Creative people tend to have a wide variety of interests by nature. However, when it comes to improving your business, you often need to narrow your focus to a more limited set of marketing efforts.
This includes social media, and even though nearly all social media platforms are free, the time you spend on them is time taken away from other business activities. That’s why it’s so important to determine which platforms bring the greatest return on investment (ROI).
You first need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish, and whether this platform can help you get there. In other words, make a concrete decision about where social media fits into your overall marketing plan. Is your goal to drive traffic to your blog? To increase print sales? Then determine how you’re going to measure the results so that you can accurately calculate your ROI.
One way to figure out which social media platform is right for you is to survey the competition and see what they’re doing. Where are the commercial photographers hanging out? The illustrators? Chances are they’re there for a reason, so do some exploring before you jump in and decide which is best for you.
Taylor Davidson, photographer and venture capitalist, says: “The most important best practice is to listen first, then talk. Understand how each community works, and then step in – in a way that fits you and the community.”
You’ll also want to define your target audience so that you can better understand their needs and hone your marketing messages. This year, PhotoShelter and Agency Access teamed up to survey 1,000 photo buyers to create the “2012 Survey: What Buyers Want From Photographers.” We found that 24.8% of photo buyers have discovered new photographers using social media, and 9% use social media to search for images to license.
More specifically, when asked which platforms they use, photo buyers said:
Kaia Hemming, an art buyer at JWT, says that social media can help photographers get a job: “I was friends with a photographer on Facebook and learned through his updates that he was shooting a lot of great food and beverage imagery. Because of that, he was put into the mix for a shoot and ended up getting the gig!”
Social media is not a silver bullet that will improve your business overnight. It can, however, be a very significant piece of your marketing efforts that can help build brand awareness and connect you with buyers. Most importantly, keep in mind that you must balance this with other strategies in order to attract the widest pool of potential clients and customers.
Allen Murabayashi is Co-Founder and Chairman of PhotoShelter, the leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing, and archiving tools for photographers. Allen is also an avid photographer and frequently speaks on how photographers can use online marketing to grow their businesses. PhotoShelter
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