Social media for photographers: Part two

 In Social Media

This week, I’ll be writing about four social networks that you’ve probably heard of, but may not be a part of your daily routine — Twitter, 500px, Flickr and LinkedIn.

Last week I talked about Facebook, Snapchat, Google+ and Pinterest. I’ve discussed Instagram in-depth in a previous post as well.

As photographers, social media is important in order for us to show and market ourselves as artists. So now is the time to embrace it — whether you’re a photographer of 20+ years or a newbie who just bought his or her first DSLR.

Twitter

Twitter is my favorite social media network by a long shot. But the problem is it’s impossible to keep up with. I have several lists on my account where I can follow certain photographers, but something always slips through the cracks.

The key here is to produce content that your followers will reply to and retweet. Like Instagram and Facebook, be sure to tag your photos with any mentioned accounts, and also place relevant hashtags. Make your captions short and sweet — after all, you only have 140 characters total!

Tweet often, at least daily. If you have something valuable, tweet more often.

Engage with other posts that you see, especially ones relevant to your audience. Don’t retweet a ton though, otherwise your own content gets lost in the shuffle.

Stay true to your topic. Don’t give your opinion on the presidential race, or complain about how slow your dinner service was. I’m guilty of this, but I try to stick to things that can show me off as a professional photographer.

At the same time, be personable. Don’t come off like a robot — you’re a real person, aren’t you? Show some emotion in your tweets, and have that come through your photos.

Tweets with photos in them are a plus. They show up in most clients, and on the twitter.com website. Think about it — when you see a bunch of text, and then see a beautiful image, wouldn’t that make you want to stop and read more?

500px_photo_page

500px

I was an early adopter to 500px, but I quickly found myself abandoning the platform. Why?

The same reason Google+ hasn’t gained much traction.

Your audience on 500px is fellow photographers, not potential clients. Sure the layout is gorgeous and the photos pop off the screen, but none of your clients will see it.

It is, however, a great place to engage with other pro photographers. You’ll get a lot of constructive criticism, so be prepared to take that head-on. At the same time, you’ll get to comment with your own opinions too.

Regardless, it’s important to do a few things on 500px in order to be seen.

First and foremost, give all your photos a meaningful title. Also be sure to tag them with appropriate keywords and locations.

You can add your photos to groups, but I’ve never seen much engagement with these. There’s not a lot of discussion on 500px groups, and it doesn’t seem to have a major impact on who sees your photos.

500px also offers the ability to license your photos. I’ve played around with this, and wasn’t super impressed. If 500px is for photographers, how would clients see photos available for licensing? The company also recently changed its model so you now get less per license fee, which is obviously a negative to anyone looking to get a profit off the stock model.

Flickr

Flickr is 500px’s archenemy and older brother. Owned by Yahoo!, Flickr has been around as long as I can remember.

If you’re looking for a photo sharing site beyond traditional social media like Facebook, look no further. Your clients are way more likely to be on Flickr as opposed to 500px.

The same rules apply as 500px — title your images, tag them and pin them on a location map. But unlike 500px, take advantage of Flickr’s huge group platform. There’s much more discussion and interest here compared to 500px’s group offerings.

That being said, Flickr isn’t perfect. With the changes Yahoo! has made over the past year, it’s turned off a lot of pro photographers. The groups aren’t as vibrant as they once were, and the engagement isn’t as strong as it used to be.

In addition, Yahoo! recently went up for sale, meaning that Flickr’s days in its current capacity could be numbered.

Flickr also offers a plethora of other options — prints, books, etc. — but none seem to be as strong as the original offering of just being able to show your photos to the public.

Like 500px, it also has a license offering for interested customers. I’ve tried this out, and I actually sold a photo through it. The problem? I made one cent off it.

I still use Flickr, but not as often as I once did. I’ll continue to use it moving forward, but I’m more cautious than I once was with the platform, and don’t put as much time into it as, say, Instagram.

Profile_Q1_2014

LinkedIn

If there’s a social network that stands apart from this bunch, it’s LinkedIn. If you’ve been in business in the past 10 years, you know the network very well, and what it’s great at (and not so great at).

The key here is to treat this like a digital resume. Potential clients will look up your profile. Get a professional headshot, and feature one of your best photos as your profile cover photo.

What’s more, be sure to fill out everything possible — your skills, memberships, past employment, client lists, links, etc. The more, the better.

What I’ve found to be of utmost importance though is getting endorsements. Like Google+, LinkedIn has a powerful review system. You can ask connections for reviews, and likewise, give reviews to your connections that you’ve worked with.

Like almost any other social network, you can also join groups. There are groups that may be catered to your clients, while there are others catered to professionals in the field. Both are meaningful, as long as they post relevant content from contributors. I’ve seen a lot of LinkedIn groups that were smaller just die a slow death, and I ultimately un-join those groups.

And while it seems obvious, make connections! Add your friends, college professors, clients, and potential future clients. If someone’s deep into the LinkedIn system, and are looking for a photographer, it’s good to be on their short list.

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You’ve probably read a few repeat words throughout this two-part series. Engagement. Interaction. Connections. They’re all important on every social network.

Get a focus on a few social networks where your clients are, and get to work. If you’re trying to get business clients, get on LinkedIn. If you want to attract marketing agencies and public, engaging companies, make Facebook your #1 platform.

What’s your favorite social network? What has worked best for you in terms of marketing via social media? Let me know in the comments below.

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