Business Do's and Don'ts
So let's talk about a few of the do's and don't of business on social media. It's important to understand the things that we shouldn't be doing, or at least are not best business practices in terms of how we promote ourselves and the kinds of things that we say and do our on social media, especially as it's going to affect us in our business. Social media is definitely a marketing tool in terms of how we're selling ourselves and when we're thinking in terms of how we market ourselves. And I know that Ah, lot of people don't feel comfortable with the idea, uh, the fact that they are a brand or we want to be on brand or off brand as we're talking about ourselves because our personal lives or so in an interwoven into how we participate in all types of social media. But you do have to understand that if you are somebody who's doing business as a freelancer, as a photographer, as somebody in the creative arts, you want to understand that you have to market yourself in a way that gives you t...
he broadest reach possible. Ah, and the first thing I'm gonna tell you, and I think it's the most important thing that I can tell you is b positive. Be engaging, embrace a community, try not to be negative. And if you find that that's the harder thing for you to do, then don't say anything at all because they think ultimately, when you start to get very engaged in any kind of negative and negativity, that sort of starts to breed more and more negativity and you have a tendency to attract more negativity. And I have found in my career that remaining really positive and supportive, particularly as my profile has grown and more and more people were aware of me because of things like this teaching online, being supportive and being understanding that people are looking to me for mostly positive reasons because they want to grow in their in their art. Or they want to communicate with somebody who has some knowledge that they know what may not have, Uh, so I think that it's a really great business practice to be neutral when it comes to things like, you know, the old saying is, you don't talk about politics or religion at social gatherings will consider social media a really, really big social gathering. And when you start to talk about really sensitive issues, particularly when you are dealing with people from all spectrums in your business, you need to be careful and you need to be neutral and you can express your opinions and you can be yourself. Maybe somewhere where you're not trying to do commerce, work hard and be nice. Those are the two things that I tell all the people that I work with. When I'm in a leadership role, I'm like, work hard and be nice. Everything else will fall into place. Pretty much the same thing here is that you put out great work and you're nice. You're gonna probably attract a few more bees with honey than you will with vinegar. I think also what we should be talking about his inspiration. Inspiration is a really key aspect of how you as as an artist, are going to grow in social media. Um, I have a tendency to be asked the question. All a lot of the times is what are the things that inspire you? What are the kinds of things you seek out for inspiration when it comes to your photography and some of the other things that I'm doing and quite honestly, one of the answers I give pretty regularly is that I seek inspiration outside of my art form, so I like photography. But I look at photography in a lot of different arenas, not just food photography. I like art across many, many different platforms, particularly architecture and design. I like furniture design. I like a lot of different sculpture, three dimensional art because I look at food photography as a representation of three dimensional art because it's not just the photo, it's the actual food, which has three dimensions. I follow cooking sites because obviously that's a big part of what I do. So if you go into my off my personal feed and you start to scroll through now, obviously you're gonna see ah, lot of things in here that I have nothing to do with food, but occasionally you'll see some. But there's architecture and art, and people that I meet like this is somebody who I met on the photos. This is the feed of our hair and makeup artists that I met on one of the movies that I produced. This is an actor who is in one of the films that I've made, and now this is Ah, young guy who's, ah, photographer that I met at one of my workshops in Hawaii and I've watched him grow. But he inspires me because I'm watching this guy that I've first met six or seven years ago, and I get to watch all of the things that he's been able to accomplish in photography since we met. So there's a lot of different. You know, there's a lot of different things that you may find that are a lot of fun, like So this isn't This is a musician that I follow, and I like to understand his aesthetic and the things that inspire him. Another thing that I want to show you about interacting in social that's really important, I think, is community and engagement with things like contests and being being part of ah community that evaluates one another on. I think that like when I was launching my book, I wanted to have a giveaway. I want to give people an opportunity to get the book before it was on sale, because I recognize that my audience was really hungry for it, and they were really excited for it. And I thought it was obeyed. A way to build up both enthusiasm for the book launch, but also to show that I'm really, uh, engaged with the people who are excited about it. And I think they we did a little photo contest and I could show you hear what the what the engagement was and and this was at the end of the contest. I thanked everyone. We had about 400 entries, which was really great, and I gave them a sense of how I felt. And I've tried to be playful. And I have this, you know, the bit emoji of me with with the beard and the glasses and the hat. Uh, and and then I got into ah expressing some thanks for some people who participated, who did not want to be evaluated for winning. They just wanted to show appreciation for my engagement in the community, which I thought was really nice. And then we got into the actual winners and the honorable mentions and the third place, the second place and in the first place photos. So it was really a great way to engage with my audience, and it was a way for me to reward them for their loyalty to me and their enthusiasm for the things that I'm doing. And I actually made a few friends in the process. I mean, people who have kept in contact with me through that process, even people who didn't win the contest. So it was a way of just It's generating inspiration as well, because I'm hopefully inspiring other people to work harder at their photography, but also shows me that you have to stay hungry and you have to stay engaged in order to grow as an artist, regardless of where you are in that continuum. Lastly, I want to talk about the use of the story features, which it was something that I just showed you. But also, um, the, uh, the idea that you can have a lot of fun. I was doing a take over for another, another site, another food site during the launch time of my book, and it gave me an opportunity to express my love for Baby Oda, which, of course, all of you share with me. But also you could see that I was able to take people to my studio on the day of my launch and have some fun and show them that I like to use social media, which is, you know, also a little bit of a personality thing that don't get to show them very often. But I also incorporated the things that I do in this situation. I incorporated some tips in teaching people about the things that I'm going to be showing them in the book. But also the things that I do as part of what my brand is my brand is that I'm partially not just an artist but an educator. And then I showed the results of what I was showing them. I recapped it. I went over a few things. It gave me an opportunity to talk a little bit about some of them or emotional aspects off what the book meant to me and my my personal experiences. I got to go out and visit some of the locals businesses that have supported me. So through the story feature, it gave me an opportunity Teoh express myself in a way that was very different than the way just a static feed does. But it also gave me the opportunity to show appreciation for a lot of the things that have come to me because off opportunities like this to be in front of a bigger audience. So I appreciated that, um, I had the platform to tell these stories in a way that was a little different and show a little bit more of my personality, so I would encourage you as well. It's They use all of these opportunities that social media presents to us to both market ourselves, express ourselves, get inspired, show appreciation and basically complete yourself as an artist. One other aspect of being a professional in particularly in photography. But in any sense where you're selling yourself on social media is if you are presenting work on social media and you are looking to be hired as a photographer, it's very important to understand that whatever pictures that you put out on your feed must be something that if somebody called you tomorrow and said, I need you to make that picture for me that you're able to recreate that so one of the things I tell people quite often is the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer is somebody who could make that same image anywhere anyhow under any circumstances. And if you are presenting work in public that you cannot recreate things that you cannot sell as part off the package of, um deliverables that you can give to a client, then you're misrepresenting yourself and you're gonna hurt yourself ultimately in business because, ah, client is invariably going to come to you and say, I love this work. Can you do this for me? And if you can't create, recreate that work because it was you work on the very strict parameters in a very specific place with a very specific set of sort of, you know, circumstances happening around you. Well, then you can't sell that to other people. So be very, very careful about what you put on your social media feed, especially if you are looking to get assignment work. Because if you make pictures on your social that you can't recreate and you try and someone tries to hire you to do that, it's gonna backfire. So be very careful about that. One of the bigger problems that I've experienced in my career and I know that a lot of other photographers have come to me and said the same very thing to me is commercial entities approaching them with the opportunity to present their work on their website. So this is something that kind of feeds into this idea of exposure for content. And I think then if we go back to our analytics discussion and how Onley generally on the greatest examples on Lee, 2% off an audience is engaged with any piece of content that's published. If you're giving away photos in hopes that that's going to generate 1000 new followers or 100,000 new followers, because maybe that equation sort of made sense to you at the time. You need to understand something. Your content is much more valuable than that, and the myth of exposure for content is one that's been debunked on so many occasions in social media. So I understand the need and the want to be published. I understand the need in the want to be validated as an artist by an entity that's recognizable, but you also have to understand that there are times when you can be preyed upon by those particular entities because everybody has very, very high needs for content. So that Mork content that you're giving away for free, the less you're going to get paid to do it because all of those entities that are asking for free content are the same entities that would be hiring you if nobody was giving it away for free. So if less of us air giving it away for free, more of us will get paid to do the work. I just thought of something. There's a little bit of a post script here about the do about the do's and dont's of, ah, using social media, and it's sort of a little bit of a pet peeve for me, too. But I think it's worth mentioning, showing a really exaggerated view of yourself, particularly when you are trying to get hired by whether it be a magazine, a newspaper on individual personal client. If you show yourself to be maybe wealthier than you are, or maybe you are wealthy, but you're showing it a little bit too much or you're kind of presenting yourself in a way that may not be entirely true to who you are. Um, that could backfire on you because I'll give an example. I mean, there are times when I'm dealing with people who have to negotiate money with, and, you know, money is a sensitive subject especially, you know, from I would say not. Not especially, I would say, for most people, money can be a pretty touchy subject. And if you're negotiating with somebody who's saying that they don't have a whole lot of money for your particular project or they don't really want to pay what the rates are or whatever it might be. But then they're putting themselves out there in a way that's showing that maybe they shouldn't be, you know, negotiating with you in that way. It kind of reflects badly because that might not be the truth of the matter. The truth of the matter. Maybe they don't have the money to spend on the photography, or maybe they don't have the money to spend on the production. But they're portraying themselves in public as somebody who has ah lot of means. So I think you need to be very careful about how you portray yourself in the financial realm when you are presenting yourself to clients in the marketing of your social media accounts. So just a little postscript, something I wanted to share, and hopefully you take it to heart.