How Social Media Changes Marketing

This is the first in a series of posts based off a talk I used to give on social media marketing for photographers.

The traditional method for photographers to prospect for new clients is to market themselves using one of the following:
Direct Mail
Direct Email
Sourcebooks (Workbook, LeBook…)
Cold Calling
Office Visits

The problem with these methods of marketing is the prospect has no way to control it. Social media solves this by allowing them to unsubscribe from updates if they’re not interested. Of course the challenge then is to get them to subscribe in the first place, but I believe eventually all marketing will be received through these channels because they’re so efficient.

It’s helpful to think about social medial as just another publishing platform and delivery tool. No different than creating a postcard and mailing it to someone except that when you put something online it can be shared over and over again with no additional cost to you. The new methods for marketing are:
Email Newsletters

A blog is the perfect tool for tackling all of these at once. You can publish your marketing material on a blog and have it sent automatically to an email list and post on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Many blogging platforms (,, have plugins that will auto post and setup automatic emails. is a blogging platform that was created for auto sharing and tools like will take your blog RSS feed and post to social media. If you’re uncomfortable with auto posting you can always use the blog as a home base and write something original for each platform but link back to the blog as a way to direct traffic to your site. The goal with all of this is to funnel people to your portfolio when they have a job to award. How will you know when they have a job to award? You don’t, but the more visible you are the better your chances of being considered when it happens. So, this isn’t to say you can give up on the traditional methods just yet, but it’s time to put more emphasis on the new methods.

It’s helpful to look at this from the clients perspective. Traditionally, if I discovered a new photographer I was interested in hiring, because I saw them in a magazine, an award or a colleague told me about them, I would visit their website and bookmark it and then add them to my photographer list. Now, I can sign up to receive information by liking their facebook page, following them on twitter, connect on LinkedIn, signup for an email newsletter or adding their blog feed (RSS) to my reader. Now, not only does your marketing reach me it can be recommended to me and I can even discover it without having signed up in the first place. Social media changes marketing in a good way.

There Are 9 Comments On This Article.

  1. Absolutely… But, for them to know about you and your Blog/Facebook/Twitter/etc they have to somehow find out about you which will usually be Direct Mail
    Direct Email, Sourcebooks, Cold Calling, and Office Visits (or magazines, awards, colleagues).

    Word of mouth (via friends sharing on FB/Twitter/Etc) because VASTLY easier… But that initial discovery has to start somewhere and you can’t sit back and hope it happens from someone else’s feed.

    So, I think we’re stuck doing old and new marketing for a while.

  2. Great info and I agree. We are going to still be using some of the old methods, but the social media marketing is the wave of the future. I am working on my plan for 2013 and really enjoy reading your posts since they help me focus on what I need to do.

    Really enjoyed your panel discussions at PDN Expo. They were the best seminars I attended at the show. Looking forward to more.

  3. I teach photography at Idea Store Learning in Tower Hamlets, London and this is something that I have been advocating for a while now. As photographers the world has changed around us and for photographers of a certain age everything changed. The clients respond differently to us photographers, they do not want t pay what they did and clients do not want to see you anymore. But then they don’t want to see anyone as they do not have time. So how do you build a relationship with a potential client and that is where social media comes in. It takes time and it is a new way of thinking. It does involve learning new skills and it does involve learning how to do things like writing which for a lot of photographers is not what they want to do. One of the hardest things to learn is how to get your SEO to work so that the clients that you want start to notice you. It is also a shift in thinking from push marketing to pull marketing. That means you need to think about how to engage and motivate potential contacts to get involved with your brand or message. If you do not have a brand that is coherent you will not appear on their radar.
    So for the future you will need:
    A focused Brand (that unifies everything you do).
    A focused message that is consistently used.
    A global reach as your brand can now be more tightly focused.

  4. As an example of what is being discussed in this post, you can see the website that we set up to discuss aspects of street photography, focused on a narrow area or genre of photography. Our main site is a wordpress based site which allowed us to set up the site quickly and at low cost. Once the site had been going for about two months, we then set up a facebook page and linked that to the wordpress site, which was then set to automatically post to the facebook page every time we did something on the site. the first weekend that we had a facebook page the number of people visiting the site trebled. The next stage is to improve our SEO, that is when someone searches for “Street Photography Workshops” they get our page on the search for some reason this is proving to be harder than we anticipated. But it is critical if you want to be noticed by the people you are wanting to attract to your site or service.
    The secret to getting better SEO, I am told is two fold: one back links from sites that are considered to have authority in your area of interest, two content that people link to makes a huge difference in how search engines rank you.