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Lindsay Adler, a New York based fashion and portrait photographer, knows how to do social media. Not only does she have a solid following of over 37K on Twitter and almost 40K on Facebook, but she wrote a book on how to make it happen.
Lindsay’s success in social media is the product of both gumption and follow-through. Here’s how Lindsay established a voice, built an audience, and continues to maintain a social presence that makes her fashion clientele pay attention.
How did you develop and execute such an effective social media strategy?
I did research online and found people with the most followers or popularly read blogs, and then I started doing interviews. I didn’t go into the interviews with any preconceived notions. I asked people questions, like how much time they spent on social, and how they grew their followings.
I try to judge, based on other people I follow, what I find annoying versus what post volume it takes to keep someone in my thoughts. For me I post across channels probably three to ten times a day. On Instagram I try to post once or twice a day unless I’m doing something interesting. I like to post to Twitter one to three times a day, and on Facebook one to three times.
How did you tailor your social use for the fashion industry?
For the fashion industry in particular you always hear that it’s who you know that determines success. For successful use of social media in the fashion industry you don’t have to know a ton of people, you have to make yourself known to them.
And remember, you’re not trying to get a connection with a business, you’re trying to make a connection with a person. Whether it’s a creative director or buyer, a photo editor or an editor in chief, they’re all individuals. If you go around tweeting at a magazine page as your business identity it will just blend in or seem like spam. If you can target the individual that makes buying decisions, that’s your in.
How do you find those individual fashion photography buyers on social media?
I haven’t yet found an easy solution. A lot of my searching doesn’t happen on Instagram if I’m looking for someone’s Instagram account. I will search someone’s name plus “Instagram” (or Twitter or LinkedIn) on Google. Right now it’s just a lot of leg work.
Once you’ve found fashion photography buyers on social, how do you interact with them?
I like to comment on someone’s photo, say something insightful, or make a note of something specific. If someone went to a gallery or a museum I can recommend another that’s similar. When I have a picture that I think they might like, I include them in the description or tag them in it, and invite them to check it out.
I also do research on some social channels like LinkedIn, and send a personalized message on other channels that are more welcoming. So when I want to send a personalized message I’ll go through Instagram. By looking at someone’s Instagram account I can find out what they like, what they do, and what they’re interested in. Then I can start a conversation based on that.
Truthfully people love to talk about their lives. They love to know people are paying attention and care about them. If you can talk to them, if you’ve done your research, that’s going to catch their attention. If I can say to someone that I was following them on Instagram and loved that they were drawn to a certain aesthetics, I can add that I think I could offer them what I’d seen in their photos. Something like that.
How do you decide what kind of content will work for your own social channels, as a fashion brand?
I’m constantly checking out where my clients are and what they’re posting. Everything is always changing, Facebook’s algorithms are constantly changing. If I post a status update on my Facebook page no one sees it. No matter what I want to share I have to include a photo.
For example, if I post a status update of something that I did, a cool shoot with someone, it might get two thousand views. Whereas if I post a picture of me on set, or a picture of my client getting her makeup done, that might get eight thousand. It’s night and day.
Currently I can’t post multiple photos in an album at once, either. The posts that get the most views are the ones that are posted directly to my feed.
How do you track your success?
What metrics are important to me are shares, reposts and comments. Likes are good but likes just tell me that people have acknowledged seeing a post. Comments and shares say that someone has made an effort to interact with my brand.
A lot of analytics I’m looking for are how many eyes are coming across my work and at what time of day, which helps me to focus my efforts.
What’s a definite win when it comes to posting for a fashion audience?
Video gives another dimension to your behind the scenes workflow, especially for interaction. For me my behind the scenes videos are very popular and get re-shared by different fashion blogs all the time. They don’t do it with single photos, they do it with videos.
The video doesn’t have to be complex, an Instagram video works to show what you’re like. I did mine in iPhoto, and it’s very formulaic. I’d do a closeup of the makeup on set, then the makeup being done. A quick overview of the set. Then you see my face; a shot over my shoulder and a shot of the model posing and then a shot of me laughing with my clients. The end. Pretty much the same every time.
You figure out what you want to share as your brand and you put that in every video.Then you can put those videos in a video tab or a behind-the-scenes tab on your website.
What are some definite don’ts for fashion photographers using social?
One major don’t is posting something on social that you’re hoping to sell. You don’t want to post anything that looks too similar to the final product. Because if you post a photo that looks anything like the final product most magazines won’t want to run it anymore. You’ve already published it.
Make sure that when you’re posting things from on set it really looks like it’s on the set—include a makeup brush, a light, a backdrop.
Also don’t complain. If any of your media outlets can see you complaining then they feel like you’re going to bring that to your interactions with them. I see photographers do way too much complaining. I see it nonstop.
It’s really easy to keep track of contacts you’ve made on set now if you tag them in your behind the scenes shots. Everyone wants to be Instagramed, so all you do is ask everyone on set if you can tag them in your picture.Then you have this permanent record of who was on your set.
And don’t feel afraid of sharing. A lot of photographers are perfectionists and are afraid of never being good enough, they always feel that they can be better. I feel like the next photo I post will always be better, so if I waited for my best it would never come. I realize that it’s more important to put work out there than to feel that I’m perfect.
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