The idea of social media can feel overwhelming. Especially if you're still in the early days of your business, it can feel intimidating to jump in, just the idea of how much of a time-suck social media can be, is enough to give anyone some pause. Some of that overwhelm can also be chalked up to not being entirely comfortable with the idea of self-promotion, and the way social media can often feel like a lot of noise with no focus.
In order to get the most out of it, you should simplify your approach and focus on what it is you want to use social media for. The feeling of chaotic noise comes when you dip in and out of social media, or follow a lot of people who are not targeting their communication to you. You want to be talking specifically to your clients and figure out which avenues might reach them the best.
1. Don't spread yourself too thin
You don't need to be on all of the different platforms. The worst approach would be to be on everything, but not really systematically updating anything. As a photographer or an artist, I would say Instagram, and its wildly growing reach and engagement is the best social platform for communicating to new prospective clients in a visual way. A Facebook business page is crucial in reaching those who are already your clients, so you should view it as way sharing completed work with your clients so they can tag themselves and thus create the modern equivalent of word of mouth for you. Twitter, to me at least, is more about connecting with your peers. A lot of networking between different suppliers happens via Twitter, new connections get forged and the relationships with those you love to work with and recommend get fortified.
2. Create your own content
The reason why social media works so well for photographers and artists is that we already have that content, our work. But there are always ways for making what you share more engaging. For example, when sharing an image from a photo shoot on Instagram, add a testimonial from the clients in the caption, or perhaps a little story about what happened at the time taking it. Anything that makes prospective clients able to identify with the story of the image, and have an emotional connection to what you share, is much more engaging than just showing pretty pictures of strangers.
3. Piggyback some of your content
If you are posting an image on Instagram which will be of interest to your other social networks as well, share your update to those at the same time. You can do this directly from Instagram, or by using account management services. It will save you time, and engage your different audiences all at once. Don't do this with ALL of your updates, though, you should add some posts that are directly meant for the audience of that particular channel in the mix, too.
4. Be clever about it
5. Keep your brand's visual identity in mind
It's ok to post personal images and updates in between promoting your work. Your clients will generally love a peek into your real life and these updates add a lot of value to your social channels (but don't go overboard with ‘your story', remember that your business should be about inspiring your clients' story), but always keep your brand in mind and make sure the visual aesthetic of what you post stays cohesive. This is especially important for us photographers, we should always be aware of how every image we share, no matter whether an iPhone snapshot or a picture from a client's session, advertises our skills, vision and taste.
6. Step away from social media when you're having a bad day
You don't need to be a constant cheerleader, but try not to bring any temporary negative thoughts into your social media. You'll most likely regret it later.
7. Don't ignore your own site.
One of the things to keep in mind is that your own site is the only place where you can be sure your content is safe for the future. All the different social platforms could disappear (it's feasible!), and if you haven't kept your website and blog as your main channel, you could end up with no content and a lot of wasted hours. It's a good idea to make blog posts out of any Facebook conversations that have been engaging to your clients or to publish selected Instagram images on your blog, like we do with the Her Lovely Heart Instaquotes. That way you know that all that content creation will never go to waste.
Anything to add? Do add to this list in the comments below!