How Can Real Estate Photographers Use Social Media To Promote Their Business?

June 27th, 2016

SocialMediaDaniel recently asked:

I have a question in regards to real-estate photographers and social marketing. I’ve been in business for 5 years now but have never done ANY type of advertising (besides maybe a handful of business cards). I’ve recently created a FaceBook page for my business but it’s constantly blank as I seem to have a hard time finding material to post onto my site. I’m curious what type of content people are posting to their pages. Would it be acceptable to post an image of a property I’ve recently shot with a grabbing headline and possibly a link to Zillow or Realtor?

To answer Daniel’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 photographer”. 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. A portfolio website is at the center of your 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 a 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. Be aware that you can lose control of your copyright when posting photos on social media sites: Joel Rothman’s post back in January of this year goes into detail on how this works. So you need to be selective in which photos you post to social media.
  6. Flickr is not a social media site in the same sense as Twitter and FaceBook, Instagram and Linkedin are: Flickr is more of a photo sharing site that doesn’t have mechanisms to drive traffic to your portfolio website like Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin 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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9 Responses to “How Can Real Estate Photographers Use Social Media To Promote Their Business?”

  • Sorry to be a pain (and please forgive my OCD) but Googling “luxury real estate” (with or without quotes) doesn’t bring up Ethan’s website in the first 10 pages where I am. On the other hand, “luxury real estate photography” has Mike Kelley highly-placed (3rd down page 1) and this article surprisingly already appears on page 2 but Ethan’s doesn’t appear until page 6. Perhaps Google knows I’m unlikely to use him because I’m in Australia (but why Mike Kelley’s placement then?). Strange.

  • @Dave – Try “luxury real estate photography” that works for me.

  • I see you’ve amended your original post. Now he’s on page 4 without quotes and page 2 with. 😉

  • He shows on the first page when I google “luxury real estate photographer”. I expect that results will vary. The main point is the Ethan reports good results in getting business from his social media efforts.

  • Google is so user-focused now that the results will be different for every person. He’s on the first page when I google “luxury real estate photographer” (and my website is there, too! What a nice surprise). But this will be different in every city.

    I’ve landed clients strictly from Instagram and Facebook postings. It’s important to post QUALITY content that your clients (real estate agents) enjoy seeing. They’re not going to hire you based on just a couple posts of kitchens and master bathrooms, it takes a little time for them to get familiar with you and your work. And don’t just post photos of twilight exteriors or luxury kitchens — think of what they want to SHARE. If you have 1,000 followers and somebody with 1,000 friends shares your posts, you’ve literally just DOUBLED your reach from one person’s action. Imagine when that happens a handful of times.

    I quickly realized that my most popular posts were unique views of our city or region. These have nothing to do with real estate but it’s something real estate agents enjoy seeing. So pepper in some “fun” images between your kitchens, living rooms, pools and backyards. I recently landed a client with 5 new listings… only because she saw her friend share on Facebook a photo of a bridge I shot — how awesome is that??

    Some other cool photos to post are behind-the-scenes type shots. Shooting a video or matterport? Take a photo of your setup with a caption like “I can’t wait to share this new listing with you guys!” Hashtags are your friends, too. I always use a few hashtags that our city’s travel organization use. This gets me on their radar and eventually leads to them sharing one of my photos (with credit back to me) to 300,000 followers! Every once in a while, share a photo on your city’s reddit page (www.reddit.com/r/your-town-name). You’ll be surprised how many people will comment and share.

    Long story short: Go out on Instagram and follow as many local real estate agents as you can. When they see that you followed them, they may follow you back quickly. And build a report with your followers, no matter how small they are. ALWAYS respond to comments, thank them for likes and INTERACT with your audience. Don’t over-post, maybe 1-2x a week. If you’re just starting out on Facebook, “boost” a few posts for $10 or $20 to get some followers. It sucks to “pay for likes” but it does help.

    I must admit I’ve gotten a little lax lately on both FB and IG as I’ve been so busy. But social media is at the top of my list this week and I plan to actually build a schedule for posting. Here is a great tool to help you plan your social media content strategy: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-templates/

    One final thing: FOLLOW YOUR COMPETITION. You guys are fighting for the same followers (and business), so follow them on all channels to see what they’re doing right and even what they’re doing wrong.

  • I get a lot of business from online marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Instagram, GooglePlus, etc….), I have an online relationship with clients and friends. They see the work i post, are impressed and will either use me for photography or refer me. I also charge clients to market to my online avenues (social media sites). Just $25 to market to the thousands of followers I have online. It gives the property more exposure to agents in the area that are looking for their buyer clients. Online marketing is HUGE, just do a little and I believe you’ll see an increase in bookings! Good luck

  • The complexity and complications I have experienced with Facebook business/fanpages and especially in the line of PFRE working for several agencies in the same location, is I’m working for competing agents/agencies. So when I post a front dusk shot or latest video I’d get questioned as to why you are shooting for them etc! Of course we know why and how to respond but I just grown tied of the angst. Also my own competitors were keeping an eye on my latest marketing campaigns and whom I was working for using my Facebook page as a way to mystery shop and for competitor analysis. To this end I feel Facebook is not the answer to market when providing a wholesale product to agencies so I got rid of my page. At the end of the day in my experience all the work comes by referral’s, actually in all layers of providing visual marketing services and products regardless PFRE or corporate/commercial work. For me it’s how the work has come to me for the last 10 years. If you provide great and reliable service, nurture a friendly client rapport with a great polished product it’s amazing how the word of mouth will spread locally and further afield. That said I use my Facebook profile page to stay in touch with my network of trusted friends and clients. For social media I prefer Instagram, Twitter and I think the most important one of them all is LinkedIn, that’s where I find most of my professional clients.

  • I advocate against using Social Media sites. If you read and understand their Terms of Service and (lack of) Privacy Policy that you are agreeing to when you sign up and are not scared off, you didn’t understand it.

    A strong web site (and mine needs work) plus good local networking is a better use of time. A “like” can’t be redeemed to pay the electric bill and reaching people thousands of miles away is rarely going to do any good in bringing in work. If you still must use Social Media, use it to drive people to your own website where you can post your best work without giving it away with teaser photos and posts.

  • I get a lot of business from social media. I post a lot of the homes we shoot on our business page and each day I try to post a few photos from a home that I shot that day (if it is already on the market or if the agent has given me permission to post the photos prior to hitting the market).

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