Tips for using social media to grow your photography business.January 19th, 2023
Running a successful photography business often requires leveraging all the marketing avenues available to you. That means using social media. But don’t worry if you aren’t familiar or comfortable jumping onto social media platforms. Start using social media today using these tips for your photography business.
Pick a platform and start posting.
At first, creating content for social media can be intimidating for many photographers and videographers. As professionals, we tend to want to appear polished and perfect, but remember that social media viewers highly value authenticity. Social channels provide an opportunity for you to share your craft, your personality, and your brand in bite-size pieces using different mediums (text, video, still images, audio, graphics).
Even though social media moves fast, you can start slow and easily test out what works best for your brand, then get into a rhythm of posting so your audience looks forward to your next post.
So, just start posting. Put some content out there – recent portfolio shots on Instagram, a behind-the-scenes video on Facebook, tweet about a promo package – get your feet wet then you can evolve your content as your comfort level grows.
Why social media is a must-have for marketing your photography business.
Many view social media as a form of entertainment (we’ve all lost ourselves in the land of cute pet posts or funny videos); however, it’s also a powerful tool to market your products and services. Here’s why:
- It gives you broader exposure than your website alone.
- It’s an effective and free way to direct traffic to your website.
- It enables you to interact closely with your audience.
- Direct Messages
- Live Events
- It’s quick and easy to update.
- It’s perfect for announcing sales or new products.
- It’s easy for clients to network on your behalf via resharing/reposting your content.
Strengths and capabilities of the top social media channels.
The highly visual focus of Instagram makes it popular with photographers and videographers to showcase your recent work and generate leads. Great for wedding, family, and event clients to find you and see your style.
Start today: Instagram has evolved from a purely image-focused platform to a more video-centric one. Photographers – this doesn’t mean you should stop posting your best portfolio shots. Snag some ideas from videographers, unleash your creativity, and try playing around with Reels. Create a short behind-the-scenes or subject posing video that combines one or more final images from the shoot as a different way to show your work. This might even spark some inspiration for you to play with in the future. Try making a snappy slideshow of your latest job. An easy way to get more traffic to your Reel is with trending audio – we recommend something around 20K uses. Make sure you’re still on-brand with the mood and the aesthetic of your Reel. And you can double-down and share the Reel to your Stories for more visibility.
Even though it doesn’t get as much buzz lately as other platforms, Facebook is effective for networking, being active in groups, and creating events and live video feeds. It is also great for reaching parents or sports groups and for showing lighting set-up or behind-the-scenes videos.
Start today: If you don’t have one already, create a business page using the name of your company or business; personal pages do not include the useful tools included in business pages. Depending on your business goals and where you are in your career, you might try paid ads to build awareness, engagement, and conversions (bookings). Facebook Ad Manager can help you get powerful, highly targeted ads, and you can invest as much or as little as you want.
Combine text and photos in concise and frequent posts that lead to more engagement. Great for reaching targeted client groups or collaborating with other professionals.
Start today: Twitter is all about being brief; you have only 280 characters to make your point. Post any specials or promos you might run, or feature a couple images as your “prints of the month.” Share a couple of images from your latest gig as a teaser, with an intriguing caption, and push people to your portfolio website in your tweet. Don’t forget to tag any models or collaborators in the post.
Photographers are just discovering how to best use TikTok to generate views on this platform that utilizes short-form video content. You might think it’s all trending dances or people pointing at text as it appears around them, but it’s so much more. Great for short and authentic videos like before and afters, BTS, editing tricks, editing workflow, tutorials, or posing tips.
Start today: Make a quick “what to expect” video for your clients, sharing some of the things that make working with you special or different.
More effective if you think of it as a search engine that can drive traffic to your website rather than a social media platform. Great for creating thematic “boards” focused on local content like popular wedding venues. Remember that Pinterest won’t yield results immediately. Be patient and consistent – it can take six to eight months to start seeing real activity.
Start today: First, make sure your Pinterest account is a business account so you get more features, such as analytics. Next, create your first Pin, giving it a title with relevant keywords like location, style, etc. Use the description to add more keywords because, ultimately, Pinterest is less of a social network and more of a visual discovery engine. Finally, use a relevant URL and link to that content on your website– this content must support your Pin if you want to see results.
How photographers can be most effective on social media.
• Figure out your social media strategy and goals – whether you set goals for brand awareness and exposure, client leads, or actual conversion to bookings and sales, develop social media content best suited to reach your goals.
• Be authentic – if you are naturally funny or more serious, don’t try to be something you’re not. Keep your client audience and goals in mind as you communicate.
• On or off-camera – maybe start with a few still image posts or a quick video shot as you narrate off-camera. See how it goes and then try an on-camera video. If you are on camera, be sure to smile and act like you’re talking to a person, which you ultimately are.
• Use a phone – a handheld video shot with your phone can be just as effective as a nice DSLR rig for communicating on social media. The quality is often very good on newer devices. A selfie stick is also a good tool to use.
• Shorter is better – at first, try making videos of one minute or less. Just pick a single idea to communicate or a simple location set to document. If that goes well, you can try going more in-depth with more comprehensive content.
• Use hashtags and location tags – get more exposure on all platforms and especially on IG by using topic-focused or location-specific hashtags on each post. Searching clients are more likely to find you if you use a tag like #springfieldweddingphotographer that incorporates both your locale and expertise.
• BTS is interesting – potential clients might enjoy seeing how you work behind the scenes. You can easily set up a phone on a tripod and let it roll as you set lighting or craft a pose. BTS lets them get to know you.
• Use polls for engagement – social media users might like seeing you post two images from the same shoot and ask them whether they prefer A or B.
• Post client testimonials – it’s the most powerful form of advertising to see and hear from other clients how much they enjoyed working with you. Testimonials can be either in text and images or ask permission to interview them on video.
• Pick 1 or 2 platforms to start – once you do a few posts on just one platform, you can get the hang of it and get into a rhythm. Expand to others from there.
• Be consistent – this is important once you get followers so you can maintain that high level of engagement. Whether it’s weekly or monthly, try to make it a routine. Also, consider using a social media scheduling tool for more efficient use of your time. It lets you spend a few hours developing content for several posts at one time and setting when you want them posted at later dates.
The best way to start using social media is…just start. There is no real “secret sauce” for success. Sure, there are trends you can hop on and strategies you can put in place to improve your performance and engagement – a Google search will give you a million different things you could try. Ultimately, what’s important is showing up. Consistently. Be authentic and engage with your community through comments, direct messages, and posts. Social media is, after all, a community, and that’s the beauty of it. You don’t always need to worry about making every post polished or writing the perfect caption. Use the amazing work you already have as a photographer or videographer. Think about the ways that you can show it off to people in a unique way while sharing your personality, and get out there.