When you read that word do you get all excited to read about it or do you feel your heart beating faster and a little anxiety coming on? Whichever way you feel about marketing, it’s something that you need to be proficient in and do well.
When I started my business almost 6 years ago, Facebook was at its peak. I could go out and do a session, come home and post a couple of photos on Facebook, tag the clients and the next day I would have 9 new fans. This would happen every time I did a session. The more friends someone had, the more new fans I would gain. Mini session weekends were amazing! 20-30 new fans from those weekends and when I would do my next mini session weekend at least 3-4 of those new fans would book a session. The best part? I didn’t have to pay for any of it. Facebook and word of mouth were my advertising.
That worked really well until Facebook started changing its algorithm. If you’re a photographer with a fanpage, you know exactly where I’m going with this! Posts don’t get nearly as much reach as they used to. I will post a photo, tag the client and it will be seen by 87 people. And that’s during what Facebook tells me is the busiest time people are on Facebook.
If you’re just waiting for Facebook to bring you new fans or expecting that tagging people is going to do the trick, you need to think again. It’s a different time than it was 6 years ago. Gone are the days of just tagging people and getting recognized. Now you have to tag, hashtag, tell a story, tweet, blog it, send a newsletter and pin it. Social media has changed by leaps and bounds. There are now more platforms for sharing images and getting your business noticed by other people. And who has time for all of that! I know I don’t. So here’s the trick to it all. Know who your clients are and how to find them. Are your ideal clients on Snapchat? Are they likely to see your pins on Pinterest?
Here is a list of the most popular ways for your clients to see your work, besides Facebook. You don't HAVE to be on every platform—find the ones that work for you and rock those! (You'll see that they aren't all for me!)
Where to Be Now!
Right now, this is probably the best way to market yourself for free. You’re able to post pictures that you love and tag other people in them which enables them to repost your pictures. You’re also able to hashtag people, your city, your business and other words that you think people will use to try and find a photographer in your area. Instagram is ideal for finding those needing a photographer to do newborns, seniors, families and brides.
Who doesn’t love Pinterest? I rarely read a magazine anymore because the real reason I loved them so much I can now find on Pinterest! It’s great to post your images from blog posts onto Pinterest and also let those who view your blog posts have that option. I feel like seeing someone’s work on Pinterest gives them a little bit more credibility. That may not true, but that’s the perceived value. Pinterest is ideal for finding those needing a photographer to do newborns, families and brides.
This is a great platform for seniors and younger. If this is your market and the only market that you really photograph, you should consider being on Snapchat. You can post images and keep a running story, which appeals to seniors and the older teen market.
I understand the concept, but for someone like me who talks a lot, being limited to a certain amount of words doesn’t really work. I’ve set up an account 3 times and have never actually sent out a tweet. But if you are someone who wants to get news out fast, this is a great platform.
It works especially well with seniors and younger brides. This generation wants information and they want it now. After an In Person Ordering Session, a lot of my senior clients will ask me to send them a couple of the digital files if they purchased them so that they can tweet the images. That works out great for me because immediately, all their friends are going to see the image. Now, If I tweeted as well, it would be even better because then I could retweet it!
I have noticed that when I blog a session and post the link on Facebook, it gets the most interaction from my fans. People love clicking on a link and seeing an entire session blogged rather than just seeing one photo. An entire session gives them a true look at who you are as a photographer and if you would be a good fit for them.
Blogging also helps you rank higher in Google if you are adding any SEO keywords and no JUST images. Just the right title for your blog post alone will help you rate higher. So when someone is looking for a family photographer in your area, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in their internet search if you include Dallas, TX Family Photographer in your blog post title. Blogging is a win for everyone. Any type of client can hire you based off of blogging and that translates to a win for you.
This one is going to be my personal goal for the year. To get a newsletter up and out to my fans on Facebook and clients that I email is a big priority right now. 87 people reached in a Facebook post isn’t good enough. I want everyone that follows my page to know what I have going on. I want every past client to know when I’m doing something special, when I have a sale and what’s new. They invested in me because they saw something they liked.
I can’t send them each a personal note every few months, but I can certainly set up a database of emails, put information together that will result in more income for me (that’s motivation enough!) and get that out to them all at the same time. Chances are your senior market won’t read the email, but everyone else will. Their parents will and since they’re the ones that spend the money, it’s okay to leave out the kids on this one.
Word of Mouth
Now, there is one more form of marketing that we haven’t touched on yet. Word of mouth. This isn’t technically social media, but it certainly is social. It is the cheapest form of marketing you will ever have and the most effective at bringing you clients. Clients will either have great things to say about you or they won’t. Clients hold all the cards here, so make sure you treat them well. Be respectful, deliver what they paid for, be considerate of their time, get them to trust you and be the best at what you do. Whatever it is you do, be amazing at it.
Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California. Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children. When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.