Social media sites are not created equal
Technology and social media have made major improvements to photography in terms of ease, accessibility, and photo sharing. At the same time the number of ways one can share and market themselves as a photographer can be overwhelming and time consuming. Cahoots is taking a look at the different social networks and photo sharing platforms currently dominating the web and what types of markets they are best suited for. Today we are talking about Facebook.
Facebook is best for the types of photographers that take the kind of pictures that people post and share on their Facebook profiles. Facebook is a great marketing tool for:
- Wedding and engagement photography
- Family portraits
- Events photography (marathons, fundraisers)
Having a Facebook page is great for showcasing your work, keeping in touch with clients, gaining reach, and directing people to your website. However, it is even more powerful to get your pictures into the Facebook profiles of others, especially since your clients may not be okay with you posting pictures of their wedding, baby, or birthday on your Facebook fan page. Think of each photograph shared on someone’s timeline or set as a profile picture as a free advertisement for your work.
- Make sure your photography is traceable. Placing a signature on a photograph is good, but sometimes it may get cropped out of view. Ask your clients to tag you or link to your Facebook fan page when they post pictures on their Facebook profiles.
- The more the merrier. When photographing an event, such as a wedding, focus on the bridal party but also take the time to photograph the guests. If the guests have pictures of themselves to tag and share as well this helps get your photography into more profiles, reach more people, and get more ‘likes’ on your Facebook page.
- Read the comments. Think of it as research. When the pictures are posted and shared in places where you can see the comments, take the time to read them and notice which ones got the most likes. This can give you great feedback on your work and let you know what types of shots really resonate with your target market.
- Put your best work forward. If your photos are the advertisement for your work make sure you are posting the good ones. Quality over quantity. Take the time to remove the ones that are obviously bad (eyes closed, caught off guard). While it can be convenient to post an album of unedited photos on Facebook and simply tell clients to ‘like’ the ones they want edited, it is better to do so through a private gallery link on your website or Flickr with downloading disabled (people get excited and want to share before the finished product is ready).
Advertising on Facebook
Pay-per-click advertising on Facebook is easy to set up, allows you to adhere to a budget, and target a specific market. It is great for wedding photography because Facebook knows when someone’s relationship status has gone from ‘In a Relationship’ to ‘Engaged’. However, pay-per-click ads can eat up a budget fast and are fleeting. A more sustainable model to drive business is to get your pictures into people’s Facebook profiles themselves, as mentioned earlier. A good photograph in someone’s profile has much more permanence and word-of-mouth advertising power than pay-per-click ads.
Another way to get your work out there is to go after the people with large social networks. If you’re just starting out or are trying to build your client base don’t be afraid to take pictures for free of:
-Friends with big social networks who love sharing pics
-Models to attract attention to your portfolio
-Anything that is likely to go viral (cute, funny, shock value)
Travel, Adventure, and Landscape Photography
Facebook is not as likely to generate business for nature, landscape, travel and other less personal forms of photography. In this case a photographer may have a hard time getting word-of-mouth style awareness, but can get their photos to go viral. Posting incredible travel photos and capturing interesting experiences that most people are not having on a day to day basis can result in people sharing those photos or using them as timeline covers. This can create a buzz around your photography that can drive more traffic to other platforms such as a photography blog. As a photographer in these categories the best experiences to share are the ones that most people aren’t having in their day to day lives, such as visiting a village in the Amazon or climbing Mount Everest. Try combining your photography with inspirational quotes or creating memes to generate more viral activity. The end goal of this activity is to build an international reputation, sell prints, and have your photos comes across the eyes of those who will hire you- wherever they may be.
Art Nudes, Boudoir, and other 18+ Photography
Facebook does not allow nudity, so fine art nude photography has a hard time flourishing on Facebook- as does boudoir photography where people are less likely to post the outcomes in their profile. Boudoir and couples shoots are increasing in popularity though, especially around times like Valentines Day. As a photographer in these categories try to toss a few ‘safe’ shots into the mix that could still be shared in networks like Facebook and that people may feel comfortable showing their family and friends. Use your Facebook page to post teasers and direct the traffic outside of your Facebook page to a more appropriate platform. If your page gets reported and deleted you’ll have to build your following all over again.
For photographers operating in these fields one of the challenges is that when work is pending publication you can’t share it on Facebook. In this case post a ‘Behind the Scenes’ shot on your Facebook Fan Page to generate some buzz about your upcoming works. You can use your Facebook page to tap into the fans of the people you are photographing to get more ‘Likes’. You can also network by collaborating with the right models, stylists, and other fashion industry professionals to get the right eyes looking at your work.
Whatever your photography style may be the most important thing to consider when it comes to marketing yourself on Facebook is the way your images will be shared through other people. Listen to your audience, respect your clients privacy, and try to keep your photos leading back to you as a photographer. Social media can be time consuming, so pay attention to which efforts are time wasters and which ones help your business.
If you have anything to add let us know or comment below.