The swift evolution of internet and common access to social media channels have added more ways for us, photographers, to promote our work. It also made it easier to communicate with clients, potential clients and the industry leaders. With opportunities also come challenges. Which social media channel is best for my use? How frequently do I need to create posts? How do I reach to the people I want to have my work seen?
Few years ago I added LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to my social media group. Each of these channels has slightly different format and types of participants that prefer that particular channel. Because of these differences, I had to formulate a plan when and what to post on each of them.
Instagram – great tool for promoting my photographs and great way to follow work of other practitioners. I find the frequency of posts is the key here as well as use of hashtags and geo tagging. This is my preferred social media channel currently. I try to post at least 3 images per week. When I increased the frequency I started getting more followers. The slogan “in your face” comes to mind, but there is something real about the fact that if people don’t see my work, they won’t know I exist, so I have to have a current presence there.
LinkedIn – valuable tool for professional contacts. I call it my rolodex. Years ago I used to collect business cards, now I connect with my business acquaintances through this media. I also started posting some of my work here; although not as frequently as on Instagram. This media is also valuable for getting to know organizations you are interested in, participate in interest groups and use their excellent job search tool.
Facebook – great tool to connect with people and promoting work. It was the first social media channel I used and perhaps that’s why I am a bit sentimental about it. Facebook is still very popular in North America. I used it for years and nowadays I tend to mix my work with motivational quotes and humour. I have a client who loves having the images posted on Facebook and we typically communicate through closed Facebook groups with regards to their images. I also have a lot of personal contacts there and we tend to communicate through Facebook frequently. People that I used to call, now use Facebook messenger for communication. This is the way the digital media took over the face to face communication.
Twitter – good tool for short messaging. The maximum number of characters for each post is 280 with the most common length of post of 33 characters. I use it occasionally and find it helpful with local outreach; however, this has not been my “go to” social media channel recently.
All social media channels listed above have global reach. They really changed the way we used to communicate and are very helpful in providing potential clients with a quick overview of our work. I don’t remember the last time I carried my portfolio to meet with a client or potential client. Typically before we meet, they are very well aware of my work and I can thank social media and internet for that.
Balancing social media channels may take a lot of time and requires some planning on my part in order to reach the desired audience. The frequency of post is also affected by type of work I do during different times of year. During American football season, my posts are focused on the events related to that. Typically I scale down on personal events during that time. In the off season, I produce more work related to personal events, headshots and nature photographs. I work with social media to select the right tool for the type of work I want to promote.
In addition to social media, use of internet provided opportunities for photographers to easily create own web pages. Websites are great for self-promotion and don’t require as frequent updates as the social media.
Digital media has definitely helped me with the promotion of my work and it increased my client and business contact base.