Marketers the world over are trying to find the best ways to use social media to promote business. As a photographer, the opportunity is there for you to use social media to create interest in your photography, and gain new clients and customers as a result.
Welcome to Part Five of my series on Marketing Yourself as a Photographer. In Part Five, we introduce social media as a tool that you need to be using in order to increase your online presence, and attract more people to your website. This week, we’ll take a more detailed look at social media, and offer up some ideas for ways you can use social media to drive sales.
There are several social media strategies that have become popular with marketers, and each one can be applied to your own photography business in a different way.
Contests and Giveaways
Many companies have used these types of promotions to draw interest, introduce something new, or increase the number of people that are following them online. You can use Twitter or Facebook to promote a contest where you offer up your services to one lucky person for free (or at a discount), which could lead to a growing number of interested prospects. Sure, you’ll have to give up a little to accomplish this, but it could lead to much more business down the line.
Example: If you’re a portrait photographer, have potential customers submit the worst portraits they’ve ever had taken and you’ll do a portrait of the person with the worst photos for free.
Plan on being somewhere, or doing something, that might be of interest to the people that follow you online. Use Facebook and Twitter to invite people to join you or speak with you. Companies will do this to create interest among current customers who wish to learn more about a company they like, or to get answers from a company they’re not so happy with.
Example: Going to a photo trade show? Let your followers know you’ll be there if they want to stop by and say hi.
Plenty of companies have tried to make offering exclusive discounts for social media users work. Some have succeeded, others have not been so fortunate. If you are comfortable offering discounts on your photographs or photography services, get creative. Offer 20% to the first person to answer a trivia question about your work correctly. Or offer 25% off to your 1,000th Facebook Fan. And promote that you’ll be doing this ahead of time as a way to draw interest and get more followers up front.
Question and Answer
Much like an advice column, you can ask for inquiries from your followers which you will answer in real time via Twitter or Facebook. This helps demonstrate your value in their eyes, by making you an expert on photography. Be clear about what you will and won’t answer for them, and be available to everyone who is interested. And again, promote it ahead of time to draw added attention.
No matter how you use social media, it’s important to remember why people are there: communication. Open dialogue will help you promote yourself by adding something of value to the social media realm. Share things of interest to you and people will respect you for it. And the more creative you can be with promotions, the better. Because what you really want is for your followers to share it with their followers, increasing the size of your audience and making new business that much more likely.
Next week we’ll discuss some other ways that you can share your work with the masses in order to get your name (or brand) recognized by more people.
Homework: This week’s assignment is more time consuming, but I hope you won’t let that get in the way of you taking part. Share an idea you had for using social media to promote your business with us in the comments below. If it’s something you’ve already tried, let us know how it went!