This post is part of a series on branding and marketing in the run up to my teaching on the RPS ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’ course in April.
It is preceded by Developing your brand – Part 1: your values and messages; Part 2: your brand’s identity and strategy and Developing your marketing strategy – Part 1: Your website
An effective way of getting people to hear about your business and see your work is through sharing your images, and creating opportunities for others to share them via blogging and social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram etc).
A blog allows you to publish individual pieces (‘posts’) on events or projects regularly, and to showcase your most recent work. This gives you the opportunity to connect with your potential ideal clients through the story you tell, and allows your current clients to share your work. If you emphasise your brand messages clearly in your posts, it can be a powerful way of connecting with the people you want to work with. Remember, while blogs give you the opportunity to share more of your work than you might present in your website portfolio, it’s best to show only your best work and the work you would want to shoot again.
To attract and keep regular readers, you’ll need useful and interesting content. Decide on a clear focus for your blog, whether is it sharing the work you produce, sharing stories to connect with your ideal clients, or sharing insight into your industry. Remember, simplicity and clarity in association with your brand messages will put you in the best position.
Creating outward links to venues, locations and collaborators within a post will encourage others to link back to your blog, and this network of outgoing and incoming links will help you rise higher in search results.
A successful blog requires regular, consistent posting so it’s best to have a clear strategy: plan for how often you will post and the content you will share. You can create posts in advance and schedule them to go up on a particular day of the week at a specified time.
b) Social Media
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, and social media is a free way of getting your brand message out in to the global marketplace. Key social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, with Instagram and Pinterest becoming increasingly important for photographers. Create accounts and business pages on these key platforms, and enable share buttons for these platforms on your website and blog. The aim is to get the conversation going with your ideal clients and industry peers on many different platforms. This will ensure you reach as wide an audience as possible.
Do simplify your approach to social media. Be clear on who you want to talk to and the best way to reach your ideal clients. Who you are and what your brand is will inform what type of images you share and how you interact on social media. This extends from to the captions you give your images and the tone of what you say.
How you interact and what you share on social media will reflect directly on your business. While it can be good to share some personal images and stories on social media to allow your ideal clients to connect with you, make sure that the quality and message of your images align with your brand identity, and always step away when you are feeling negative.
Do think about using different platforms for connecting with different groups: Facebook is a good way of connecting with your existing clients and creating word of mouth referrals through tagging your clients in your images; Twitter is useful for connecting with others in your industry.
Remember there are lots of timesaving applications to help you pre-schedule social media sharing on multiple platforms or post from one social media platform to another, but do tailor what you post where to the audience you are trying to engage with on each platform.
To learn more about how to set up and run a successful photography business, why not sign up for the RPS course ‘Introduction to Business for Photographers’