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Lost for words? Want to starting tweeting, but not sure what to say? Or maybe you’re already an avid Twitter user, but worried that you’re shouting to deaf ears?
Twitter gives you 140 characters to say what you want to say, so there’s not a lot of space to mess around. You’ll need to think strategically about your message and how you can effectively get it out there. It’s always important to remember that Twitter will not work for you unless you engage others.
With the right approach, Twitter can help you build your network, connect with potential clients, and promote your work. Learn more about ways that you can use Twitter to amp up your photography business in The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook. This 2012 free guide has tips on how to grow a following fast, how to measure success, and advice from photographers who are experts on the various social media platforms.
As an appendix to the guide, we’ve recently gathered 7 photo-related tweets that can help you get noticed. Each of these photo professionals has done something different yet equally successful to engage with their community. Check out what they have to say and try applying the same strategy next time you log on to Twitter.
1. Share something other than a photo
You know you’re a photographer, your followers hopefully know you’re a photographer, and you’re part of the photography community. So we get it, you take photos and you want to share them with the world. But it’s also a good idea to switch up the content every once in a while to keep things interesting. A.J. Wood is literally obsessed with creating online content, and one medium is videos. Changing up the way you promote yourself will better engage your audience and make new followers curious about what you have to say.
twtpoll is a fast and simple way to create an online poll and collect answers from the entire Twitter community. Unfortunately, registration is a little steep ($49 one-time fee for unlimited polls) so you might consider checking out alternatives like Survey Monkey where you can get similar features for free. Regardless of what online service you use, polls are a fun way to pose questions to your audience and get feedback. Tweet the results when enough people have responded and even use the info to write a blog post.
There’s certainly inherent risk, but a polite and generous tweet to whoever your hero is might result in a reply from him/her. Ron Hutchinson, who calls himself an “advanced amateur photographer,” gave Art Wolfe a really nice shout out right around the holidays this year:
Always do some research on your hero before tweeting at them and expecting a response. Does he or she often do @mentions in their tweets? Does he/she engage with followers? This will clue you in to who you should be reaching out to.
4. Promote yourself, but give credit where it’s due
Wedding photographer Jasmine Star has an excellent blog and is constantly generating high-quality content, and she actively promotes her posts on Twitter. But if Jasmine features a guest writer on her blog – in this case, fellow wedding photographer Chenin Boutwell – she’s sure to give credit for it. Plus, by doing an @CheninBoutwell mention, Chenin is more likely to retweet Jasmine to her followers. Can you say double exposure?
If polls just aren’t your thing, you can also simply tweet a question. Things to keep in mind, which Seven by Five magazine does well in their tweet, are:
- Keep it broad (almost everyone on Twitter is also on Facebook, and now Google+)
- Keep it simple (yes/no and single-answer questions)
- Keep it time appropriate (Google+ is really starting to catch on with photographers and you know they’re going to have opinions about it)
Hashtags (#) are used on Twitter to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. Hashtags automatically link and will bring you to a feed of tweets that include that particular tag. Popular hashtags in the photography community include:
- #photog – for photography, which can take up too many characters to spell out completely
- #photogs – to talk about photographers
- #photo – often used when linking to an image
- #camera – popular when talking about gear and equipment
Of course this short list includes pretty obvious terms, but what’s also great about hashtags is that they can start a trend at any minute. Events are frequently made into hashtags so that everyone talking about it can be grouped together. ASMP Mountain/West held an event this month that got turned into a hashtag, and consequently got #photogs talking.
7. Mention friends and colleagues
In the case of collaborative projects, it’s always appropriate to give a shout out to the people who worked with you using an @mention. It’s a nice and easy way to give thanks, and it makes the tweet look less like you’re shouting about yourself (while still actually linking to and thus promoting your work, of course).
At the end of the day, no matter what you tweet or how often, just remember the 10% rule: only 10% of your total tweets should be all about you. Practice reciprocity, share high-quality content, and follow the other tips in The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook, and you’ll be good to go.