As a freelance photographer, although I am a sole proprietor, I am basically a small business owner. Only about 40% of what I do is actual photography. Processing photos from photo shoots, and all the other tasks of being in business for myself take more of my time than what I actually do as a business.
That said, marketing is one of the tasks that is most important to any small business owner; myself included.
Given that I actually started out in marketing and branding, it is something that I know quite a bit about. I earned a degree in marketing and ran a branding company for several years; photography was just a part of what we offered.
I have to be honest, I don’t always put all the effort into marketing that I know I should be because of sheer time constraints, and, traditionally, marketing has been quite expensive. Everyone has had to cut back in recent years.
To alleviate some of the expense, I have often utilized social media as a primary way to promote myself. Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Deviant Art, etc have all been part of my regular practice of updating my profiles with my latest work. And, I have to say, I have done so in fits and starts in recent months due to other distractions from my time and, frankly, limits to my available technology.
However, in recent months, there have been huge leaps forward in technology and subsequently the social media available to any small business owner that cost nothing but a new phone and some time.
I have a tendency to wait until my technology dies before upgrading. So, when my iPhone 3G (yes, no S) finally could do no more in December, I upgraded to the new 4GS.
With it a whole new world opened up for me. Faster speed, new apps, and specifically, new social media I could never use before. Of late, I have set myself up with a Pinterest, Path, and Instagram account, tying them to twitter and Facebook. I also added Google+, although, I am still on the fence with that one.
This, then, got me to be more active in taking photos I already had and “Pinning” them, connecting them to Facebook and Twitter, as well as using Instagram to take some new and pre-existing work and posting it.
Now, as a professional photographer, I recognize the limitations to Instagram and a relatively low resolution phone camera. However, it’s an amazing tool for using at an event or a photo shoot as a behind-the-scenes advertisement or teaser of what is to come; or to post daily snap shots of interest just for fun. I could never do this at the same quality with my old iPhone. I could actually get a decent 6×6 on a printing press out of an Instagram shot if lighting is acceptable and it doesn’t end up too grainy.
So, in 2012, I have decided to have a renewed dedication to social media as a means of promoting myself. And, in the last two weeks alone, I have seen a very noticeable increase in daily activity to my site. And, embracing it as I have, I’ve even added all the respective “like”, “tweet”, “share”, “+1″, and “pin-it” capability so users can feel free to share my work with their followers.
Because social media is a lot like the old commercial said “I liked it so much, I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on” (bonus points for the first one to comment on what that ad was for).
Now, before anyone says anything, as an artist I know many worry about copyright issues. And I have my thoughts on that which I will address next time. This is already longer than I feel comfortable writing.
Happy pinning, or whatever it is you do.