Thursday, March 10, 2011
"Plugging In" to social media is vital to our photo business, but how do we do it effectively?
Plugged In, Linked In, Tweeting…and A Little Lost
I have plugged in. I twitter, I’m Linked In, I’m working hard on SEO…and I am a little lost. It is Facebook that really has me flummoxed! Facebook is so big, so pervasive and so, what, imminent…that I feel it must be vital to my goal of utilizing the Internet to advance my photography career and insure an adequate and continuing income stream. But how the heck do I take advantage of it?
Facebook, Building Community, and Clients
The bits and pieces are starting to come together. I can see how Facebook can work for a wedding photographer. One thing that really makes sense to me is the idea of putting wedding images online and tagging the people in the images. Suddenly your work is in front of everyone who attended the wedding (and who is active in Facebook). Cool! But, I don’t shoot weddings. I can see how Facebook can work in reinforcing and keeping your “brand” fresh by building a community that includes clients, but assignments aren’t my thing anymore. For stock photographers, however, the usefulness is still eluding me.
A Fan Page For Funny Animal Pictures
Since I not only shoot stock, but also create my Animal Antics humorous animal pictures, images that are available as retail items in the form of greeting cards, coffee mugs, calendars and such, perhaps a fan page and growing a Facebook community might be in order. OK, I have started a fan page for the funny animal photos. Not to complain, ah well, actually I am complaining…another thing I have to keep track of and contribute to! I have only had the fan page up a couple of weeks and I am already getting confused as to what images I have put on my blog versus on my Facebook page or fan page or whatever.
Information and Action
I have started going over Photoshelter’s Social Media guide…which seems really good. But it is going to take me a while to really absorb the information and translate it into action. In the meantime, I will keep dipping my toe in the Facebook waters, checking in on friends (though I feel like I am always getting to the “party” a tad late), uploading images when the stars align properly, and working at integrating my “social media” efforts.
Cold Calls, Taxes, Egos and Social Media
I would love to be able to just ignore Facebook. Heck, I would love to just worry about making images. But part of making a living at photography is dealing with all kinds of things that we don’t really want to deal with. When I first started thirty years ago it was dealing with cold calls. Over the years it has meant investing in portfolios, source book ads, attending art director events, setting up a studio(s), executing the visions of others, dealing with cash flow issues, deadbeats, paying bills, dealing with taxes, dealing with egos (mine as well as others) and so forth. Now I believe it also means dealing with the Internet, Social Media, and SEO.
Irons In The Fire And The Most Important Thing
At any rate, I won’t pull the plug on my Internet activities. I’ll keep learning what I can, keeping all my irons in the fire, and trying not to lose sight of the fact that the most important thing I can do is to continue to stretch myself in creating the very best images I can.