For our purposes “social media” usually refers to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Additionally, you might consider using Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, or even some flavor-of-the-day that will release just after I finish writing this post. I’d also include blogs in this category—they’re similar enough in terms of the type of content you’ll be sharing and frequency of posting.
By the way, I realize that there is some controversy surrounding licensing and the like when sharing your images on social media. However, as Rob Haggart has discussed, it’s better to take advantage of these “new” venues for marketing than not to be involved at all. If you feel more comfortable posting links on these sites instead of images (for copyright reasons), that’s fine too. At least that will direct interested parties to your website.
Social media is a great place to share your latest work without the worry that it doesn’t quite fit on your website’s portfolio. Show behind-the-scenes photos and videos, or even the latest image you put up on your website. Also, try to think of images of yours that relate to timely news and holiday items — this way you’ll be ready in the event a photo editor happens-by while sourcing ideas for a related assignment.
The appetite for social media is a daily one, but I realize you’re a photographer or illustrator first, and not a marketer. I recommend posting at least a few times a week to social media: that way you’ll have a better chance of being seen by your followers.
The nice thing is that there can be some overlap in content between your social media sites. You can post to your blog first, then have that automatically post to Facebook and Twitter, although you may need to adjust your settings or add the right app to do so.
Keep in mind that automatic re-posts don’t always maintain a social media site’s internal links. For example: typing “@neilbinkley” in a Twitter post will obviously give you the option of creating an internal link to my Twitter feed. However, if you copy and paste “@neilbinkley” into a Facebook post, Facebook won’t always pick that up without you first highlighting or selecting my name from a list of suggestions. I.e. you’ll want to consider doing some “handholding” so that you don’t lose the power of those internal links, which tell others that you’ve mentioned them.
I also think it’s good to have some unique content for each site, but not everybody is going to spend equal time on each social media site—that is, they probably won’t notice any content overlap, unless you’re Beyoncé.
You can also use applications for Twitter, like TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com), to schedule future tweets. The same goes for using software (WordPress, for example) to post-date your blog posts. This way, you can keep your social media and blog feeds active even while you’re out shooting.
Your print and iPad portfolios are generally a reduced version of your website’s edit — somewhat of a “greatest hits”. I also like to play with the layouts, since you can better control the design process here than online. Make the left spread full-bleed and the right spread with margins, do multiple verticals in a spread: make it look like a magazine feature (without as much, or any, text)!
You can show the same shots you do on your website (or similar ones). However, some clients will expect you to show work they haven’t seen. I’d keep images in a similar style but add a few extras to keep them interested. Additionally, they may also wish to see how some of your website images reproduce in print — especially for advertising.
Hopefully, the images you include will also be guided by what your client has asked to see. Make sure you check if they’re looking for specific subject matter.
Another option: bring a second portfolio of edgier or less-expected work — perhaps a personal project you’re dying to share. If the portfolio meeting is going well, ask if they’d like to see your other book.
An iPad portfolio can also be a good place to share your motion work.
I’d update this as frequently as you do your website. Obviously, you’ll also want to consider updating the edit after a client tells you what specifically they’re looking to see, but don’t wait until the last minute to print your book. Some clients want you to FedEx your portfolio within a day or two, and that doesn’t give you time to start a printed book from scratch.
This “Portfolio (in)Sanity” series offers a lot to digest and is really “just” a starting point, but it bears repeating: your images are what sell you first, so make good use of them and share frequently! Make your process easier by calendaring days to update your portfolios (not forgetting to download my handy reminder calendar), and save your best work as you complete it so you’re not starting from scratch at each portfolio update.
Good marketing to you!
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