Odds are, the last time you spoke with a fellow photographer, it came up. Not photography itself, business finances or gear, but marketing—social-media marketing, to be specific. Whether you call it by this term or not, it’s what you were discussing, and it more than likely centered around the topics of using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or a blog. Elements of your discussion that might sound familiar include the following: “How many followers do you have?” “How often are you posting updates?” “What do you share?” “Can you believe X has Y number of followers?” “Is it even worth using X site?” In many ways, social-media marketing is a big mystery to most photographers, and for some, it’s downright unnerving.
What Marketing Is All About
Social-media marketing is simply the latest flavor of traditional marketing. Before we get too sucked into the “social-media” aspect of marketing, it’s important to remind ourselves what marketing is all about. Once we have a handle on that, the “social” portion of marketing will seem much less overwhelming or mysterious.
The American Marketing Association Board of Directors defines marketing as: “…the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
The core terms within this definition to burn into your memory are communicating, value and customers. When we conduct marketing, we want to communicate value to our customers in an effort to secure their business. Traditional marketing for photographers most often centers around letters, postcards, ads, phone calls, etc., to grab the attention of a prospective client. If you’re lucky, the clients you find will, in turn, recommend you to their friends, and your clients will develop into an extension of your marketing efforts.
Social-media marketing is all about this later stage of traditional marketing and amplifying it. Social-media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ excel in facilitating the spread of recommendations and/or testimonials about a person, a business, cool projects, great photos and so on.
Social Media: First Steps
Social media sounds great, right? I’m sure you’ve heard several “experts” tell you how great social media is, but then you’re left flat with no specifics of how to make use of it. To start, you should consult the best marketing consultant on the planet: You. Yes, you’re the first marketing consultant to meet with. You should ask yourself the following questions before you start down the path of developing a social-media marketing strategy:
1. Who is my audience?
2. Who am I?
3. What will I broadcast about myself to the world?
4. What goals do I want to accomplish?
5. How will I achieve my goals?