It’s never been easier to get your photography work noticed. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reach tens of millions of people all around the world in no time at all. An image of yours can be liked and shared in every country and give you access to people and places that you never dreamed possible.
It’s simple to do but hard to get right. And because it’s so simple, there are millions of other photographers trying to do exactly the same thing. The sheer volume of good work on social media makes it hard to stand out and break through.
But you can do it if you follow an effective strategy and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different social media platforms.
Let’s run through some of them and discuss what you need to know.
INSTAGRAM: For most photographers, Instagram is the social media platform of choice. If you’re a photographer in the digital age, you can’t afford not to have an Instagram presence. This image-driven platform has changed the very nature of photography. With just a smartphone and access to editing and filtering tools, everyone can feel like a photographer and build a following of people who support their work.
It can be disheartening for professionals who have spent years learning the craft. But, that’s just how it is, and your best bet is to use it to the best of your ability.
Instagram is a great way to promote your work and lead people to a deeper engagement with your website and portfolio. Don’t put all your best stuff up there—curate an interesting feed that mixes some of your work with a behind-the-scenes look at who you are and what you do. Pull the curtain back a bit and let people in. Try to stand out and develop a unique style. There are so many accounts that look exactly the same—if you can build a brand that is uniquely you, you’ll see results.
This platform also helps you find topics that match your interests through hashtags, a great tool on Instagram to find like-minded individuals and communities. They can also be useful in organizing content by topic or in creating a signature hashtag that your clients can find your work through.
TWITTER: While this platform appears to have been taken over entirely by politics, there is still space for photographers to market themselves and carve out a niche. The trick with marketing on Twitter is to find a way to insert yourself into the conversation. Find a news story or a popular hashtag that is related to your work and start posting about it. You can find the trending topics on Twitter on your home page and get a sense of what people are talking about.
Use the platform to try and direct people to your website and build a following of people who are interested in your take on the world. Twitter is a great place to identify your audience.
FACEBOOK: The largest and most established of the social networks, is a powerful tool for growing a community and reaching new customers. With a Business Page, you can send out images or albums, share interesting stories, write posts about your work, and engage deeply with followers.
This platform offers excellent tools for targeting specific groups of people, and it’s worth spending some of your budget on reaching fans who could become valuable to you. Unfortunately, organic reach on Facebook doesn’t have the reach that it once did. It’s almost impossible to get noticed without paying for it! But the good news is that Facebook rewards even a small budget by offering a very well-targeted audience who are likely to engage heavily with your content if it’s good.
PINTEREST: This is one of the smaller networks, but it has an active, dedicated user base and is highly focused on beautiful and useful imagery. It’s all about discovering new people and places, making it a great place for people to find your work and make contact.
Each of the platforms has strengths and weaknesses, and you should aim to have a presence on all of them to get the best results. Set up a schedule so that you’re posting regularly, but not overwhelming your followers with content. At the end of the day, social media is a wonderful tool for a photographer to have. It’s an affordable marketing platform with a massive reach that will showcase your work. Understand its strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll be on your way to building the kind of brand that you’ve always dreamed about.
Joining PPA is another excellent way to grow your network. Read another one of our stories on painless networking.