Social media is not rocket science. It does however require a few insider tips, common sense, consideration and a bit or regularity.
So what qualifies me to share these social media tips for photographers?
Well for a start I was included in the Top 100 Most Socially Influential Photographers globally and have in excess of 140,000 followers across platforms. Many of my photography jobs and opportunities result from my work on it.
I want to share simple tips to avoid your social media campaign turning into a ghost town including tumbleweed.
Tumbleweed being the above-ground part of number of plants in arid regions that breaks off and disengages from the ground once dry and is tumbled about by the wind.
“Disengage” doesn’t sound good, but it’s the right word to use especially when comparing tumbleweed to a social media campaign that hasn’t even reached maturity, yet is totally missing the point of engaging with its followers.
How many times have you come across a company’s Twitter, Facebook page or blog where there have been no updates for the past month even up to a year? Not a particularly encouraging sight of healthy business in my opinion.
So people and companies start with good intentions, thinking “that’s it, we’re on social media, we have lots to talk about.” They do… for two months anyway, but then they run out of steam.
And the updates become less and less frequent. It becomes harder for the person in charge of the social media accounts to think up new ideas. Usually this person actually holds another function in the company, their role isn’t dedicated to updating tweets, blog posts and the rest. So obviously they have to choose between tweeting and focusing on their job.
Eventually Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the rest get dumped in a basket in front of some stranger’s door. So what started as a brilliant idea has the opposite effect. They’ve started a campaign and it becomes very public that they’re incapable of pursuing it (possibly like anything else they do). It would have actually been better not to start.
It’s understandable that some companies find nothing to talk about as they focus too much on selling, selling, selling! They talk way too corporate which isn’t what people want to hear on social media (bar LinkedIn).
People actually take it very personally and detest unsolicited sales from companies on social sites. It’s the equivalent of a cold call but kind of when you’re having a chat with friends. Bit rude.
Social Media, like most things in life, gives back what you put into it, simple. It's like a plant you need to water every day or it will wilt and die.
Followers want just the right amount of information, just the right number of times. Tweet too much, too irrelevant, no one will bother reading, it will feel like spam and they'll eventually unfollow you. After all we all lead very busy digital lives so if we can spare ourselves the junk... Don’t tweet enough and you will fall into the social media abyss.
Quality content is something not everyone knows how to deliver on a regular basis. It’s tough.
If you are going to post, try not to have too much of a sales attitude. Obey the rule of only mentioning your product, website or services maybe somewhere in the region of once out of ten times you post. The rest of the time, be seen as a reliable source of information, a trusted expert in your field who shares links to interesting articles and websites on your specialist subject.
Figure out the best time to post updates, new blog posts or tweets, generally around lunch, or on the commute to or from work when people are most likely to be checking their accounts. Weekends are good too, avoid Saturday night for obvious reasons but Sunday late mornings are good as many are in bed checking their phone.
Be regular, so people who like what you have to say will know when to expect your news.
Engage with your followers. It’s so bad when you tweet people and they don’t reply. I am not perfect but I do try to reply to most. Unless you’re Katy Perry (if you are, please call me), chances are you don’t get so many mentions or comments that you can’t reply, if only to say “thanks”. If someone takes the time to tell you they like what you say, it’s the least you can do.
Don't take on too much. There are a lot of social networks out there and not all will work for you and it’s not always possible to manage all of them. So be selective, choose the ones which are best for you and what you do, ones you can handle and stick to them.
Personally I tweet lots (as Twitter is what has brought me most), spend lots of time on Instagram, have a Facebook page, use Pinterest and write my blog. That’s it. I work hard at it, morning, lunch, evening and weekends.
So go give your social media accounts a bit of love and it won’t turn into tumbleweed in a social media ghost town.