Social Media – How social media can be used to help your photography business

Jul 16, 2023 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

Marcus guides us through the world of social media. It’s critical for photographers
to have some sort of presence on one or more social media platform.

We talk about which platform is best for you and we discuss in depth which ones
are best for commercial photographers -Linkedin, Twitter and Google My Business.
These are primarily focuses on business to business.

As long term posters on Linkedin both of us are keen advocates of the platform,
there are no restrictions on the type and size of media you post – unlike others.

There is a link for Google business below and it’s definitely something worth

As far as what to post it pays to be interesting and avoid being “salesy” at all costs.
Set out to be seen as the authority and be consistent in your posting.

As a photographer we have lots of visual material to share but a few words to go
with the photograph such as a short story will make the post even more popular.
Don’t expect instant results it takes time to build a following but certainly, initially
at least, focus on one or two platforms.

Of course it’s not a one way streak, comment on other peoples post and build up connections.

In summary:

Be consistent

Comment on other peoples posts

Find the platform that works for you

News of the DAY

“Show Transcription”

Sam: Hi Marcus.

Marcus: Hi there, Sam. How are you doing?

Sam:  Very good. You?

Marcus:  Very well. Thank you, Sam. Very well indeed.

Sam: Excellent. So I’m looking forward to this week’s show, Marcus, because we’re going to be getting some input from you. So this week’s show, we’re going to be talking about social media. Now, there are all sorts of social channels and in podcasts in the future, we’re going to be talking about individual ones, but today we’re going to be talking about sort of social, as a concept, the big picture ideas about social media. So, Marcus, do you want to introduce what we’re going to talk about?

Marcus: Indeed, I do. Well, Sam. So, social media, I’m going to start off with a very strong statement. I would say if you are a commercial photographer in this day and age, you cannot exist without having some type of social media platform. There you go. I’ve said it. I don’t like it, but I’ve said it. I mean, Sam, you and I are old enough to remember when social media first started with UK companies like French United. Do you remember them?

Sam: Yeah, yes, I remember a couple of them. And then sort of before social takeoff as well, people sort of had their own website, didn’t they, which was kind of a thing for a while, wasn’t it, where you just talked about yourself?

Marcus: That’s right, exactly. And it’s developed or it’s grown enormously, enormously since then. And nowadays we’ve got platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, and I’ll even include Google My Business into that, as well as a commercial photographer, we are basically facing B to B Facing what I mean by that is that we work with businesses. The other side to it is the B to C, which is when a photographer might work directly with the customers, like a wedding photographer or a family photographer. But as I say, this show is about commercial photography. So we’re going to be talking really about the platforms that work well for B to B. And of those, I would probably say LinkedIn tick that box, Instagram, Twitter and Google my business. It’s open debate about the other ones, but that’s the way I feel about it. Google my business. So there’s lots of platforms there that we can work with. I would suggest a good way to start is by thinking, okay, who are my customers? Who are my clients? For me, I’m a branding photographer, so I don’t like to travel too far. My customers tend to be fairly local within may be about 50, 60, 80 miles of where I live. So that helps me decide what platform I’m going to go with. Also, which is the platform, I think that I enjoy posting on. Sam, have you got anything to add to that? Which platform do you think works best with a photographer?

Sam: Yeah. So, I mean, a phrase of somebody who I work with quite closely a lot is fish where the fishes are. So, yeah, there’s no point looking for customers where they’re not. So if you’re a b to b photographer, the most logical place to be, frankly, is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is where you’re going to find those businesspeople and be able to do those business posts. That’s absolutely vital. The other platforms are great, but you’ve got to think about who are on those platforms. So, yes, LinkedIn I think, is vital. If you’re doing b to b, the other platforms are worth thinking about for different purposes. I think a big mistake a lot of photographers is make is they automatically go to Instagram. Instagram is great for showing photographs. Brilliant. So as a photographer, I must be there, maybe. Are your customers there or are you just sharing the photographs with other photographers? I think that’s definitely something to think about. And I think the other thing is, don’t go mad on social.

Marcus: That’s right, exactly. I mean, we met on LinkedIn and so obviously we both put a lot of value in LinkedIn as well. And over these last few years, that’s the platform that I have been concentrating on, Instagram, I’ve actually started only even though I’ve had an account for a long time, I’ve only really started using it recently. And yeah, you’re right. I mean, it is a lot of creative people on there and it is allegedly good for showing your photographs. I think LinkedIn actually is better for showing your photographs on because you’re not restricted to any particular format or dies with link. It will take anything was Instagram, it needed to be square and now it’s like 69. That’s a little bit restrictive, but, yes, certainly those two are the ones we’ve talked about. I did mention Google My Business, just for some people might not immediately think about it being a social media platform. It’s a free account that you can sign up with and you get an advert placed on Google and it’s where people can find you.

Sam: Mark Bestly. Mark is just with wording. We need to be careful here because that could be confusing with Google Ads. So if you have a Google Business account, it gives you a pin in Google Maps, doesn’t it? Say you appear in Google Maps when people search for the right thing in the right area? That’s not an advert. So an advert is paid for and sort of pushes you to the top just in case people getting free ads with that, just but, yeah, no, Google Business is great and people don’t always think of it as social media, do you? But it’s just vital.

Marcus: Yeah, thanks for putting that out to me. Yes, you’re quite right. I mean, I do Google Ads as well, but the Google my business is found for searching on the maps. But you do post on their regularly, and that’s how it works. If you got an account and don’t post on it, it’s not really going to get much traction.

Sam: No, that’s i.e. think vital with Google business is reviews as well. So getting business, that’s an amazing place to get business reviews and it really lets business, Google know that your business is alive and up and running. So I think that’s vital, too. And then we haven’t mentioned WhatsApp as well, so does that count as social media? Because you can get a WhatsApp business accountant that opens up quite a few areas. Do you use that? Marcus?

Marcus: No, that’s enough. There’s too many. There’s too many of them.

Sam: What’s absolutely different, it’s about the messaging side, which most of the socials have put without. But we’ve talked a lot about platforms. Marcus I think we need to talk a bit about posting what it is that people actually want to be posting out there, or what else they want to be using social for. Have you got some thoughts on that?

Marcus: Yeah, I certainly do. LinkedIn is a great example about people worry about what to post on there because it’s seen as maybe being a bit stuffy. You got to be a bit careful what you say, which is not, by the way, but nevertheless the kind of things that you’ve got to post on there. Just like we talked about in the networking show, I think you’ve got stuff that people could be interested in and you’ve got to come across as being interesting or certainly being an authority in your subject.

Sam: Definitely, yeah. You’ve got to have posts that are engaging, you’ve got to have posts that are educational, you’ve got to have posts that are fun. And I think the big rule is you do not have posts that sell. Social media is not a sales place. It is not a place to sell. If you sell on social media, people will not be interested. Unless you’ve built up to that over a long time, you got a pretty massive following,

Marcus: correct, Sam that’s really true. But there’s different ways of selling, of course, by being an authority, like I’ve already mentioned, that is raising your game without directly selling.

Sam: Yeah, that’s it. It’s marketing. Yes, it is. Brilliant marketing. Social media for marketing. You’re right for making people aware what a bloody genius you are at what you do and how good job you do and what an amazing service people find, because you’re putting testimonials on there and you tell them, giving them useful hints and tips so people realize how great you are and you’re engaging them and entertaining them. And it can be quite hard to get that mix, getting maybe blogs posted on there, links to blogs posted on there, getting little snippets of information on there, but also human side, what you’ve been up to, little humorous things. It’s that mix, I think, makes it engaging and of course, there’s the regularity, isn’t it? That’s so important, is that you don’t have to be strict. It’s every day of the other day, but you need to be regularly posting on the platforms you’re using.

Marcus: I mean, the great thing about photography, Sam, is that it literally speaks for itself. So just by getting your work out there on a platform, people are going to see it. It’s not like we got to rely on just words or just or things we say or do. Your photographs, it’s a great your photographs will speak for themselves. So that’s a thing that’s a great thing about photography.

Sam:  Yeah. No, I do think there are some photographers rely on that too much. I see a lot of photography websites where that’s all there is and there is no text. And yes, I think the photography with a little bit of explanation is amazing. But the photo on its own, yeah, I think it does say a lot, but a couple of words to go with it can really make that go even further. And I guess when you’re talking about

Marcus: indeed, indeed.

Sam: When you talk about being an expert as a photographer on social media, actually you’ve got to be an expert on what you’re producing, not on the technical side, because what you don’t want is a ton of photographers following you. So if you’re going, oh, I took this picture with F 4.0 with a 35 to 50 millimeter adjusted to45 millimeter and a blah, blah, blah, you’re going to attract photographers because they’re interested in that. You’re not going to attract clients. So when we’re saying you’re an expert, it’s not at that. It’s at being an expert at producing great images for clients and them getting what they want. Because I think some people do fall into that trap of I could do as a web designer, let me post for all these technical stuff I could do with web designers and who’s the only people who are interested? More web designers. We can all fall into that trap and photographers especially. So, yeah, you need to think about what it is you’re an expert in and what you’re trying to get across.

Marcus: Quite. And you also mentioned, Sam, about consistency and the importance of consistency. And I think this is the hardest thing, isn’t it’s? Just keeping posting, keeping updating, keeping commenting on people’s posts. It does take a long time. You can’t just commit five minutes to it a day. I think it’s more in the hours that you’ve got to commit. Again, posting, accounting,

Sam:  it depends how many platforms you’re using. And we said at the beginning, I think you’re way better doing one or two platforms well than 14 badly. And if anybody’s on lots of platforms, unless they’re all day every done it, they do it badly, you’re better doing a couple really well. And there are tools that means you can schedule posts. So you could say on a Monday do right, let’s do all my posts for the week. LinkedIn and Facebook now allow you to do that natively. So within the Facebook and LinkedIn schedule. So once you’ve done the scheduling, then it’s not too bad because it is just like you say, I think 5,10 minutes a day, doing a couple of comments, making sure that any comments you’ve got are followed up on doing a few likes. I think being strict with that is good because you can get sucked up and spend forever. So I think it’s trying to think, what am I trying to achieve, what am I trying to do? And making sure you put the time aside to do those important things and avoid being sucked into that, like social media scroll, scroll, scroll, which is so easy to do.

Marcus: So easy to do, Sami mean, that’s the Irene of this, isn’t it? Really in that, as you said, we’re sucked into it. We’re posting on there, we want to see the comments on it. And then your eye gets caught by something else, and before you know, yeah, you’re spending, you’re in this social media loop, and that’s a really difficult thing to avoid.

Sam:  It is. You just have to be strict with I think being strict with timing helps. I’ve got 15 minutes now to post on, to comment on five posts, to do three likes and to check my post. And if you’ve got some sort of target and time limit, I think that can really help you because you’re aware of the time. Now, we’ve kind of talked a lot about this and we’re kind of running out of time. But I think there’s one more thing I want to mention, and that’s growing your following. So how do you get more people following you? How do you get more people liking your stuff? And I think that’s an interesting one, and I think that varies quite dramatically platform to platform. So we’re going to go into it, I think, probably more detail. We talk about the individual platform, but I think what is important is the awareness of that. You probably need to do more than just post to get people to engage with you. Like on LinkedIn, you can send invites out to people and we can go about best ways of doing that, but that means you’re reaching out to more people. More people are seeing your post, more people are engaging with you. So that reaching out. And the individual messaging, all the social have the apps for individual messaging. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, all have individual messaging. And I think that’s part of the whole package. It’s not just a case of publicly posting, it’s a case of also having those individual conversations. Certainly on LinkedIn, I use that a huge amount. Those individual conversations are really powerful.

Marcus: If I may have summarized this, Sam, there’s three things I think that we talked about. One is consistency and how to be consistent. Two is find the right platform that’s going to work with you, work for you. And three is the importance of engaging with others.

Sam: That’s it. Excellent. Perfect. Marcus and I believe you have some news for the day for us.

Marcus: What caught my eye this week is an article again on PETA Pixel, my favorite new photography news site. And there’s an auction coming up for really famous photographs and just going through the list of people involved in this, Dorothy Lands, Richard Avidon, et cetera, et cetera. And they’ve got guide prices for some of the photographs and it’s quite showing. Photography can be quite expensive. For example, we’ve got Richard Avidon prints going for estimated $200,000.

Sam: Wow, that’s quite a lot. How much is that to him? And how much is this? People who have them selling them.

Marcus: Well, I mean that’s the photography market. Who knows what goes on behind the scenes. A lot of it goes to the gallery, probably about 40% for start. But of course these aren’t just one offs, these are prints, these are print runs as well. But nevertheless, though 200,000 pounds, these are really famous photographs. The ones by Avedon are from his book, American Weapon. Any photographer would recognize these being as part of the really canon of important photography, but anyhow, that’s what’s caught my eye. There’s a massive auction going on in New York at this very moment and it’s got some fantastic photographs in there. So probably worth going along and have looking online, which you can do.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. Right, thank you for that Marcus, and it’s been great talking to you about social today.

Marcus: Thank you Sam,

Sam:  see you next week.