Monetizing your Social Media Presence for Outdoor Photographers


Lesson Info

Class Wrap Up

- [Colby] The Course Wrap-Up. Parting advice that I want to give to you guys is simply the notion, the value of things such as social media, as well as the assets that you generate are all subjective and the value is really what you create of it. The Business 101 is the sense of the idea that the cost of what you're...that the value of something is what someone else is willing to pay for it. The value of having a large social media following is how much you can get someone to pay you for. Or what you can generate out of yourself. It's not universal, it's not going to be the same for me and you. It's not going to be the same for you guys individually talking to each other. But there are a lot of principles that come together that give you a better grasp, a better understanding, and put you in a better place to find success through social media. And use it in learning to leverage social media as a tool for you as a photographer and as an individual will only drastically grow your busines...

s over time. It doesn't happen overnight. It might take time, you might have to practice how to send cold pitches. You might have to practice in reaching out to clients and companies. You might have to practice trying to get sponsorship. And you're going to get told no, and you're going to get no responses as well. Happened to all of us. But if you can think creatively about business, if you can take your passion for photography and hopefully, social media, and turn that into what you have to do from a business standpoint, and create all three of those things together, you open up so many more doors. You have so many more opportunities to make a living doing photography, whether it's full-time or part-time or whatever. - [Male] Notice, you talking about types of pages in the different platforms. Are all of those business pages, like, is that an Instagram business page, is that a Facebook business page? The difference between, we talked about LinkedIn, but are all of those platforms business pages? - Absolutely. So I take advantage of business pages on every platform that I can, because I want generally access to the analytics, to the statistical data, to help me determine what I'm doing is working or not. Because social media, as I'm sure all of us know, is both dynamic and fluid. And so things are constantly changing. So what works today might not necessarily work tomorrow. And so we constantly have to be vigilant in checking what we're doing and experimenting. And so all the stuff that we talked about is kind of the idea of leveraging some of those core fundamentals and taking them back to our own pages. And if you don't have those insights, you don't have that statistical information, it can be very difficult to discern positive from negative. To figure out what is actually happening. So, yeah. - And final question. You talked about leveraging your following, whatever that might be, and then the different pitches that you have made to different organizations or companies. Where was the growth of your social media following, like, where at that... I just couldn't figure out the timeline, where at that point did you start thinking and maneuvering to make those types of pitches, or to leverage the following that you had? Did it start when you had 12 followers, did it start when you had 12,000 or was it at a different point? - Absolutely. Good question. Essentially the idea of where I...I started early just kind of just getting out there and pitching. So when I first started with photography, before even social media, I was out there reaching out. I didn't have any of the assets of evaluation of my social following. And so I kind of grew up where my businesses started with the mindset of I need to put myself out there, and I don't really care of I get rejected. I don't care about failure. Like, to me, failure is actually great. I learn less from my successes than I do from what I fail at. And so that mindset has helped me not worry so much about that. So, I probably have been pitching since the beginning, at least in some form or fashion. But I'd probably say it's more so upper of the lower end to mid-level...mid-range in terms of followers, so once you get a little bit of momentum. These days it's less about the total number of followers you have, and more so about the engagement. A lot of companies are smartening up to the idea that, "Oh, this person has millions of followers," but if they have no engagement, they're only like fake followers, so it doesn't matter. So they want is that engagement. So if you can prove that value for whatever following you have, companies are interested in it. And the interesting thing that I found over the course of the last 11 years, is that one of the things that is really on my resume besides photographer and entrepreneur and author and photo educator, is I'm a business educator. I constantly have to educate my clients on the value of why they're paying me what they pay me. I constantly have to sit there and show or teach or educate that the idea that the value of whatever I'm offering is significant, is important. And so whatever your following may be, your interaction rates may be, there's a value to that. It's just a matter of finding the right clients that are interested in it, and educating them on why that is valuable. So hopefully it helps. Another question? - [Female 1] Yeah. In your pitch for your marketing campaign, one thing that I expected to see there was five Instagram posts showcasing, you know, location or, like, being very specific about those things and what you're going to show on social media. Is that not part of what you offer? - I don't put it as part of my initial pitch. So, I go into broad detail. So I'm going to sit there and say, you know, a lot of the times I'll do a pitch and say, "Hey, it's going to include 20 images on social media." But I'm not talking about what they are. Because often times the idea of a marketing campaign is a two-way street. Like, I have this idea for this project, but they also have needs and asks. So this is essentially after the step of them saying, "Hey, we're interested in what you have to say, so give us an idea." And I'm sending over this idea which is still broad, and they're saying, "Hey, this is the budget we can work with or we can't." And from there it becomes molded. In which case by the time I'm actually on the field shooting something, then there are more specifics generally involved. I will say that for me, personally, I am not a huge fan of giving up creative control. And I've been fortunate to be in the position I am where I will very rarely work on a marketing campaign where I don't have a hundred percent control of what I'm shooting and how I'm shooting and all those things. Like, if they're paying me x number of dollars, they should know what they're getting. It wasn't always that way. I think when you're starting out, they are more so trying to be in control, because they don't know if they can trust you yet. So just know that that might be part of it but at some point you would want to break free. You would want to sit there and be willing to say no, and say no, I can't do that, or I'm not doing that. Or be more positive and say, "I'd rather do this. And here, let me do this. Let me show you that I know what I'm doing. You are paying me a lot of money, why don't you trust me in making sure that I'm going to create content that you want for you?" So, something along those lines. Question. - [Female 2] You had mentioned that you had a team for, like, your marketing campaigns. When you first started was that always the case, or did you find that you had to have a team before you got into it? - I mean, the team is loose. I mean, for Colby Brown Photography I actually don't have any employees. I have a handful of independent contractors that help me out with things. And what happened is that over time there was an organic growth where I got to a point where just I needed to expand and I needed more help doing things. So the people that I was already constantly working with to help me run assistance for workshops, to do other things, began doing more and more for me. And so a lot of those people now have responsibilities like that where I'll sit there and say, "Hey, I want to do, you know... someone just told me that they wanted me to pitch an idea in Scotland or Iowa or wherever. Do some research for me, figure out what we can do." He'll do the research, put things together, come back to me, and then we'll sit there and pow-wow it out before I pitch it out. But I think for when I first started out, I was doing everything myself, like most of us. But over time, that idea of outsourcing or growing, again, comes down to time management, and there's only so many hours in the day. So finding people you trust is hard, but once you do it's like it's golden. Questions, Diana, good? - [Diana] All right, I think we are great, and the amount of content that you have taught us, not just in this class, but in your previous creative eye class is just phenomenal. I want to make sure that everybody knows where to keep in touch with you, Colby, where to follow you? Let us know where the best place is to keep in touch. - Absolutely. So, everyone can follow me at, websites are still important even though this is a social media class. And then either Colby Brown or Colby Brown Photography are pretty much on all social platforms out there. I'm most active on probably Instagram and Facebook. But if you do a Google search you'll pretty can't miss me.

Class Description

Social Media is a powerful marketing tool, but how do you leverage yourself to gain the attention of new clients or potential sponsors? Colby Brown covers how you can find ways to monetize using various networking platforms. Whether you’re interested in finding clients, becoming a brand ambassador, or selling prints this class will give you the tools needed to make strides in getting your network to work for you. You’ll learn: 

  • The significance of getting verified and how to find the right target markets for your business 
  • How to use ads to expand your business on Facebook 
  • The hidden value of LinkedIn and how to utilize it for sponsorship or brand influencer work 
  • How and when to pay to expand your reach


Linea Broadus

Colby's class was packed with great information for landscape photographers! From writing pitches to marketing with social media, he clearly explains how to achieve personal business goals. Thanks, Colby!

Beatriz Stollnitz

I was fortunate to be in the live audience for this course. If you (and I !!!) take the time to truly absorb the content presented and put it in practice, this course will pay for itself over and over and over. It is rare for someone at Colby's success level to be so open about the financial aspects of what they do, and the details of how they do it. Highly recommended!

Esther Beaton

There were 2 benefits from this course. First was the straight info from Colby - very specific - on how to write cold emails and pitches, how to find prospective clients, where to sell work, etc. Second BIG benefit was his stress on our individual creativity to achieve new revenue in this new age of the photography boom. Oh, and there's a 3rd: use social media; you almost can't go wrong.