If you are surfing between Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and other social media platforms wondering what is the best way to use social media for your photography, then Jenna Martin has some advice for you.
Jenna Martin built a successful photography business promoting her underwater photography using largely online platforms.
Social media can be an effective tool for photographers. In this episode, Jenna shares her favorite platforms, how she uses each differently, and what strategies work best for photographers.
I interviewed Jenna while she was holding her new four-month-old baby, Leila. They both have plenty to say. :-)
Listen to the podcast
Here are excepts from Jenna's interview
Q How are you using social media and why?
The old school way of marketing for photographers was you put an ad in the newpaper, on radio or on television. I can't remember the time I've actually seen an actual ad on television outside of the super bowl.
With social media, this is where the people are, so that's where I have to go.
The reason I'm on so many platforms is because...every time a new platform comes out, I try it. I see exactly what it will do for my business. If it is a good business boost, I keep using it. If it's not, I have it there, but I don't pay attention to it too much.
Q. What's your goal on social media?
Lead generation. I point everything to my email list. The main goal is to get them onto the email list.
If one social media app goes down, the email list is yours. You get to keep that.
Q. Let's go through each of the social media platforms and tell us what works and what doesn't.
Instagram is good for exposure. There is a lot of featuring and feature pages. Feature pages only exist to show other people's work. Feature pages might have hundreds of thousands of followers, and they show your work. 'This is a photo by Jenna Martin.' The only point is to feature different photographer's work.
The feature pages sometimes focus on specific genres, so there's a lot of room to put your name out there. If you can get featured on one good page... I've gotten 2,000 followers in one day just from one page. It's a big difference. For exposure, Instagram is huge.
What to do
Find someone on Instagram who does the same kind of work as you do or something similar. I shoot a lot of underwater photography, so I would follow an underwater photographer who has a lot of followers. Click through to some of their photos, and usually on the very first comment, you will see a lot of hashtags. You can copy and paste the hashtags to your own photo. That's how you get found by feature pages.
Most of the hashtags I use are feature page hashtags and the rest are general categories.
You only have one URL allowed in your profile. I use my email list sign up as that URL. I have a free giveaway. You click that link in my profile to get your free ebook or action pack. That's the main way I transfer the Instagram followers to the list.
Because Periscope is live video, if I am videotaping my shoots under the water, I'll post a 15 second snippet of that. Then I'll say, if you want to see the whole thing, click on the link in my bio. Then that will take them to my Periscope account.
I want everyone on my Periscope account because there are days when I will just sit there and say sign up for my email list. It takes everyone from my Periscope account right to my email list.
I send them from one app straight to my email list or one app to another that I can get them on my email list.
The main feature of Periscope is that it is not two dimensional. Use it if you are doing a special or something where you are trying to get people to like your page.
You would normally post and hope that someone clicks on it. All you can do is wait. With Periscope, since it is live, interactive video, they can comment and talk to you in real time. It's almost like communicating face to face.
There is a much higher conversion rate than posting something on Instagram and hoping people click on it. You can answer questions. People can talk to you and see if you are trustworthy. It's a lot better than that faceless social media of the past.
Top three ways photographers can use Periscope:
1 - The actual photo shoots. Put your phone on the camera hot shoe. Your video shows people that your photo shoots are fun. That's a great thing for clients. They think photo shoots will be stressful. Periscope helps show clients that your shoot will be fun.
2 - Behind the scenes work. When you are doing post processing, broadcast that. A lot of clients have no idea the level of effort that goes into post processing. They think you just show up with a camera, click a button, and it's done. By showing behind the scenes — all the work it takes to get ready for a photo shoot, all the work it takes afterwards — you are proving to people why they are paying you.
3 - Your promotions or specials. If you have a special that you are running for Mother's Day, instead of just posting it on Facebook, you would broadcast it on Periscope. You would sit in front of your phone and explain all about it. If people have questions, you can answer them right there on air.
Everything you are doing on Periscope is searchable on Twitter. If you have an account with targeted followers, send them to Periscope and you can sell face to face.
The video disappears in 24 hours to create urgency. There is an option to save it to your phone, so you can upload it to YouTube.
I just use it for inspiration. I don't see much client turnover or lead generation. I've even tried to get people on 500 px to follow my Facebook, but it doesn't translate.
I love 500 px. I think the quality of photos is amazing, but it's really just to follow work I like to see and gain inspiration for another photo shoot.
I like it and the community, but it's not translating for lead generation.
Facebook used to be amazing, and I used to get a ton of leads there. Now it definitely dropped off. Facebook is one of those platforms you have to have. If you are a photographer, you have to have a Facebook page.
Facebook allows you to cross promote to other social media sites, and it definitely allows huge reach with blog posts. Whenever I post blogs to Facebook, that's when I get shares and follows and a ton of interaction.
The main thing with Facebook is it is an interaction based site. It's not like Instagram where it is all chronological. Facebook is all interaction based, so if you go a few days without posting anything and then you post, you only get one or two likes. No one has interacted with you in a few days, so Facebook things you are not very interesting and won't show you to people.
If I'm going to sell a workshop, I'll do a lot of stuff before I post it to get the interaction up. One of the things I do, which works every time is post "Peanut butter and _____" and let people fill in what they think goes with peanut butter. It is so random but people will fight each other to prove what goes with peanut butter. The next day, I'll post the blog to get more sharing. Then the third day, I'll post the workshop. There's a system on Facebook.
I have a few Facebook groups, but they are mainly for people who have attended workshops. They are in a special workshop group that slowly grows. It's great because it creates a sense of community.
Twitter was falling off the radar for me. I was using it if I wanted to approach a business or potential sponsor. If I had a hard time finding an email on their website, I could tweet that company. They would either direct message or tweet me the email of someone who is useful.
Since Periscope has come along, I am using Twitter more.
I was loving it for while and then I forgot about it, and it seemed everyone else in the world also forgot about it at the same time.
I post there once in a while. It's nothing I use actively to gain exposure. Anyone who follows me on Google Plus already follows me on every other channel, so it's not really an essential thing. I do know photographers who swear by it.
Snapchat is amazing for business because it acts like a text message.
It's a lot different from Facebook and Instagram where you post something and hope someone sees it. Snapchat and Periscope post directly to your phones. You get a notification of it.
On Snapchat, there are no links. There's nothing like that. If you have something that you want people to follow, you have to make it interesting.
Snapchat is so amazing at getting seen. People see that Snapchat when they open their phones.
Pinterest is like a bank for information. If you do family photo shoots, you can have a Pinterest board on what to wear, for instance.
If you are a wedding photographer, you can have boards for different styles of weddings.
It's not anything I would use for lead or client generation, but it's something that clients really like.
Top things you should do
Prioritize the platforms that are giving you the biggest bang for your buck.
There are programs that can help you with this.
Automate your posts with tools. IFTTT lets you set up recipes. Every time you post to Instagram, it can take that exact photo and post it to Facebook or Twitter. There's a million different things you can do. There are a ton of different recipes you can customize. You can send it to one place, and it will get posted everywhere.
I like scheduling individually. If you will just sit down for one hour a week, you can have everything scheduled. You're looking at no more than two hours a week for social media. Compared to the old way of doing things, spending two hours on free stuff is definitely worth the effort you will be putting in.
To engage more with your followers, block certain times of the day that you log in and see if anyone has commented. You respond and log out.
Facebook my general rule is post twice per day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
Instagram you can go three to four times a day as long it is spread out.