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This is the seventh blog post from a new series to help you create a business plan in 2014 using our guide The 2014 Photo Business Plan Workbook. Download it here.
Step #7: Get Social
Over 1 billion people use Facebook. Twitter has over 600 million active registered users. Google+ has over 300 million active registered users. Social media isn’t a fad—one could argue it is the glue that creates highly sticky user interaction on the web. Companies are amassing millions of users online with the ability to broadcast messages more frequently and more inexpensively than ever before. Celebrities are communicating with fans, news outlets are breaking stories, and photographers are finding that they can enter the social conversation by simply tagging wedding guests in a Facebook album before the guests can.
We’re not saying that every social media outlet will work for every photographer, but there’s enough real evidence to suggest that a strong social media campaign can translate into real marketing exposure and real revenue. The key point to remember is that your website is not a daily destination for your customers. Whereas hundreds of millions of people login to Facebook daily, it’s important that you go to where your customers already are.
The argument can be made that different specialities will use social media differently—that’s very true. So, going back to your understanding of your audience, it’s a good idea to determine how your audience uses social media to follow photographers and identify new talent. For instance, if you’re a portrait photographer, you’re probably focused on how you can best harness the social platforms to promote word of mouth.
Can you come up with new Facebook strategies that get your clients sharing your images with other potential families and teens? And if you’re a commercial or editorial photographer, maybe you’re more interested in using LinkedIn and Twitter to keep former clients and prospects aware of your latest work. (We’ve been told that many buyers use social media to stay in contact with photographers they’ve worked with, not necessarily to find new ones.)
Example: Ken Kaminesky is a former commercial lifestyle stock photographer who more recently turned to travel photography, with a focus on landscape and architecture. Ken relies heavily on social media and his blog to market his work. Tapping into Google+ and with over 100,000 Twitter followers, he’s reached a level of social media success by diligently tweeting and interacting with his Twitter followers, and establishing relationships with social media influencers to help spread the word.
After notable shoots, Ken will write a blogpost describing the experience and include select images in the post. He will then share the post with his social communities on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. On each social plat- form, Ken has an engaged community of fans thanks to his regular participation in social conversation, frequent interaction with others, and the quality and diversity of strong content he’s shared. The result is that his community frequently shares his work with others. This activity helps stimulate fine art print sales to unknown buyers who find Ken online thanks to social word of mouth.
Ken’s social presence on multiple platforms helps potential clients easily find and engage with his work. These total strangers encounter his images, but get a dose of Ken’s personality as well. In an instant, it is easy to form an impres- sion that he’s well travelled, knowledgeable about his craft, and easy to work with—all “soft” brand qualities that clients appreciate and help close a sale or book an assignment.
Want more information on how to build your following and create an online community? Check out the Workbook for more resources on the subject, along with the 8 other steps to take for a successful business this year.