Is social media marketing for your photography business getting overwhelming? Here’s our guide to social media marketing success!

Social media marketing is a whole new world for many of us photographers and new business owners. Just because we love to take pictures does NOT mean we love social media, understand it, or even want to use it.  You’re not alone, friends. We’re here at Cole’s Classroom to make things a little easier to understand and tackle as photographer. Taking on the world of social media takes time, but it IS possible to get a better understanding. So grab your coffee, a seat, and read our guide to using social media marketing to your full advantage!

social media marketing

Facebook

Facebook has recently changed its’ algorithms AGAIN. Recently, Mark Zukerberg decided that he wanted people to see more meaningful posts on Facebook, rather than advertisements and randomness.  While this may be great for your personal life, it means that people are probably seeing less of your social media presence lately.  There are options for paid advertisements, but those can get pricey, and the consensus is that you need to spend a pretty penny to get your money back in business. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to post anymore! While you probably won’t be getting more traffic in the coming years, Facebook is still a great way for people to see your work AND get in touch (since most people will opt for this method rather than sending an email through your contact page).  Think of it as a portfolio that varies in look and feel from your website.

Don’t have a website yet? Here are a few resources for starting a website and the essentials it must include!

Instagram

So if you don’t already know, Facebook actually bought Instagram, so much of the strategy is the same. Instagram also allows for a business page. Here’s a little inside tip, strictly from personal experience. When my IG name included “photography,” and was set to a “business” account, my likes and followers were few and far between.  I changed back to a regular account and my visibility increased a LOT. People are not as interested in being sold to, and would prefer to connect with real people over businesses.

When to post?

So this is the big question that plagues most of us struggling with social media.  While there are definitely preferred times, you’ll need to simply pay attention (and maybe note down) when you’re getting the most social media engagement.

social media marketing

Best times on Facebook:

  • Days: Sundays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Time: 9am, 1pm, 3pm

Best times on Instagram:

  • Days: All week, with less reported engagement on Sundays
  • Times: 8-9am, 5pm

Apparently it’s pretty safe to post anything from 9am to 3pm on either site, as there are many people engaged during the day.  Avoid posting extremely early in the morning and really late at night.

What to post?

Anything and everything. Seriously, branch out from the standard social media posts and get creative! People want to connect with YOU and will also connect with your work as a result. You can mix your regular business posts with other topics that are of interest.  The options are limitless! When people get to know the REAL you, they’ll be far more likely to trust you to take their photos. Many of us aren’t working every day or maybe only have one session a month, and that’s ok! We can post other things, so try and take your camera to different places and events.

social media

Some ideas:

  • Facts about you, the artist. Maybe a top ten list!
  • The story of your relationship with your spouse.
  • A funny story about your kids.
  • Your favorite places to travel and why.
  • Blooper pics (everyone loves those)!
  • Things you’ve learned or experienced because of photography.
  • Your “why.” Why you do this work and want to share it with the world?
  • What inspires you.
  • Your bucket list.
  • Techniques that are unique to your photography or why you’re drawn to a particular style.
  • What you love about your clients.
  • Your dreams for the future.

Posting consistently.

It’s really important that you keep momentum on social media.  A few things you can do to keep the flow going is creating a monthly calendar of postings, that you can actually schedule! That means you literally only have to spend a few hours planning your posts (while you’re in the groove), rather than trying to sit down and post daily.  There are apps that allow you to do this on both Facebook and Instagram. You can physically write your posts on a calendar as well.  Maybe your goal is to post 4-5 days a week.  You can map out your week by choosing the day and the topic! These can change weekly, or you can keep the same theme running for the entire year! This is where you get to use your creativity!

For example:

  • Monday: Tell your followers about why you love what you do. Give an example!
  • Tuesday: Share a photo from your city/town and give a fun fact!
  • Wednesday: Personal post about you! Describe something about yourself, what you love, a hobby, etc.
  • Thursday: Client post with a funny story about your session.
  • Friday: A post about something you’re thankful for.
  • Saturday: A detail shot and why you love it.
  • Sunday: Tell us what inspires you!

Cool it with the quotes.

Ok, I realize I may have just upset a few of you. I know, I love inspirational quotes just as much as the next person, but mainly because I relate to them. Most often, your clients won’t.  A simple quote about love is sweet, but it will unfortunately blend in with the rest of the MILLIONS of quote posts that are made daily by people all over the world. There’s nothing unique to YOU to set you apart. That’s the thing here, there’s only ONE of you. One individual with your artistic eye, personality, insight, ideas and value. You have something to give the world that no one else can…so give it to us!!!

social media marketing for photographers

If you want to post quotes, trying throwing them in a blog post while telling a story about your session.  It will achieve your sentiment about the photos, while still allowing your clients to learn about you and your style of photography!

Be vulnerable!

I’m not asking you to unload your inner most secrets, although those are usually a huge hit.  Try posting something about yourself that people may not know about you.  People crave connection and commonality among others, so use it to your advantage.  Maybe you’re struggling with something personally, and you think you can help others! I don’t know about you, but those things make life that much more meaningful.  Try it out and see what happens to your level of engagement. I can almost guarantee that you will notice a difference!

Tell a story.

This relates back to being vulnerable! I know most of you reading this aren’t professional writers, and you don’t have to be.  If a photo sparks a memory in you, tell a story! Describe why it’s meaningful or why the thought of it makes you pee in your pants laughing. Clients are much more likely to contact you for work if they feel like they already know you and that you’re a normal person! We want to establish trust with the people we work with, and this is one of the best ways to do that. It’s important to them because they are letting us into their world!

Tips for connecting to potential clients.

Use social media marketing to your full advantage. Yes, friends, that also includes #hashtags. I used to be on the judgy train too, I get it. I didn’t see the point, didn’t understand and thought hashtags were for the new, young/hip generation.  Well, there’s a method to all the madness. Hashtags actually group similar photos in one group. When someone is looking for something in their immediate area, for example, they can search #sandiegophotographer, and all those photos that have been tagged will show up. People DO actually get business this way, so don’t discount it! Make sure to hashtag phrases that normal (non-photographers) will be searching. We so often get caught up in our artistic photography bubble that we forget that regular people don’t use the same terminology.

Comment and engage with people genuinely, set up a styled shoot with local professionals, start conversations, and be yourself! People will start to notice and start talking about your services to their friends!

For more tips, check out this tutorial on attracting more photography clients.

Engaging with local businesses.

Connecting with local businesses can really boost your photography dream and get the momentum going in regards to your social media marketing! If you’re in a local spot (cafe, clothing store, restaurant, etc), start chatting with whoever is working and see where the conversation goes. More often than not, they will ask what you do and you can mention your photography business. You can also like, comment or share posts from local businesses (which will get you noticed). The best thing you can do is encourage and cheer on other locals who are in the area. They will be your best friend when it comes to recommending your photography to their customers and vice versa. Taking the time (say, 15 minutes daily) to engage with those around you will pay off in the long run. Plus, it’s always nice to send a little love around to people near you.

The old school alternatives…

Now that everyone is concerned about their visibility on social media platforms, it’s also time to consider other forms of marketing. This is where good ‘ole networking comes in. I know, you introverts in the audience are screaming inside. I’m not suggesting signing up for cheesy networking luncheons! Just tell people what you do every chance you get. Nothing crazy, and don’t try to be a salesman! If it come up in casual conversation, you can always mention that you’re a photographer and hand them a business card.  There is always SOMEONE who knows someone who wants to take family photos!

Email lists!

Email lists are also a solid go-to as they’ve always been! You can offer deals by email to your previous clients. That gives them the first crack at your discounts. You can grow your email list by doing a free give-away in exchange for their email. You just want to make sure that they are aware of what they’re are signing up for, and that you have an “unsubscribe,” option at the bottom of each email.

Ways to collect emails:

  • Through your standard inquires.
  • A paper sign up list at an event.
  • Add a “subscribe” button on your website.
  • Offer a free download of some sort, like a short photography style guide.
  • Run a giveaway for a free or discounted session and ask for an email address, like 15% off their next family session!

Start a private Facebook group.

Instead of having a regular photography business page, which now won’t get as much traffic, consider a private Facebook page for your clients. They can ask you questions, like what to wear, get location ideas, or prop advice. This is a place you can offer first dibs on new mini sessions or a discount on products you may want to offer.  Many photographers are having great success with this method, so maybe consider it!

Conclusion

While social media marketing may not be your strong suit as a photographer, it’s still a great way to gain visibility and show your work to the world. Let’s face it, we’re not going to post on social media everyday (unless that’s a personal goal of yours)! But we can lay out a plan for posting more than we are now, and that’s something to be proud of, right?! You by no means need to be an expert. Like all forms of success, you must be willing to take on new challenges and be open to new forms of communication. You never know where it will lead you, so get crackin’!