Starting a photography business is more than just filling out your local permits and creating a Facebook page, it requires a combination of photographic skill - marketing - and persistence. This article takes off from the previous article covering how to start your business and takes you to the next step covering your initial steps towards a successful marketing campaign and driving new business.
Social Media Marketing
This article is Part II to Starting A Photography Business - your social media marketing is a huge part of spreading the word and gathering new clients. Early on in your new business the best tip is for you to develop a social media marketing plan. Where do you want to be in 3 months? In 6 months? In 12 months? Those benchmarks are important to a successful social media marketing campaign. The first step to consider is how many followers you feel will be successful in 3, 6, and 12 months. A reasonable goal might be to set for 250 followers within 3 months. During those 3 months focus on targeting a select audience, DO NOT buy followers and buy into spam campaigns. Your photography business relies on an interactive audience - not a large group of spam followers who won't engage with your content.
Besides followers, the next piece of your social media marketing plan should be your content and how you plan to release content and over what time periods. You should be posting new content weekly at the minimum. Remaining consistent (which is very difficult to keep up with) is key to maintaining high levels of engagement, and engagement=marketing.
A final piece of your social media marketing plan should include your budget for advertising. Advertising is an investment in your photography business and should be seen that way. You can utilize all different social media platforms (Google, Twitter, Facebook, IG) but you want to focus your advertisements in one area starting out (unless you have major piles of cash to throw out there). Facebook now thrives off of advertisements - but I personally still invest in Google adwords. Facebook has never been my strength and is actually one of my least favorite social media sites. Twitter also has paid advertising which can boost your profile. I am not familiar enough with IG to discuss their advertising programs.
Facebook, Twitter, IG, or Google+ - Or Does It Matter?
Similar to the Canon vs. Nikon debate - the new age debate among social media is Facebook, Twitter, IG or Google+ for photographers? Each has its own quirks and I am definitely biased with my preference, but your new photography business should focus on which social media platform you are most familiar with and are most successful at. There are professional photographers successful within each social media platform - but whatever you pick, be consistent and stick with it.
My own personal preference is Google+ and Twitter. My reasons for focusing on these two are because my audience base has always been with Twitter - even though it has been labeled a dying social media platform. Within the past 6 months I have embraced Google+ and I will be honest...I like it. I have experimented with Facebook and with IG and can say neither has produced much feedback with my photography. Whereas, Google+ has been incredibly productive and engaging with my photography. In fact, one of my first Google+ photography posts led to higher engagement levels and click-throughs to my site than my Facebook/IG accounts combined. I can get over the forced square format in IG, I can even get over the extremely high amount of users who don't appreciate true photography - but my main gripe with IG is the extremely low amount of click-throughs and the inability to backlink posts. That's an issue for me.
Overall the key to picking a social media platform for your photography business is to focus on at least one social media group and be active within your communities. The key to your photography business is building an active and engaging group of followers who you can share your photography with, get feedback and produce new leads.