Social Media for Photographers

Social Media for Photographers by Naija Go Social
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Social Media for Photographers is as important as Social Media for brand/organisation. Hobbyist or Professional, everyone needs Social Media in the current times. These days when DSLRs are becoming household products and the world is taking more pictures than ever, it is all the more important for photographers to use internet and social media to expose their work to a broader audience. Social Media For Photographers is therefore as important as Social Media for any professional who wants to use internet to reach to a wider audience. My recent photoblog in Nigeria titled Snap It Oga has been quite successful and it has taught me a lot about using social media effectively for making my work available to a larger audience. Snap It Oga has been published on The Guardian,YahooNews 24Bella NaijaSahara ReportersHomeGrown and several other leading Nigerian blog and publications. Snap It Oga is Nigeria’s only blog on The Guardian’s list of The Best City Blogs Around the World . Some key learnings from my photo-blog have been:
1) Define your target-audience : In these times, you can not reach everyone. You must therefore identify the audience that you are trying to reach, it might sound very basic and MBAish but this is the most important thing you will do in terms of your Social Media strategy. Once you have know who you want to reach, everything else will become simple. If you are a Wedding Photographer for example, define clearly the kind of couples you want to reach. For Snap It Oga, which is my photo-blog showcasing pictures from Lagos city, I wanted to first reach out to Nigerians living in diaspora because from my experience I knew they must be missing their country. This strategy worked very well for me, because with-in months I have hundreds of followers from this target group. Not only they followed my work but they send me wishes and loads of appreciation for my work from all parts of the world.
2) Understand different platforms : Today you have people accessing internet from various kinds of devices – laptops, smart-phones and tablets. You should understand these platforms and how to make engaging content for these different platforms. If you are a landscape photographer for instance, it will be best to showcase your pictures on laptops/tablets because of the size and scale of your shots. You can therefore, skip Instagram in the list of Social Media handles you want to use because Instagram is phone only medium!
3) Get Social : In the past few years I have seen some photographers use Social Media extensively to grow their following and get more assignments. The genre of photography doesn’t matter so much, everyone has to be social now! Everyone of course will have different objectives, serious amateurs might just want to get more eyeballs for their work, amateurs might want to learn more and hone their skills and professionals would surely want to get more assignments.
Social Media for Photographers just mean starting a Facebook page? No, not really. Being social is of course about being present on various social media handles like Facebook, Google+, Instagram etc. but it is more about engaging your audience. Once you know who your audience is (Step 1) you should identify the right social media handles to reach them. Again using Snap It Oga’s example, because I wanted to reach Nigerians in diaspora I started my blog on Tumblr, because that is where they are.
No matter who your audience is, I would highly recommend having a Flickr page for every photographer. Flickr has communities for every kind of photography, wedding photographers will find wedding photography communities, street photographers will find theirs and so on. Get into the discussion forums and groups, share your work and learn. It is a great platform to showcase your work and it is of course very social!
Make a Google Plus page for your work and participate in the communities on Google Plus. Also, link your website/blog to your Google Plus page which will be especially beneficial for professional photographers in S.E.O. To ensure people can catch your work on their mobile phones, start an Instagram account. Last but not the least, start a photo-blog this is very important for professional photographers because it is a great way of showcasing your personality and not just your pictures!
4) Get Published : Once you have created the social ecosystem for your photography and you have started to get some traction there, the next priority should be getting published. Again depending on your work and target audience you should make a list of the websites you want to get published o
n. If you are a travel photographer for example, you should definitely be on National Geographic’s online community or Lonely Planet’s Flickr group. There are online curators, online magazines and several online competitions where you should try and get your work published.
If you are on Tumblr like me, try submitting to LensblrGray-Card and Lux Lit, there are similar curators and rebloggers on all platforms now.
5) Make it a habit : Social Media is here to stay, and this is how the world is communicating right now so businesses and professional photographers will have to be at it! It takes time, especially a lot of time when you are learning, setting up accounts and building a community for yourself. There will definitely be a lot of work in the initial six months because you are creating the whole ecosystem and building community for your work, it will become easier after that.
Wishing you all the very best. In case you have any question, please feel free to leave them in comments.