Marketing for Photographers, Part 3: Doing Social

You’ve got your website prepared, and you’re getting ready to take the next step down the road towards professional promotion? Take a look at how to approach managing your profile so that your fans won’t have to hit the Back button much. We’ll be showing it all against the example of Facebook, but the general rules apply everywhere. Read on to learn how to set up your profile and then manage it so that it serves you well.

Let’s imagine this situation. You’ve been taking pictures for a number of years now, and you’ve recently decided to dive into full-fledged promotion. You’ve read up a bit, and you’ve prepared a nice website or portfolio. And now you’re thinking of jumping into social networks. Is this you? Good—we’ll advise on what to do. 

How to Set up Your Profile on Social Networks

You’ll find a wide range of articles out there on how to set up a Facebook profile step by step. They tell you where you should click and what you should write or upload. But what they don’t tell you is what else to do and think through to make your profile work for you instead of becoming a ball-and-chain. So allow me to share a bit of my experience. 

If you’re just now founding a profile from scratch, you’ll need to think over a few things. The first one is without a doubt its name. If you own a website in a suitable domain, it will be best to work (in at least some way) with that domain’s name. Yes, the reason is simple. If people are searching for example on Facebook, they’ll most likely choose the name of your website as their first option. Or your name, if that’s what you use for your public image.

Marketing for Photographers, Part 3: Doing Social

Besides its name, your profile will also include other information, tucked away in the left column under the (surprising) name of Information. Here you’ll find not only the profile’s name, but also its category, when your business was founded, and a space for describing your activities. You should also fill out the contact information here, including the web address and telephone number. The field named Products is interesting as well; you can fill it in with a nice overview of what kinds of photography you offer, and also include suitable links—for example to your website. 

The Information section also contains a part that’s called Story. Even though the name itself might lead you to give an emotional description of your path from enthusiastic teenager to a professional with great equipment, you can also go a different route and use this space for a more detailed and thorough description of what you do. 

Since this field has expanded editing options, you can for example describe in one paragraph what type of photography you offer and directly include a photo for illustration. If you’re good at graphics as well, nothing stands in the way of your also creating an infographic with an overview of your prices.

Marketing for Photographers, Part 3: Doing Social

What next? Your cover photo and profile photo! Business and company logos are typically used as profile pictures, and if you have one, you should do the same. Your cover photo is a harder choice. Try to avoid bland options like photos of sunsets. This space—which is the first thing your visitors see—can be used more strongly. For example you can create a collage of your good photos or a simple graphic listing the types of photography you offer.

Just be careful—before you jump into preparing your cover photo and profile picture, find out what size to upload them at. This is often a stumbling block even for experienced marketers, because Facebook loves to change its recommended dimensions, and fairly often too. 

Here’s a closing tip for this topic: prepare three or four posts in advance and launch your profile with these, instead of launching it empty. It will look more trustworthy than it would if you’d prepared it, published it, and only put your first post on it a month later. 

How to Manage Your Profile

Your work doesn’t end with the founding of your social profile. Quite the opposite—if you want it to serve as it should, you have to keep it running. Manage it. Fill it with content that evokes interest. One basic rule usually applies, and that’s “entertain, educate, sell.” 

Why entertain and educate? Take a look at what profiles you follow and enjoy in your own life. They likely contain more than just sales pitches, right? They probably share other content too. Content you enjoy, that you like to look at or read and that brings a smile to your face. So try to intersperse your purely sales-oriented posts with ones that your fans will simply just enjoy.

Marketing for Photographers, Part 3: Doing Social

Yes, if you’re a photographer, the basic building blocks of your web presence will be photos. But even for photo posts, you can add fitting descriptions and offer a backstage view. Emphasize what was unusual or hard about each shoot. With posts like these, you build not only awareness about yourself, but also a certain degree of trust.

One thing that’s frequently asked is how many posts to publish, and when. The answer is complicated, but try initially sharing four posts a month and adding more if needed. As far as what time of day, in our age of smartphones that have us surfing the web nonstop, it doesn’t really matter. Try starting right now with a time that you choose yourself (for example towards the evening), and after a while you can change it based on your fans’ reactions. 

If you start with adding posts, don’t forget that there are more formats out there than just photo galleries or adding photos themselves. Try experimenting with these other formats as well and using them to your benefit. Facebook’s Note format lets you say more about yourself or your work. Its Carousel format, meanwhile, lets you present all the types of photography that you offer side-by-side, including a clickthrough straight to your site. 

Marketing for Photographers, Part 3: Doing Social

One last tip to wrap up this section: try using a post-planning app such as Kontentino (which is free as long as you only have one profile). These apps let you prepare and beautify your posts in advance and then just set their times of publication. You save some work, and you can also easily tell whether your posts’ continuity and overall feel make sense. 

How to Communicate With Your Fans

Here we’ll cut straight to the quick. We’ve got 10 tips for you on how to communicate with your social followers: 

  1. Be consistent (in how you address them, in how formal you are… in everything.)
  2. Reply to comments. Yes, even the negative ones.
  3. Your response is public. Even though some people just can’t be convinced, you can convince other readers that don’t join in the discussion, but do read it.
  4. Never be vulgar. Seriously, don’t.
  5. Even if you disagree with someone, don’t insult them and don’t be cynical.
  6. Answer questions regularly. Find time for it.
  7. Learn to greet people and thank people.
  8. Writing free of spelling and grammar mistakes is a baseline.
  9. If you run into someone with long-term negative energy, try to direct your conversation with them into private messages.
  10. Be kind and try to help even when a request or question seems stupid.

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