Social Media Participation
let's talk a little bit about why social media participation is important for you. Uh, I think understanding social media with commerce in mind is important. Now that's both the commerce of selling your wares. Two new clients. So whether it's a magazine or newspaper or ah, cookbook client, they see what you can do. They may want to hire you, and then they reach out to you, and you can negotiate a deal or whatever it might be. That's one way of looking at it as commerce. But there's that other way is looking at it in terms of building a brand where you can actually sell or promote products on social media, whether those of products that you yourself have. Or you want to do that for other clients by shooting branded content or other advertising applications for social media, that is an opportunity, depending on how you grow your brand and grow your feed. As that feed gets bigger, you have more power in the market. So understanding that those numbers about followers engagement interaction...
s, those things also have a intrinsic value in social media, where you can actually turn those things into commerce. One of the other ways, like if you're a photographer like me and you have a decent following that's loyal and on brand, you can negotiate that with clients in the other realm. So whether I'm doing an advertising job or there's a cookbook project that would like to work with me because they like my work, they may also like the fact that I have reach. I have a particular brand that I'm selling on social media that is very food focused, and they feel that maybe if they work with me, not only did they get good photography, but they get my energy in social media to push the project further along and promote the book and show some behind the scenes and whatever it might be. But it's actually added value, and you'll hear that term a lot when you're talking to clients advertising people. When you talk about added value. When you build and maintain a solid social media presence, you absolutely bring added value to your clients. So not only can you turn the actual following into commerce on instagram or one of your other platforms, but you can also share that with your clients. So that's a really important aspect of this, um, one of the downsides of all of this. On the flip side, as a photographer, I find that the relative value off our individual images has become a little bit diminished. So it means that back in the early two thousands, an individual image may not make it to the Internet if it was for a newspaper or magazine, for example, when I first shot for The New York Times, um, we got an extra stipend when they wanted to put the photos we made for the paper on the Web. Now imagine that. Imagine that I'm gonna take pictures for the mag for the newspaper. They're gonna run them in the newspaper. But in order to run them on the Web as well, they had to pay me extra money. That seems absurd. And that's on Lee, maybe 15 years ago. So I understand that that again is about relative value. And the other thing about relative value is that if I have an image and I make that image, it's gonna live on the Internet for a day or two or three, and then it's going to sort of get buried in the wave of other content, so it doesn't seem tohave the power in the market that it used to be. Because there's just so much stuff that we have to sift through that we have to, uh, kind of absorb every day. So individual images don't seem to maintain and hold their value like they used to, except in one regard. Because there's such a great need for content, we can sell our images in stock. So for me in particular, I work with Adobe in Adobe represents my stock, and I'm able to use my photos that I retain my copyright on in resale. So because there's so many entities out there that need a lot of content, they quite often turn to stock agencies to buy more content. And that's a place where you can actually turn a good, flourishing business and food photography, especially with things that have a lot of universal appeal into extra money as well. One of the other things that's important about understanding the the commerce of social media is how to build that audience building the audience from I mean, it's it's an overused term, but a grassroots effort is really about building an audience that understands what you do, appreciates what you do and are actually engaged in the thing that you're presenting online. So for me, having a really, really food focused social media presence and I'm engaging with the food community means that my my audience has a little more power because it may not be so big, but it's definitely engaged. And the way I can tell that is I do a lot of other things besides food photography. And some of that sort of bleeds into my feet every once in a while. Um, but my audience doesn't respond to it the same way. So it's pretty obvious that my audience expects one thing from me. They expect beautiful food images, and when I vary off that it becomes pretty clear that that audience isn't particularly interested in the other things that I'm doing. So what do I do is I try to edit and correct, and you make these little course corrections as you go through, so that you make sure that your grassroots audiences continually focused on the thing that you do well and it really helps because ultimately I want my audience to respond to the things that are gonna be most beneficial to me in my business. You know, Look, we all do other things. We have families, we have friends. We do fun stuff on the weekends and we want to share that. And sometimes our best audience. Our biggest audience is, let's say, our instagram feed, because that's the thing we're most known for. But they does give you other options in terms of I use the story feature. I really like the story feature. It helps me both with my business, because there are times when I'm able to like, Let's say, when I was promoting my book, I was promoting my book and ah and ah, Feed called tasting Table said, Hey, you could take over our platform for the day and they have a big audience and it was a really great opportunity on the day I launch my book. So I used the story feature and I was able to use it for business. But then I go on vacation and I take really pretty vacation photos and I want to have people engage with me in a little bit of a different way. I that way I put stuff on my story or I'm able to show that I like baseball or I do weightlifting or old some of the other things I dio, but it doesn't affect my feed because that is going to go away in 24 hours. So I'm able to kind of engage my audience, make them know that I'm human. But when they go back to my feet to look at the photos, they see the thing that they came there for. The last thing I want to talk about in regard to the idea of a grassroots following is that over the years, some organizations have offered you the opportunity to buy followers, and I feel that at the end of the day, that sort of disrupts the idea that we have this grassroots built off followers, and it's sort of damages the credibility of your feed because it's pretty obvious when and I'm going to go about. We're gonna go over numbers in a little while, but it's pretty obvious when Ah feed is inflated. It's inflated with either fake accounts or it's being artificially and it's being artificially kind of fed with with accounts that aren't necessarily engaged with you. It's just there to provide a number that's bigger. And I think advertisers and advertising sort of has sort of become keen to the idea that some people bought their following. And one of those key figures that you understand when that's happening is when the engagement is down. So in a bit we're gonna talk about percentage numbers and engagement and understand why, by buying your followers is probably not a great idea.