Photographers think they have it easy when it comes to creating relevant and valuable content for social media. At any given moment, they have thousands of photos sitting on their desktops and can post their favorites one after another, and fill up their feeds with awesome image content. No story in the caption, no hashtags and no call-to-action. The photo is worth a thousand words on its own, right? What more needs to be said?
For these photographers, it’s all about leveraging their social platforms as another avenue to post a public-facing portfolio page that offers potential clients a feel for what they offer. I mean, when potential clients view their feeds and see all this wonderful work staring back at them, how can they not hire them on the spot?
Pretty simple, right?
Eh, not quite.
You see, this particular approach to social media marketing is not taking one very, very important factor into account.
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YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS ARE NOT YOUR PORTFOLIO
When you post great work with no context around the what, how and why behind creating that content and how it specifically solves your client’s pain points, you’re making it all about you.
Stop doing that immediately because it’s hurting your business and brand. When you do that, you’re seen simply as a commodity whose value is based solely on your portfolio and price tag.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, am I not a commodity? Do I not want to be considered for a gig based on the cost of the work I create?” If you’re seen as a commodity, a hired gun, a means to an end, your potential clients will always see the interactions between you and them only in a transactional light. A relationship built on transaction does equate to paychecks in the short-term that helps you keep the lights on, sure, but, the value of that relationship is severely limited.
It’s limited to only when they need you.
But, when you nurture and develop relationships with potential clients in your audience that’s built on connection, rapport and trust based on the valuable content that you share, you’re seen in a completely different light. You no longer will be seen just as an on-call, skilled worker with a camera in your hand. You’re now a colleague who is building a community of advocates, referral partners and potential clients that you communicate with on a consistent basis. You’re building a powerful network that helps you create a memorable and referable photography business.
WHAT DO I SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Since the goal of your online presence is to create rapport and trust with those you serve, it’s important that you share content that informs, entertains and inspires. You achieve this by sharing stories that illustrate and highlight your photographic expertise, your life as a business owner, and life as a human being on the Earth.
When you share content that touches on these aspects of your life, you become relatable and valuable to those you serve because you’re not only imparting insight into how image content can help solve specific issues for their businesses, but you’re also presenting that expertise in a way that gives them an indication of who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.
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You’re letting them in, and people want to do business with those with whom they feel connected. Over time, that relatability and value that you share uniquely positions you as the go-to authority in your photographic space of expertise. And, when you’re seen as the authority, you can set premium rates for your services and attract a higher level of clientele who is less concerned about your rates and more concerned about when you’re available to set up a photo session with them.
Hmmm, charge more and work with better clients? Not a bad deal, wouldn’t you say?
THE JUICE IS WORTH THE SQUEEZE
Is leveraging social media to create a profitable photography business a short-term game? Absolutely not, and whoever says otherwise is lying right to your face, so don’t listen to them! Nurturing your audience with valuable content that speaks directly to them and their challenges takes time and commitment on your part.
Learning how to share that information through your own voice takes even longer. And, the lack of results at the beginning is frustrating and confounding, to say the least.
In the end, you’re building a sustainable photography brand that is memorable and referable. Anything worth building takes time, especially when it will ultimately make you money. Keep all of this in mind the next time that you feel the urge to pull out your phone and hastily post a photo you took earlier that day with no story or context included…and make sure to slap the phone out of your hand before you hit the “post” button!