Social Media has taken the photography industry by storm. Whereas a few years ago, very few of us had ever even made a Tweet or posted anything on Facebook, now we’re spending hours every day engaging in social media conversations.
However, not every photographer has figured out how exactly to use these powerful new mediums to their maximum benefit. After all, it’s going by so quickly that we barely have time to read all of our reloaded tweets, let alone take stock on what social media can actually do for us.
By the nature of it, social media is exactly that. It’s social. It’s not called “sit there and blurt things out of your keyboard” media, but this is just how many people use it. They post about themselves or their work, hoping, or expecting that someone will come by and actually take interest in their images or care what they have to say.Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that happens, but unless it’s REALLY good, a single tweet will quickly drop off everyone’s home page with little visibility. Even if you have lots of followers, posting alone will not allow you to take full advantage of what Twitter and Facebook have to offer, or give your followers a reason to stay. In time, if you have nothing unique or personal to offer, people will get bored and move on.
You need to engage. Like I said, it’s called social media. So be social. Actually join the conversation and pass around the interesting stuff that you see on other people’s pages. Interact with your followers. Networking is networking, and if you went to a business conference or gathering, you wouldn’t just stand there holding up a sign, you’d talk to people. You’d engage with them and spend time shaking hands, actually conversing with, not just at them.
Do the same online. Bring your followers into the fray and give them a reason to not only follow you, but like and recommend you as well.
I’ve started engaging with my Facebook followers a whole lot more lately, asking them what they like to shoot, asking them to post links to their images, and even asking for comments on my own shots. I’ve watched my traffic climb steadily over the past couple of months. Although I know that’s not the only reason for the jump, it does help me increase my visibility and bring people back to the site as it gives them sense of community.
Same with Twitter. At first I just posted stuff about my own work and links to my website. Now, in addition to sharing interesting and valuable photography links to my followers, I’ll actually take the time to visit some of their websites and blogs, leave comments, open discussions and share those sites that I think are exceptional. It’s about sharing the love. Just like in the rest of the world, you get back what you give.
I think that this is especially important these days, where blogs and social media can really play into the “It’s all about me” factor that many of us have. After all, we’re all a bunch of self important creative types that think our own photography matters a whole lot. (At least that’s me, I don’t know about you…) We can all use a little more one-on-one conversation.
So the next time you log onto your social networking sites, try being a little more social. I think you’ll find that outgoing efforts go a long way towards having a positive effect on your marketing. Plus it’s just nice to talk to people.
Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Follow his own blog at danbaileyphoto.com/blog and see his daily updates at facebook.com/danbaileyphoto.