As A Photographer How Can You Use Social Media To Promote Your Business?

June 28th, 2015

SocialMediaPeter in New York recently asked:

Would you know of photographers who would share their knowledge how they use Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and those sites to promote their business. I would love a “how to & why ?”.

To answer Peter’s question my first reaction is to point at a photographer that is doing a great job of using social media to promote their business. My example is Ethan Tweetie (www.ethantweedie.com). Ethan has explicitly told me that social media is working for him. You can see for yourself by simply Googling “luxury real estate.” Where ever you are Ethan’s name will likely be on the first page towards the top of the search results. It’s clear that Ethan is doing a good job at this his recent Google+ post points out his photos are in the July 2015 Architectural Digest for the second time this year.

So I think it is possible to look at Ethan’s use of the various social media sites and see how he uses it. Here is my summary:

  1. Website is at the center of social media strategy: First of all Ethan’s website is at the very center of his social media. That is, the reason for using social media is to get traffic to your website. He has a great website with beautiful design that features his portfolios in all the areas that he works. The site also has a blog so he can put articles and stories about what he is doing. His posts on Google+ and FaceBook are concise and link to a full article on the subject on the blog part of his site. This brings traffic that is attracted to his work from the various social media sites to his site where they can see all his work.
  2. A strong portfolio – Quality Matters: He only puts the strongest images in his portfolio and then the posts those strong images on the social media sites even though the images he posting may be 5 or 6 years old. When I first noticed it took me a while to understand what he was doing. A strong image is a strong image no matter when you shot it. The point here is, that people are attracted to great images just like butterflies to bright flowers!
  3. A presence on all the major social sites: You can go to all Ethan’s social media sites from the buttons at the bottom of the front page of his site. FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Houzz, Vimeo, Linkedin.
  4. Social posts for businesses are relatively business  oriented: You don’t need to have massive numbers of posts on a business social media account. Just create a continued presence  and respond to others. Don’t post a photo every day. Only post high quality photos from your portfolio.
  5. Flickr is not a social media site in the same sense as Twitter and FaceBook: Flickr is more of a photo sharing site that doesn’t have mechanisms to drive traffic to your site like Twitter or FaceBook do.

So the strategy of social media is to bring traffic to your site where potential clients can see the full power and breadth of your work.

Ethan is a PFRE coach and if you are interested in getting into more details in how Ethan uses social media he will be happy to coach anyone on how to use social media to build your photography business. You can contact him via the PFRE coaching page.

 

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16 Responses to “As A Photographer How Can You Use Social Media To Promote Your Business?”

  • If not for social media, I would be dead in the water (likely driving truck again).

    When I started out just over a year ago as a landscape photographer looking to jump into RE full time, I had a friend who was a realtor and willing to let me “learn” on his listings.
    A couple months after that the poor guy broke his neck in a swimming pool accident, and I was on my own.

    My website was on “search page number 10” and I was worried I would have to beg for my job back.

    I went on FaceBook to introduce myself to all of HIS realtor “friends” and each time I got a new friend I would do the same with their realtor friends.

    Now I’m at the point where I pick and choose the shoots and agents I want to work with. I have a very loyal following and I’m usually booked two weeks in advance.

    I could NOT have done this without FaceBook.
    Plus it was free!

  • Russell, you showcase exactly how to use Facebook to reach the contacts you want to establish a professional relationship with. Most importantly you have a nice website featuring your work to refer potential clients to. As a lesson I have learned, and after visiting Russell’s Facebook business page too, is that a person can not rely on generating business from a Facebook business page. Unless you “pay to play” your business page gets little or no traffic unless you promote it with $$ – at least this is what my experience is…..and what I see on Russell’s page as well. His last FB post was May 28 and has one “Like”. Using Facebook ( and Linked In works the same for me) for making contacts is the real benefit, just don’t think that putting up a “business” FB page will generate traffic and business. On the other hand my personal FB page gets a lot of attention when posting sunsets, flowers, landscapes, etc. The real danger in social media is spending too much time on it. Tangible results are achieved in making personal connections. What has your experience been?

  • Facebook has landed my a few excellent repeat clients. But I agree about the paying. You have to get a couple agents to like your page. Then post some recent, high-quality work and boost the post to your followers and friends of those followers. It may take a few weeks or months, but when I did that I reached people with my work that I would have a hard time doing otherwise.

  • This is my strategy which I will admit, I have not been diligent in consistency but I believe over time will work for me. I have recently created a Facebook business page. I searched for and “liked” as many local realtors, builders, stagers, and remodelers as I can. Then I go and “like” their posts. Then I go on to my news feed and like and comment on as many posts as I can. When I like or comment on a post or photo, a link to my business page: RoSoFoto Real Estate Photography shows up first on the list of who likes that particular post. It is there until a bunch of people like it after me and push my name off the list. Likewise, if I leave a comment, it is at the top of the comments until other people leave comments above mine which pushes my comments lower down the list. But still, if someone sees my link and they hover over it, they will see a large thumbnail preview of my Facebook page that shows Los Angeles Real Estate Photographer with my cover photo and profile pic which may entice them to like my page if they like my photos. I believe that over time, I can gain more likes this way. Of course, I have the option of paying for a Facebook campaign which I may do at some point in the future. I was aspiring to post a photo a day but as mentioned before, have dropped the ball on that.

  • Be sure to read the fine print when you sign up for social media sites. It’s universal that you grant them full rights to all of the media you post and possibly indemnify them against any claims with regards to that media. Post thumbnails and links back to your web site if you still want to sign up.

    Don’t neglect your website. I’ve seen people that put lots of effort into their FB page and then don’t update their web site for years. A stale web site isn’t going to move up the rankings on search engines.

    Optimize your SEO for search terms and phrases that potential customers will use. “Luxury Real Estate” isn’t a likely phrase that an agent will use to find a RE photographer. Most will type in “real estate photography” as a first try and then add a city or region name when their first search doesn’t yield good results. “Luxury Real Estate Photography” (dot com) is already taken along with “Luxury Homes Photography” (dot com), dang it.

    Keep in mind that the business of social media sites is to collect and sell personal information. To that end, they load up your web browser with loads of cookies, databases, and beacons to keep track of you interests. Free? “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” ~Robert Heinlein

  • Hey! I just saw Ken Brown! http://blog.scotthargisphoto.com/behind-the-scenes-video/ I think???

  • Like anything else, good things come to those that wait. And work hard. I started my Facebook business page a while after I built my first website. I had a bit of an edge on many RE photographers in that I already understood the Internet and computers before I started. I knew about SEO before it was called SEO, so I always did everything I could to build visibility for my website. You should still do so if you are starting up. However, once I found Facebook I kind of slowed down with constant optimizing of my website. I still update it on a daily basis, as it is how I provide galleries to my clients and show off my work. Soon after I started sharing my galleries with people on Facebook, I found that I got tons more hits on my site and I quickly built a large amount of clients. I also used many other methods, such as e-mail campaigns and giving talks at real estate offices. I even used Realtor.com to find top realtors that don’t use professional photography. Each method got me a client or two. Once I got a few top agents as clients I got more and more business. Now I don’t take new clients – I just try to keep up with the ones I have already. I stay busy everyday and I could shoot seven days a week.

    I attribute my success to a nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic and a willingness to try just about anything to keep improving. Being on time and doing exactly what you say helps a lot, too.

    What I am suggesting is there is no one tried and true method that will get you business. It is what you make out of all the methods at your fingertips and leveraging what works for you. Do the best you can, be nice and shoot every home like it’s a palace.

  • I’m not sure about other areas, but here many of the agents I’d like to have familiar with my business certainly aren’t running their Facebook pages. It’s their assistants doing it. That does not mean you should not use it of course.

  • Hi Ron.
    I must admit that my business facebook page is somewhat misleading.
    Because I was first established with my personal (first & last name only), all my “friend” requests were sent from that page.
    I made some attempts to connect everything, but as I got busier and needed FB less and less it went by the wayside.

    I’m still actively posting shoots on my “Russell Flynn” page with some regularity, but I really have all the work I can handle right now and don’t want to show my work to other real estate agents. I hate having to tell agents I’m booked out two weeks when they need me in a couple days.

    Many of you know that you can also use FB to “promote” your post (business) for a few dollars a day.
    I tried it several times in the early days, and even though I was filtering for “real estate brokers” in my area, looking at the demographics showed me it was a waste of money.

  • @Roy, nice one, but that isn’t me. My hair is at least 1/4″-3/8″ longer and there are still a few follicles on the crown that haven’t given up yet. I’d love to work with Scott. I’m sure I would learn tons of technique if I had that opportunity. Although, given the cost of living in the San Francisco area, I’m not sure I could afford to work as a photo assistant and eat.

    In the video it’s interesting to see that the guru of small flashes is using lots of LED panels.

  • Oh man, sorry bout that Ken. I thought how many Ken Browns are into real estate photography?

  • Russell,

    You mentioned up top that you introduced yourself on Facebook to potential clients, and just sort of let that process snowball.

    Can you expand on how you made those connections. I have tried as much, without much success, but maybe it is my area, or maybe it was poor technique on my part.

    Thanks for any info!

    Andrew

  • @roy, there are actually many photographers named Ken(neth) Brown and a few of them do RE photography. I found that out when I went searching for a domain names. The .pro TLD is around 3x the annual price of a .com name and there are extra restrictions, but I like it.

  • Well, I use FB a lot.
    My clients use FB A LOT!

    Hiring me, is part of their marketing strategy.
    Heck, the most recent ‘agents luv it’ thing, has been pretty simple.
    It”s all about the marketing of the property.

    When I show up, while taking a close up photo of the front of the home..I will take an image direct from my Sony, send it to my phone, pimp it out in 10 sec in SnapSeed app….and in another 10 seconds, it is on FB.
    “‘Happening right now..photos of the newest .’…….’team listing…in such and such subdivision…for more info..contact….etc.
    Then I share the link with the client before I even walk into the home.
    They share it with the seller…and on and on.

    The agents LOVE it.

    I use my camera…anyone, including the agent can use their phone.
    I play it up when I enter the house..’you better start packing..you house is on FB….etc.
    The seller is pumped ,,the agent is pumped…It is a positive time for everyone..and makes the seller. super happy they picked that agent , that hired that great photographer.

    Life is good..
    just sharing my fun idea.

  • We just put another listing in contract because the buyer saw the listing on Facebook. We took over a listing from another agent who had it on the market for several months. We did a complete marketing makeover and re-listed the property. I posted our video on our public Facebook page and encouraged the sellers to share it with their Facebook friends. Guess what? It turns out that the sellers boss, who was in the market to buy a home, saw the previous listing and passed. Once his boss viewed our new presentation on Facebook, they took another look, viewed the property and made a full price offer!
    http://conniebarnes.com/4723-el-greco-way/

    Facebook has been an integral part of our real estate marketing and has help us get new listings as well as find buyers for those listings that need a second chance. Once you get enough followers, Facebook can be very efficient as an online ad buy.
    https://www.facebook.com/ConnieBarnesRealEstate

  • I agree with the advice given above, but I would add that if you establish a presence on social media make sure you maintain an active presence. There is no point in opening accounts if you’re not going to use them.

    I used to own an aerial photography business which I sold and I now offer social media marketing as a service to clients who haven’t got the time, the knowledge, or the inclination to make best use of social media.

    To use it effectively you need to decide what your business goals are and create a strategy for achieving them. Then put that into action using the social media accounts of your choice, and you don’t need to be on all of them. Depending on your niche or your target market two or three accounts that are well maintained is better than six that don’t see much activity.

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