Complaining on Social Media

I was having a discussion on Facebook a while ago, on the topic of the negative effects of “complaining” on social media pages for photography businesses. Specifically, in regards to the dramas of the photo industry world. The topic was specifically about a certain “rock star” photographer and how this photographer was plagiarizing others. One photographer made a comment about how she agrees with people, but the massive bad mouthing that photographers were doing on their Facebook pages, shouldn’t be there and I agree.

While I understand that we tend to vent on social media, your “business name” on social media outlets is not the place for it. I further went on to make the statement that a vast majority of clients do not care about anything industry related so neither positive nor negative “stuff” have a place on your business’ social media page.

Some examples of what probably shouldn’t be posted:

  • Complaining about ANYTHING
  • Industry related anything
  • Super geeky and “techy” photography stuff
  • Conventions or events you are attending or have attended
  • Stuff between you and other vendors, that does not directly relate to clients
  • Plain old personal stuff that doesn’t relate to your biz or clients
  • Awards you won
  • Education
  • Random photog GTG’s or networking events

This ruffled more than a couple of feathers, however, I very much stand steadfast in my statement. I think most will agree that there are better ideas, in lieu of posting negative “stuff” to social media. However, I would venture a guess that most disagree in my statement that even positive “stuff” should be left off. I hope to un-ruffle some feathers by the end of this article, so keep reading…

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Clients Care About Images And Not Education

Some in that same thread said that posting conferences that they go to, or workshops attended, or continuing education they are taking, or a number of many different learning opportunities they have taken part in, should absolutely be plastered on one’s social media. They pointed to the reason for doing so, as it shows they are continuing their education and their clients find that very important.

I make the assertion, that, in fact, a majority of clients don’t even know what any of it means and thus do not really care about it. For all they know, you could be making it up. There is really no way for clients to confirm the legitimacy of it and treat it accordingly. I made a very bold statement that goes against the grain of the industry as a whole and that is: at the very core, all clients care about is price, the work you produce and a dash of your personality (in that exact order). Everything else is pretty much of no real concern to clients, including anything industry related. It is why I stand by the belief that unless it is absolutely relevant to your clients or potential clients, it should be omitted. This would include, but not limited to: images, sales, bookings, etc…industry related talk does not fit into that category.

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[REWIND: 5 Must Have Items When Attending Photography Workshops & Seminars]

Why I Think That ALL Industry Related Stuff Should Be Left Off

Most will argue that there is no harm in posting a workshop you attended or a class you took. At face value, that does seem to be a very valid point. However, I don’t see anything beneficial coming from it. If nothing beneficial will come from it, it should not be mentioned.  You run the risk of just cluttering up your social media. With the Internet having such a vast expanse of information, very niche and deeply relevant information is what get people’s attention. Anything irrelevant is just cluttering up their “feed” and ultimately your message to them.

Our goal with our social media presence is having people pay attention to what we are “saying.” The only thing people pay attention too, is what pertains to them, everything else gets glossed over and skipped. After a while, that becomes the routine and anything that is pertinent to your customer will get skipped over. This includes positive and negative photography industry related information.

It is not their fault, it has been a learned response from all the crap that is thrown at consumers every single day. We begin to train ourselves that certain things show us relevant information and pay attention to it. However, if those same trusted sources begin to post irrelevant information, we begin to skip over it, until we finally just stop paying attention all together. This is the risk that you run when you post anything that clients can not relate to. As much as we don’t want to admit it, most clients can not relate to industry centric information.

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Negative Talk Should Cease to Exist

Furthermore, posting negative stuff, which is not understood by your clients, comes across as whiny and just in poor taste. One would think that I would not have to mention this. However, on a daily basis, I see photographers complaining or engaging in the industry gossip. It’s actually a very interesting double standard.

We have all had jobs where we complain about them or people. It is very natural by allowing it to release pent up frustration. One would think overhearing it would be perfectly understandable. However, that is rarely the case and always comes across in a negative manner. I understand why it happens, most of us as photographers lead fairly lonesome “work” lives and consequently have no one to interact with. Social media is an outlet for us to interact with other photographers, who understand where we are coming from.

The problem is that clients get caught in the cross-hairs and it doesn’t bode well for your business and its image. There are so many outlets for photographers that are private and clients will never see. Find these places and utilize those for this sort of interaction, without tarnishing your business’ image.

There is one caveat to my belief and that is, education/experience information, absolutely belongs on your website in its own section. This can also, include any sort of bio sections on any social media outlets. That is proper place for it, it is where clients seek out that information. It is tucked away in a nice neat place and they get to see it on their terms…it is not constantly put in front of them involuntarily. It goes from being irrelevant clutter to appreciated information.

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With all of that said and before you go, here are some great things that should absolutely be posted:

  • Of course your work – keep it fresh and as constant as possible
  • Specials you are offering
  • Important dates (i.e. when is the last day to order prints for the holidays)
  • If you are starting to fill up and only have so many days left in your calendar
  • If you have moved to a new location
  • Re-shares of any of the vendors you’ve worked with
  • Positive words from clients or vendors (It would be very advantageous to include a photo or two that is directly related to the comment. – i.e. a photo of the person(s) who said those kind words, a photo of the vendor’s goods, etc.)
  • Share and tag vendors products you took photos of
  • If you will be any sort of show (art gallery, bridal show, etc.) with dates & times
  • Any contest you are running

I understand that some will disagree with me and still believe that anything related to you becoming a better photographer should be posted. If you are in this camp, think about tweaking it a bit from just a post or some text…make it relate to your clients.

  • Show your favorite 3 or 4 images you took from that workshop
  • If you found a new product you will start using, show a picture of it and say how your clients will benefit
  • If you just have to brag about a new lens you got, because it will allow you offer some amazing style of images, use it on the next shoot and what that actually looks like
  • When you pick up the SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets V6 , don’t just talk about it, show a before and after picture of it in use

Conclusion

Please do not mistake this for me telling you not to improve your craft. Improving your craft is what is going to keep you booking jobs, furthering your business and being more and more successful. I’m merely suggesting to keep it private and only on a non-client facing mediums. Keeping your business’ social media free of industry related “stuff,” positive or negative…allows for the best chance to keep people engaged and paying attention to what will convince them to hire you.

What do you think? I know some of you would disagree. Leave a comment and let’s discuss.