The Benefits of Leveraging Social Media

September 12, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

PhotographyTalk.com has quickly grown to become a prime resource for all photographers - beginners, intermediates, and seasoned professionals. As a photography forum, they provide a place to communicate with fellow enthusiasts at the same ability level or with the same interest in a specific type of photography and help each other advance your skills and improve your photography. New articles and photos are added everyday, so you have access to hundreds of photography-related articles as well as extensive galleries of work from photographers of all genres and levels. We are fortunate to have PhotographyTalk share a few tips with us on how to utilize social media to help develop your photography further.

The Benefits of Leveraging Social Media

Social media is already having an enormous impact on the world and its peoples, breaking barriers of geography, culture and prejudice. Digital photography has contributed greatly to making connections between people that didn’t previously exist because photography is a universal language that speaks to everyone, regardless of background, education or position in the world. Whether you’re a beginner, serious enthusiast or a seasoned professional, sharing your photography via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. is giving anyone that views your work a peek inside your world and how you perceive the places you live, work, play and travel. It’s often a much better statement about you than any words could describe.
 
For the amateur photographer, the benefit of social media is to know you’re not alone in your pursuit to improve your skills and results. It’s an opportunity to find like-minded people who share your photographic interests, vision and level of experience. You might say social media is like a therapy session where you are apt to learn as much, if not more, about yourself than others. It’s also a classroom where there is usually someone that knows a bit more than you do and has a bit more experience. Because he or she has chosen to be social, he or she is more likely to be willing to share the additional knowledge you don’t have that will allow you to take the next step forward as a photographer.
 

Social media is also a leveraging tool for the amateur with a goal to become a professional. Not only do you have much more to learn, but also you need as much feedback as possible about the quality of your photos and, maybe more importantly, their commercial value in the real-world marketplace. Only through social media can you expect to obtain a broad range of reviews and criticism of your work. Social media will also be the primary method to find the right mentor for counsel and advice about how to become, act and succeed as a professional.
 
For the semi-professional or professional, social media can be leveraged for marketing purposes, much the same as any large or small business. It can be particularly beneficial for marketing a new or established photography business. Traditional media is too expensive and widely dispersed, while social media, when used correctly, can be very targeted and costs very little compared to a newspaper ad, TV spot or even printed marketing materials. To be competitive, a professional must provide customers with a Web site to view the proofs of their photo shoots, and even order prints. Successful pros take it one step further by using social media to start and maintain a dialogue with customers and prospective customers to generate new and repeat business, to ask and obtain testimonials and referrals and to keep everyone informed of new products, services and capabilities.
 
Consider the following ideas and tips to help you leverage social media and receive its many benefits.
 
1. Choose the Right Site or Sites.
 
All social media sites may have the same common goal of bringing people together, but Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. work slightly differently and affect participants differently too. As an amateur, Facebook may be a good choice to reach a general audience; but if you want more of an exclusive photography crowd, then PhotographyTalk.com or similar sites may be a better, or additional, choice. For professionals, it may be necessary to use all the major social media sites because customers or potential customers aren’t all on Facebook or Google+, exclusively. You must be able to communicate with your particular niche in the marketplace wherever they may be or go.
 
2. Be Active.
 
You won’t achieve much, whether you have amateur or professional goals, if you’re not an active social media participant. Make social media a regular part of your schedule, especially if you’re a professional. Nothing’s worse than starting a dialogue with people, customers and prospects, in particular, and then not continuing it. Professional photographers should book time weekly or throughout the week for social media tasks. It might help to think of this time as the marketing portion of your business schedule, which would be necessary even if social media didn’t exist.
 
3. Be Professional.
 
Professional photographers must learn how to use social media as a professional tool, not just the casual communications of amateurs who share their pictures with family members and friends. This doesn’t mean the professional must be formal and refer to himself or herself in the third person. The friendly environment of social media is definitely an advantage for the professional, but the reasons to connect with people must be driven by business requirements, not just off-handed messages that serve no commercial purpose.
 
4. Be Aware of New Social Media Opportunities.
 
The online world is ever changing, never stagnant; so it’s vital to remain as current as possible about the expansion and evolution of social media. What seems to attract everyone today could change dramatically during a short period of time. For example, Google launched Google+ during summer 2011, and many photographers are already touting a number of advantages of Google+ over Facebook.

5. Visit PhotographyTalk.com to Learn More.
 
Read these PhotographyTalk.com articles for more detailed information about how to leverage social media.
 
Digital Photography—12 Tips for Using Facebook to Grow Your Photography Business
Photography Tip—How To Use Twitter To Market Your Photos and Services, Part 1 and Part 2
Photography Tip—How to Take Advantage of Google+, Part 1 and Part 2


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