Photography and Social Media: Understanding the Basics
December 18, 2013
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Since the Internet is such a visual medium, it's no surprise that photography and social media go together like bacon and eggs. Investing a little time showcasing your work, whether it's on your own blog, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, can result in big returns in the form of future clients and networking opportunities with other established photographers.
Getting Exposure and Self Promotion
Once upon a time, advertising, doing promotions and generating name or brand recognition meant placing expensive ads, direct mailings and other less-than-wallet-friendly options. Combining your photography and social media accounts lets you put your work out there for the whole world to see, complete with an easy way to contact you for services or questions. While all of this comes with an attractive price tag—zero—it's worth noting that successfully marketing yourself via social media does require a lot of time and effort. You're only as memorable as your last update, tweet or gallery you post, so it is important to continue providing new content to your followers on a regular basis.
Knowing and Engaging Your Audience
Fortunately, you can maximize your time spent by knowing where to focus your energy based on the audience you're looking to reach. If you work mainly in portraits and weddings, Facebook and Pinterest are particularly friendly to those genres. Twitter is a great venue for sharing single images and gallery links with brief captions or descriptions. Google+ is a great place to network with other photographers, as are Flickr and 500px.
More than knowing your audience, it's important to keep them engaged as well. Social networking isn't traditional advertising—it's a dialogue. Invite discussion by asking your followers what they think of an image, to share thoughts and photos of their own and to interact among themselves. Respond to questions as you can, as personal interaction will help create a loyal follower base.
While you still retain the rights to any image you post on a social media site, the terms of service may allow the site to use your images how they see fit or even let others use them without any additional consent from you. Terms of service are constantly changing, but Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are just a few of the networking sites that allow commercial reuse of any images you upload using their services. If you're concerned about your images being used in this manner, posting conspicuously watermarked photos and linking to an external gallery for more examples can keep your work from being used without you receiving compensation.
Make the Most of Your Time
The best thing about all of this is you probably already have accounts with most of the major social media outlets. If you're on Facebook or Twitter, you're already spending a few minutes here and there checking on everything else around you, then it just takes a few more minutes out of your day here and there to promote your work. If you aren't already on the major social networks, definitely consider signing up and building a presence by showcasing your work and networking with friends and colleagues.
Whether you're new to social media or an old timer, we'd love to hear your success stories. Tell us what works for you in the comments below!
Photo credit: Morguefile