Utilizing social media for our photography businesses has become a necessity in the industry, there's no getting around that and the likelihood is that photographers who use social media are doing so more now than ever.
However, is this a productive use of our time?
We'd like to think so. Image by Thomas Vanhaecht
We're ALL guilty of having a scan through our feed, liking, sharing and commenting on what we see as inspiring photography as well as posting our own work – whether it be smartphone shots or those from our ‘pro-level' cameras.
But the time we take to do this and be an ‘active' presence we assume is a good use of our time when establishing our business and promoting what we do, but are we turning a blind eye to the fact that people aren't paying as much attention as we'd hoped?
Is this time we're injecting paying dividends? That's our first point.
Is My Time on Social Media Harming My Photography Business?
They say ‘time is money' right?
So if we were to look at the average salary for Americans at around $25 p/hour, it would mean that spending just two measly hours in a whole day just cost you 50 dollars! Yes, we're going on the assumption that self-employed photographers apply this rate to their work, but at least if gives you a simplified idea to work with.
It also puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Looking at what your competition is up to and thinking about what you should be doing on social media isn't necessarily worth your time unless you're actually targeting business with a plan. Image by Kris
Just How Healthy is Social Media?
Another good question. There is increasing concern that social media, in fact, has more
negative effects than we care to face up to. We're spending more time on social media than ever – some so much so that they've decided to throw the towel in and jump down to the other end of the spectrum and give it all up!
It doesn't take much to observe that staring at a screen for hours per day is good for ourselves physically and mentally. Aside from working on post-production, our screen time is increasing and this likely isn't helping us.
There are benefits, huge ones in fact, so let's not dismiss this – without social media business wouldn't be what it is today, I'm not knocking that, but from a personal perspective, if photographers are “using” it then that's great.
If on the other hand, photographers who use social media are just “using their time”, that's another matter. Image by Krzysztof Kamil
Photographers Need to Reach Their Audience, Are you?
When done right, think of photographers who use social media as networkers. It's true, isn't it? Reaching out to
new audiences and providing your existing followers with something new and dynamic means we are “virtually networking”.
This doesn't mean ignoring the traditional method of actually talking and shaking hands with people & clients, it means using technology to expand your reach to further places than you alone as a photographer can physically stretch. You never know where your next paying client could emerge from….
All of your hard work and efforts building an audience or a “fan base” of followers should ultimately end up paying off – yes, we're talking dollars in the bank account here. It's no use attracting people and not doing anything with it.
You know that your bookings per year should be increasing if your work and ideas are being published on a global scale, but often (not never) it isn't. This means reassessing what you're doing.
People have multiple social media accounts and they're using them frequently. This means your content needs to stand out or be super-focused! How about using two social media platforms “well” rather than four with a half-baked attempt? Image by Pexels
Drumming up photography business is something we can do with or without the dependence of social media, but how much “productive” time we're spending on it is up for debate – I'm not for scrapping it, I know that much. Its benefits are obvious, but as a photographer, where is my business coming from?
It's overwhelmingly offline, word of mouth, local recommendations. But having said that, people looking at my work online this has the effect of friends/family seeing what I do and then spreading the word – so in this respect, social media has definitely had a positive effect on the paid work I am receiving as a part-time photographer.
What's your experience of views on this?
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