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

It’s a generally accepted rule of thumb that 3-5 point of contact (some say 7-9) is necessary for someone to make a hiring decision on you. What that means is someone must encounter your work 3-5 times either by you putting it directly in front of them or some serendipitous encounter somewhere. If you look at the typical day for someone whose job it is to hire artists, traditionally (in the past) this meant they saw your work:

Browsing the newsstand
Looking through their mail
Reading email
During an office visit
Talking with colleagues
At industry events and awards

Now with social media we’ve simply added blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to the mix. And, what’s powerful about these new tools is they allow for more serendipitous and peer recommended encounters with your work, two of the more powerful kinds.

People who are reading less mail, email and having less office visits are probably spending more time online or at least trying to make up for it with more efficient network recommended stuff. There’s a great quote that goes “If it’s important it will find me” which means that your network will keep alerting you to the same thing over and over again if people around you deem it important.

This means two things for people marketing themselves. Participation in the different networks is mandatory and if Β good things happen to you offline, you can make them social by writing and publishing it.

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  1. i like that list as a nice little poem

    • You see the cronyism all the time within posts written by the internet guru’s. One “guru” launches a new product, body of work, etc and mentions his or her good friend, another well known internet “guru” photographer, who this person may or may not know. It is funny to me, how many of these people refer to each other as “my good friend”. Its if it is a giant circling of well intentioned people helping each other along toward internet stardom with links and acknowledgements to each other. To those who are not thinking through what they read and just accepting the posts at face value, then you’ve been conned.

      However, on the flip side, the famous internet photographers may not be shooting as much as they want you to believe, but they are making serious coin from the back-links to B&H, Adorama and Amazon.

      Don’t think for a second if these people push a product that they are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re in business, just like all of us.

  2. Rob and team, it seems like you’re saying with this post that photographers should sign up to various social networks and begin casting lines out in the form of tweets, posts, etc., with the hope that someone whose want to buy will bite.

    I agree with the notion that you can turn experiences — or your expertise — into something social by writing / publishing — but social media is a giant timesuck without a well-planned strategy. As such, I think it’s incumbent upon you, when dispensing advice like this, to include the right caveats. And if you don’t know what those are, stick to what you do know ;)

    Any photographer who want to leverage social, or online marketing in general, needs to think about who their audience is and why that audience will care about what he/she has to say and share.

    Social is REALLY crowded nowadays. It’s a noisy space and anyone seeking to clear the haze needs to “say” really interesting, smart, useful things. You cannot just cast lines out there; if you do you’ll be relegated by those who matter to you most from a marketing perspective as part of the noise.

    • I think it depends on what you shoot. 1/ Anything but targeted marketing is a time-waster, and then only known contacts. 2/ A.D.’s have their favorites already, and never enough jobs to keep them all in work. 3/ To get attention, you need something that isn’t ‘commercial’, (i.e. you do it because you think it would ‘appeal’), but is a unique viewpoint. 4/ Do the hard work; develop an original idea !

      • People are thinking about this in old world ways. There doesn’t need to be a target audience. If you are doing good work, and putting your work out there, via the multitude of social channels, your audience will find you. If your work resonates with a segment of the population, they will hold it up for others to see. Social media is the ether, and it propels itself forward.

        • True to a certain degree, but when it comes to advertising work, I think after considering their options clients gravitate to photographers based primarily on one word, TRUST..

  3. I totally agree. So much time can be spent spinning your wheels on getting you work out over the internet in general, not just through social networks. However, I think it’s fair to say that it’s not always clear which avenue will work best. Often you’ll find an audience by accident. Casting a wide net doesn’t hurt as long as you’re responsive to the feedback. But, as a general rule, I agree that it’s useful to be targeted and strategic with your time and effort.

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