How do we get paid to create? Oh boy, let's talk about that. Okay, how do we get paid? First, ask yourself what do people need? What do people need? Now obviously, you could answer this in over a million ways. People need all different things in the world from food to getting their hair done, to a new pair of shoes, whatever. People need lots of different things but how can I give it? How can I give something that somebody might need? You might answer this in any way, so like Samantha shared earlier you want to show people that there shouldn't be a barrier between mental illness and what you can create or how you feel or what you can share. That is something that you can give people, the confidence to share that part of themselves, and that's beautiful. We all have something different that we're sharing. We all have something different that we can give that somebody needs. So the question is not, do I have something to share that somebody needs? That's not the question. So if you're as...
king yourself that just stop. The question is what is it and that's up to you to figure out. I can't tell you; this is the best thing to share on social media, you're going to get so many likes, and everyone's going to buy your product because that's just not how it works. And if there are people out there saying share this, do it this way, post it exactly this time of day. I don't care if you follow every formula; if your content is not original, unique, and coming from your heart people are going to know that. They're going to see that there's no passion there and their not going to need that. So make sure you're asking, what do people need, and how can I give that, and what's going to serve everyone most? It's also very easy to start sharing and sharing and giving and giving and then not get anything back for yourself. There's sort of like two types of social media personas where there's, you know, one person who will share everything and just give everything up and then they have nothing in return and other people who won't tell anyone anything and then it's like this weird divide of I am wonderful and you are not. That's a really bad thing too. So what's going to serve everyone the most? How can you give enough so that you feel like you're part of a community but how can that community also lift you up and give you something back in return. This is the little formula that I really believe in, which is that creation leads to content. If you're creating you're producing content and content leads to an audience. And an audience leads to income and this is probably very obvious. I mean it's meant to be but here's the thing. People think that there's like this magical in between step here, there is not. There's content, there's the creation of the content, there's the audience who's going to absorb it, and if you're doing all of this in an innovative way and an authentic way, people are probably going to ask you to buy that thing or experience that thing or take in that service; whatever it is that you have. And I got some proofs of this that I would like to share in just a little bit. This is one of those proofs. These are all the images that I created in July this year. At the end of June I set up a little challenge for myself, I said I'm going to make a photo, a video and a blog post every single day for the month of July and I did. And I started posting and some days things were really bad and I was really embarrassed and as I looked it goes sort of like from the top corner here so we've got this corner and it sort of like weaves around until we get to the end. The thing that really struck me about this process was that people were very interested in how I was doing this. People keep emailing me saying, how do you have time to produce an image, and a video, and a blog post every single day? So I started sharing a little bit of my process through video. I started to make videos of; here's my clock it's 4 a.m., and here I am driving in the darkness and now it's 12 o' clock and I'm freaking out because my pictures not done and things like that. It became this very interesting back and forth of people enjoying the content simply because it was consistent. If someone says I'm going to post something everyday for 30 days you're like, let's see how they do. I'm going to follow along with that. Already I was building up the audience just by creating and then on top of that people we're like how though? How are you doing this? So I created a system here and the system was as I was going through I decided well, what's adding a whole other thing to do onto my plate and might as well do that as well. So I got half way through the month and I though I'm going to turn this into a content creation challenge for people cause a whole bunch of people were like, Can I join you? Can I start creating too? And I was like I guess so, okay, let's do it. So that gave me the idea, well, if I've got the content, if I've got the audience and I'm going to do something to help that audience do what they want to do with my content, I would also like to get something from this and that's what I did. So I created a content creation challenge and when the month was up on August 1st I launched my content creation challenge. It ended up being really great because this provided proof to my viewers so they were watching me and they knew because I was doing this and I actually did post every single day, that was the proof for them that whatever I was doing worked and that I was able to produce the content and that I had the knowledge to be able to do that everyday. So I took that proof that I was providing every single day and I said look at the proof. I made something every single day, now if you want to learn how to do that you can pay me for that knowledge. That's not really what I said, I didn't say I'm proving something and now pay me for it instead what I did was, I said I've made this challenge and it's pay what you can so you pay whatever you want. You can pay nothing, one cent, you can pay twenty dollars, I don't care and join the challenge. And a whole bunch of people joined the challenge. Here's the great thing, this is to me the epitome of what is amazing about social media which is that it's made up of all type of people and even though there are plenty people who paid me nothing there were plenty of people who paid me $100, $200 dollars for this course. You have this beautiful group of people all together who it doesn't matter if you were one of the people who paid a hundred dollars or zero dollars, it doesn't matter. What matters is they were all doing this together and where one person lacks the other person can make up for that. This is the essence of social media to me. This is why it's so exciting because that's the community part of this. So I ended up giving half of it to charity, which I thought was a nice way to get people to donate, to send in the money and I ended up raising $12,000. That's amazing, right... To say to people I'm just doing this for fun and I'm just putting pictures out there so from July 1st, when I said I'm going to do this random challenge to August 1st. I had now built a community that wasn't there before together, created a sense of excitement about creating, and raised money for charity. I'm not saying that's the best way to do it but what an amazing way to put content out there and build a community. How did I do it? Did I pay for any post? Did I try to sell people on something, no, but by being authentic and creating and putting that work out there people want to support you. They want to. I got emails from people who sent in $200 and said I didn't know what to pay for this but I just wanted you to know that I love what you're doing and this is my support of you, amazing right? I'm shocked every time I hear about that. Relatability is another really big thing when you're putting something out there with the hope of one day getting paid for it. Yes, you've got the proof which is very important but how relatable can you be? I'm not saying that it's a contest, like don't just try to relate to people all the time but if you share a bit of yourself you're likely to get a bit of somebody in return and it's this give and take that's really beautiful. How available is your product? I say this because I am bad at this. I'm really bad. I'll be like blah blah blah, here's a story from what happened today... P.S. I've got a class available coming up. Link? No. I'm not going to tell you how to get it. I'm just going to mention at the very end that this thing is coming up because I get really scared to share business-y things sales-y things. I just don't like it. I get really scared, but listen, if you have something to share, if you have something that you genuinely feel is important to put other there then you should not be afraid to ask people to go buy that thing and too me the best way to do it is to say, you know what, this is my heart, this is my soul, I put so much into this and I would love for you to have it. That's how I try to make my products available. Not by saying, here's a link, buy this thing, no. By saying here is the availability, I would love for you to have it. I tried really hard. I hope you like it. Easy access... I recently decided that I wanted to go on an artist retreat because I've hosted tons of artist retreats, I've never been and one. I thought it would be really fun and I found this one program that sounded super interesting, like, totally random, came across it on Facebook and I started looking into it and I was like this might be the thing that I want to do. I read their post and couldn't find a link. And I went scrolling for what felt like forever through their Facebook and I'm like, where's another post about this and I couldn't find anything and then I looked at their website link and I looked on there and there was nothing. And I was like I just want to go to this artist retreat and I was like so excited. So then I found their Instagram and then finally like 10 images back I found something that referenced it again and then they referenced another post so I had to keep scrolling and then I finally found the post that had a link which I then followed and I was like this should not have been this hard. And then I lost faith that this person could teach me anything because I was like, really? That's how much you're going to have to make me work to get to this place where I can purchase this thing that you want to sell me. So there's a line between being overtly sales-y and not being sales-y enough. You want to make these things easy for people to find, easy to buy, easy to support you because really that's what it is, being supportive of another artist and I think that's really nice so help others help themselves, always important. And then define your core values. When you define your core values you will attract people with the same values. It's true. Every year for example I host a convention called, "Promoting Passion," and every year people say to me how do you get such nice people in the same room. It's like it's easy, because I'm not mean to people. Right? Like that's the short answer is I try to be as nice as possible because I love nice people. And then nice people come to see me too. It's really nice; nice, nice, nice. It's all very nice so the core value test is just simply where do you draw the line for yourself personally. What values do you put on the side of something you would never ever want to engage with versus the values that you feel really connected to and if you can honestly say that what you're posting and the way that you're interacting reflects your core values then you're probably doing a great job on social media. And if not, if any one thing that you post doesn't have to do with that core value, whether it's the way you say something or what you're putting out there then you should probably pull it back and realign yourself with those values. Then research your audience. Now I do not mean this like go out there and research people and try to rope them in, you know. This isn't a corral. I don't want you to rope people in and try to get them to buy your thing but do figure out what they want. What does your audience want? And ask them what they want. I've had many of day where I've posted online and I said what do you guys want to see more of or what are you interested in or what are you working on right now? Which is a really good way of looking at their images or their life or their experiences and then being able to identify where there's overlap from what I love versus what they love. What makes a social media post successful? To me it's all of those things that we just said, being relatable, being honest, being your best future self, which I think is perhaps one of the neatest things that social media provides us to do and it always comes back to these three words. Which is you're interest, genuinely sharing your interest, being authentic in the way that you're speaking to people and finding connections, really truly finding connections. I don't know about you guys but when I post online and somebody responds to me I get this little flutter inside like out of all the things that person could have been doing they choose to sit there and write something to me. What an amazing thing. Of all the people that they could be interacting with, out of all the way that they could spend their time. I know it only takes 20 seconds to write a comment but how often do we do it. I don't do it very often. I very very infrequently will scroll through Instagram and be like that's worthy of posting a comment. So when somebody does that it's a real honor to me. I don't take that lightly. I think that it's a beautiful thing and I want them to know that I'm really grateful for that too. So doing what feels right versus what is "technically right" on social media will eventually win and I think that that's really an important thing to make a distinction about, which is, there are a lot of things that people say you should do on social media. A lot of different people are like, you must do this if you're going to succeed. You must have these numbers, you must pay attention to this thing that I don't understand, search engine optimization, yeah, and I'm not saying those people are wrong those things are helpful to know and it's good to be able to reference that but is that the thing that's going to put somebody ahead of another person? Have you ever known someone to be massively popular in social media because they analyze their statistics a lot? No of course not, it's the content, it's the person. So one example of this is writing long post on Instagram. I am not known for being brief. I write whatever I want to write, I say whatever I want to say, I'm constantly aware of this and there are times when I sensor myself a little bit where I'll try to be brief and try to wrap it up a little bit faster but for the most part I say whatever I want to say. I tell the story in the way that it naturally flows out of me and that's how I want people to hear it. I think sometimes we do sensor ourselves too much where we think is this too long for this social media site or is this the right type of content? So while I stand by what I said before April, totally, about what I post where there's still this part of me that goes back to this idea that what is technically right is not always going to be most effective for you and your business. So I have a tendency to write really long stories on Instagram and somebody wrote to me once and they were like, "I really like what you're posting but you're writing way too much on Instagram." I was like uh, that's a weird comment. I didn't think about that like who bothers to think about that so I was like oh okay and then not two days later one of my friends was like you know you're not supposed to write that much on Instagram. And I'm like what is this, like the Instagram Police? This is crazy and I just never thought about this so I realized that I had been posting these long stories but then I also noticed something else which was that there are a few people that I love following on Instagram and all of them post the longest things. I was like I guess this is my tribe like these are the people that I love to follow and this is what I love to post. But the interesting thing is this, I went on Instagram and I'm posting these long stories of things that I want to talk about and I notice that anytime I do that I'm getting tons of responses from people, like a hundred comments of long blocks of text from people just sharing themselves with me versus post that are a little bit shorter which I'm not going into detail about something and I get much fewer comments and much shorter comments back and that's interesting to me not because the amount of comments but because how in-depth somebody's responding. I want people to share themselves with me because that's a community. It's great if somebody leaves a little heart on there and I think that's really genuinely sweet and I like it, I do that to other people all the time but is that the person that's going to deeply engage with me or not and probably not so I don't care if people tell me not to post long things on Instagram like if that's the thing you're not supposed to do but I'm doing it and it's working really well then I'm going to keep breaking the rules because I'm having great fun on Instagram. I'm connecting very deeply with people where as people used to tell me a few years ago Instagram is just for young people who don't have any depth and the "serious artists" would tell me this you know and I just thought I guess that's true and then I finally joined and I thought you know what every single social site is made up of every single type of person and the fact is that if you put out there what you want you're going to attract those people who are the same as you. So if we go back very quickly to our little overview then what I want to talk about is a posting plan here. Okay, we've got a posting plan. I had to make sure to throw this in so that we have a plan.
Creating a great photo for a client is one thing - but turning your passion and ideas into a series that is shared, shown, and sold is a whole different business. If you do it right, you’ll be shooting what you love all the time. Learn how to choose which ideas to create, how to turn your concept into a production, and steps to getting your work seen and even sold in Fine Art Photography: A Complete Guide with Award-Winning Photographer, Brooke Shaden.
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