One Photographer's Guide to The World of Social Media- Part 3

Techniques/ Tips

One Photographer's Guide to The World of Social Media- Part 3

Last time I talked about some tools to manage your followers on twitter, some guidelines on what to do with it, and reminded you to remember to do some self promoting. I also finished it up by teasing it with an image that I said was a wonderful joint marketing piece. This time I want to talk about that image, or the story behind it, and move onto some of the other social media avenues besides twitter.

If you have been following all along then you are hopefully starting to build a following on twitter, building goodwill, and you are not too bogged down with all the minutia. So what about that image? Well since you have been building all those relationships with people you like I bet that at least one of them has a terrible picture. Why not shoot a new picture for them? The idea is that you pick someone with a lot of followers who you have started to build a relationship with and you shoot a new picture for their twitter profile. They get a great picture and you get a way to market yourself without marketing yourself as well as being introduced to a whole new audience and building a much stronger relationship with the subject.

It’s important that you are careful here though. They have very little invested and you have a whole lot at stake. Be clear about the shoot you have in mind and do a good job. The last thing you want is them saying anything bad about the experience. If you do it right though you can promote yourself by promoting someone else, much better than just promoting yourself, and they will promote you as well. Everyone wins. This isn’t a new concept, David Hobby over at strobist mentioned it, but it works because it really is a win win for everyone.

It also brings us to a good place to discuss another social media avenue that I use. The number 1 best way for a photographer to market themselves is to shoot lots of pictures and show them to a lot of people, for example the pictures you took of your twitter friend. A great way to do that is flickr.

Depending on the way your personal website is designed you may have a way to direct link to images on your site but most people do not and since you can’t post images directly to twitter you are going to need a place to post images. That’s where flickr comes in. Post your images there and then link to them on twitter. There are other services, like twitpic, but I like flickr because it is more than just a place to host an image. I use flickr like a photoblog. Every time I post an image there I start with a link to my website and I then talk about the story behind the image and the lighting I used. I do this because when I follow people I like to read this kind of stuff and it’s just another opportunity for people to get to know you better. Remember it’s all about building relationships.

Flickr also has wonderful groups where you can get fantastic advice on all kinds of things and interact with other photographers. It’s a great resource, just try not to get too caught up in it. Keep in mind that the number of views on an image is as much about the way you market the image, groups you submit it to and when you post it, as anything else. You also have to remember that flickr represents a huge spectrum of the photographic community from people who just got their first point and shoot to seasoned professionals so think about who you take advice from. If you are looking at it from the perspective of social media marketing flickr is more of a tool than an end game. It gives you a place to post images so that people can see them and it lets you network with your peers.

Another nice trick with flickr is that you can integrate it with facebook. You will find the settings for that on your flickr account settings and when coupled with your twitter account being linked to your facebook feed, http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/, every time you upload an image you will have three chances for people to see it and three notifications on facebook for people to see it. Just be careful not to annoy people.

The way I handle it is to upload as many images as I might have to flickr, write the text, and add them to whatever groups. Do this at a time which is convenient for you. This is the first chance for people to see the images and if they are on facebook they might see it in your news feed. Then post one image per day to twitter by creating a bit.ly link and a short description for each image then scheduling the posts in tweetdeck. This keeps your self promoting to a minimum but it’s consistent. Since your twitter account is linked to your facebook account this is a chance for people to see the images on both twitter and facebook. Finally you will post your image directly on facebook and if there is a person in it you can tag them. This is the most likely time for people to see it on facebook because they don’t have to click on anything. Just reading all this it might sound like a whole lot of posting but remember that everyone looks at facebook or twitter at different times so it’s easy to miss stuff in the feed. That means most people will miss most posts and it’s only by posting at multiple times that people have an opportunity to catch something.
That brings us to a nice break. The image this time is my most successful image on flickr. I like the image and people seem to respond to it but I have no idea why this particular image drew thousands of views. Perhaps you can draw some conclusion that I haven’t. In the next post I am going to continue the conversation about facebook and wrap things up with linked in.

This article was written by Josh Ross, http://www.joshrosscreative.com, if you are interested in sharing your experiences, trials, tribulations, and information please contact connect@duggal.com for more information on how to do so.

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CHECK OUT PART 3