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Photographers guide to all things web – Part 4

Everything has been leading up to this post. It’s something everyone knows they have to do but a lot aren’t sure on how to do it right. Basically if you’ve read through the last three posts and are still unsure here is a really quick run down of what not to do:

  • Have a site built entirely out of flash
  • Have music on your site
  • Use blogger
  • Use free domains when you could use your own for free
  • Stuff up your branding by having multiple designs

If you can start with those 5 things then you should be on track.

Part 4 – Social things like Twitter & Facebook

Probably the most important rule in social networking needs to be taken from the name “SOCIAL”. You won’t have any success if you don’t engage in the social sphere. Oh and that doesn’t mean just posting links to your blog or website every 10 to 15 minutes that sort of spam activity doesn’t really get you very far. There are a few reasons why photographers are using social networks. The main two are connecting with other photographers and generating business leads.

What social networks should I be on?

Chances are you are already on a few of them. Let’s see ModelMayhem, Facebook and Twitter seem to be the most used so we’ll stick to them. ModelMayhem is great but how many of you have ever actually gotten any paid shoots out of it? If your looking to build a portfolio or just starting out then it’s a great place to get some TF shoots happening and quite quickly however don’t spend enormous amounts of time networking on there in the hope of getting some paid sessions. Whenever I think of ModelMayhem I always seem to picture this video which unfortunately can be very close to ModelMayhem experience.

Setting goals and measure results?

Unfortunately although very lucrative and rewarding social networking is time consuming so it’s very important that you set goals for yourself and find away to measure the results. The goals can be as simple as increase blog views or as complicated as paid assignments.

The best way to measure a results is by knowing what your goal is  (this also refers to your blogging efforts and target market). Once you have that worked out you need to monitor it. It doesn’t take to long to work out what techniques are working and what aren’t, but you need to make sure your setup with analytics software and of course most importantly ask your clients where they heard about you from. Some minor monitoring will help make sure your time isn’t wasted.

The Twitter nitty gritty

Ok you’ve heard about it, you should already know you have 140 characters and thats it. Twitter is probably the fastest way to start networking with other photographers, but there are a few things you need to think about before you start tweeting.

First up remember the word “SOCIAL”, it’s not all about you and the latest shoot you’ve done (it is a little), but don’t force it down peoples necks. If you want people to care about what you tweet you need to converse with them, but don’t just come out of the blue and say “hi”, it’s a bit weird. Look for a tweet that you can reply to or a blog post, just something that says to them that you are interested in what they say. This works with the big boys and it works really well with the littler guys as well. Everyone on twitter want’s to be listened too.

Since starting @tristanjud only a few months ago (I know it’s been up for awhile but I never really used it), I was lucky enough to understand something very important. The amount of followers you have will grow if your useful. If someone follows you, you don’t necessarily have to follow them back.  Everyday I get a handful of people following me, I don’t follow them back straight away. By the following day some people have unfollowed me, they are the people just looking to grow their followers. Pointless really! If someone takes the time to chat to you on twitter then follow them and reply. It’s slow strategy however it provides a better quality twitter network in the long run.

When it comes to tweeting it’s important to tweet a few times a day personally and then couple that with a few promotional tweets or posts or whatever.

Open up Facebook

Everyone is on facebook. However to use facebook as a business you need to setup a facebook page. Your facebook business page is, well about your business. Here you can post a lot more business related content but make sure you still converse with those who comment. Depending on the type of photography you do Facebook is your lead generation network. I am constantly getting booked through Facebook by models and fashion designers who come across the Tristan Jud Photography page.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to facebook posting. One is that you should feed your blog directly into your facebook page using RSS, and the other is that you do everything manually.  I have spent years recommending this to my web design clients that you should do it manually. Attach the link and just write a little comment, you’ll get more likes and comments by adding that personal touch.

Chances are the person or company you recently worked for is on facebook so when you post a few teaser images make sure you “tag” them. This will place you on their facebook page and suddenly you have exposed your work to more people, and some of them might drop by and like your page.

A successful facebook page only needs to be posted on a couple times a week.

Putting the two together

Facebook and Twitter although they may seem similar they are completely different and need to be treated differently to succeed. Twitter is all about building relationships and is a great tool to provide running commentary on your day. Where as facebook is more about business. Posting specials, or recent work and then communicating with the clients that comment.

There are some great ways of growing your facebook and twitter followers. Competitions are the easiest, and can bring in some great new followers so think outside the square. Oh and if your thinking you can give away a print or two and that’s going to get you followers think a bit harder. If you want to do it right think about something that will benefit your followers ie a random free shoot or something along those lines.

So thats the basics of social networking for photographers. Like always if you have more specific questions, comment or twitter me, is the way to go, I know i’ve been helping a few of you and it’s been great. Tomorrow is the final of the series and i’m going to tie it all together. See you then!

Author Tristan

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