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Be More...Social: Platforms and Purpose - PPA Today

Be More...Social: Platforms and Purpose

Last week we started our weekly "Be More...Social" series with a piece on just the basics of social media (need a quick refresher?). This week we'll use some of those keywords and dive into what the top platforms are to market your business. We'll cover who are the average users on such platforms and how you can start to effectively engage with them. 

Before we dive in, it's key to remember two things. First, just because a social media site exists, it doesn't mean you need to be on it. Second, if you're new to social media, start off with one or two platforms. You don't need to spread yourself too thin trying to be everywhere at once. 

So where to begin? It's helpful to start by exploring the top sites in terms of reach. Here is a list of the most popular social sites by unique monthly active users (more than 100 million users). Unique monthly active users just means it doesn't matter if a visitor came to a site once or a hundred times, they're only counted once:

  • Facebook: 1.11 billion
  • YouTube: 1 billion
  • Twitter: 550 million 
  • Google+: 343 million
  • LinkedIn: 225 million
  • Instagram: 130 million
It should come as no surprise that Facebook leads the pack, with YouTube in a close second (have you seen how many adorable cat videos there are?!).  Now, just because a site gets millions of users doesn't mean those users are who you need to be focusing your energy on. So who are the average users on the sites? Read on. It's not always who you might think it is!

67% of internet users are on Facebook (72% of women, 62% of men). The highest percentage of users falls between 18 - 29 and 30 - 49 years old. Income, education and location don't matter much in the world of Facebook. Facebook is the most used site by the widest range of people.  People share their personal lives, follow brands they love and stay up to date with words, images and even play games (Candy Crush anyone?)

What this means for your studio: Facebook is a great jumping off point to get the word out about your business, regardless of your specialty. Business pages are completely free to set up. Note: set your business up as a page, not as a person. There are a million reasons why...mainly if you set up your business as a person, you have to actively accept people as your friends (there will be a lag between when they want to start seeing your posts and when they actually get to see your content). Plus, you can't advertise as a person, only a business. Finally, Facebook said not to (and you don't want to get on their bad side). 
A word of warning: One important thing to remember with Facebook that's always a hot topic of debate amongst photographers is that Facebook strips away all image meta data. This means that anyone could download images with no restrictions. Just make sure you always, always, always have your watermark on any image you publish--it will discourage potential image theft. (If you find yourself in a copyright infringement bind, contact PPA's Copyright and Government Affairs department!)

For a quick setup, use your logo as the avatar and some of your finest work as a cover photo (make sure you have your watermark/logo on it). We'll get to what to post next week. 

YouTube is the online video juggernaut. There are 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute (that's 144,000 hours per day)! The demographics of YouTube widely vary and are hard to pin down, but there is something for everyone. Adorable animals, easy how-to's, full-fledged video productions and everything in between--everyone has a space to post and find great content on YouTube (including you!). 

What this means for your studio: Although YouTube is a social networking site; it's not the greatest tool when used alone. If you have interesting video content to publish, utilize YouTube, but get the word out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. It's a very easy way to generate traffic back to your website or Facebook page and start a conversation.

Who are the top Twitter users? More women than men, younger (majority are 18 - 34), with children (surprising, right?), plenty of disposable income, and more urban versus rural settings. There are, on average, 9,100 tweets happening per second (Yep. Per second.) So what do people share? Anything that fits into 140 characters or less! Remember talking about hashtags last week? Well this is the site that started it all. Search relevant content by hashtags (and join in the conversation). 

What this means for your studio:  Given the age range of Twitter's average users fairing on the younger side, this is an excellent way to appeal to younger clients, such as seniors. It'll show you how to speak their language (but don't go crazy with the abbreviations like LOL, BRB or still need to have a sense of professionalism)! And it's not to say it won't attract fine arts, commercial, weddings, or other portraits too!  If you're located in a rural environment and focus on, say architectural photography, Twitter might not be the top logical time investment. 

So what to do you next? Sign up for a Twitter handle for you (as an individual) or as your studio. In this case, the distinction doesn't matter as much. Create that account now and we'll address everything after that next week!

Google+ is most similar to Facebook in terms of structure, but it serves a different purpose. Nearly 70% of the users on Google+ are men, in nerdy fields (think technology, engineering and web development). The top types of content are photos, videos and longer posts, and unlike Facebook, Google+ doesn't strip away the meta data associated with your work. Google+ is where people can follow their passions instead of seeing what their friends had for lunch (we dare say the content is a bit more highbrow, but not completely business like LinkedIn). 

What this means for your studio:  There are thousands of photographers on Google+, sharing work, tips, ideas and more! Think of this as your daily dose of creativity! Hop on over and start adding some big names into your Circles to see what innovators in the world of photography are doing!

LinkedIn is for business. No question about it. The average LinkedIn user is male, age 25 - 54, no children, with plenty of education and disposable income (earning more than $150+ per year). This isn't a place for cat pictures or memes. It's where you can network with other professionals, vendors, partners, local groups (even photographers!) and get down to business, whatever that business is.

What this means for your studio:  It's safe to say that LinkedIn is not for seniors, newborns or even family portraits. It is an ideal opportunity for photographers specializing in corporate headshots or events. If you run a studio that doesn't work with the corporate world often, it's safe to say you can let LinkedIn go. It's not going to be worth your efforts. If you are in the corporate photography sector, you might find it extremely rewarding. Join groups of similar interest; connect with clients and network, network, network! 

Instagram, the photo sharing service recently purchased by Facebook, is used by more women than men, and definitely in the younger demographic (there is a steep drop off after age 29). Location, ethnicity and income don't matter as much. There are approximately 45 million images (and now videos!) uploaded to Instagram on a daily basis, with over one billion "likes" (we talked about those last week) per day. 

What this means for your studio: If you decide to embark on Instagram, it's a great tool to utilize to share behind-the-scenes images from your studio (and it's integrated with Twitter and your personal Facebook page). The images are saved on your phone and you can upload those to your company page in a separate transaction. Just remember that your images don't need to be flawless. These are supposed to be fun, social, personal images that allow your clients to get to know you better! 

There you have it for the big 6 (according to What platforms will your studio focus on? What follow up questions do you have? Leave them in the comments! Next week we'll dive into how to set a strategy for maximum impact and engagement! 

As always, we'd love to connect with you on social media! You can check us out here:

- Sarah

This is post 2 of 7 in the Be More...Social series. Read the other posts in the series using the links below:

Be More...Social: Starting at the Beginning

Be More...Social: Social Media Strategy

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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on July 19, 2013 4:31 PM.

PPA's Business Basics Workshop: Bringing Photography Business Coaching and Support to You was the previous entry in this blog.

Earn Your Photography Certification with the Help of the CPP Preparation Class is the next entry in this blog.

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