Digital Marketing for Photographers
I spent a couple of seasons as a wedding videographer here in Minneapolis, and I intersected with dozens of photographers along the way. Many of these photographers were great at what they did, while others were questionable at best. While wedding photographers are the ones I worked with consistently, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting fashion photographers, commercial photographers, portrait photographers, lifestyle photographers, and more.
Here’s the terrifying fact: Photographers with minimal skill are able to book gigs consistently, and they’re often commanding higher rates than the most skilled photographers.
Here’s why: photographers are missing low hanging fruit that’s available to them via simple digital marketing techniques. Photographers who are digital marketing savvy are converting dozens of leads online, attracting the clients they actually want, and shooting selectively due to the high volume of potential gigs they could choose to work with.
Here’s what those photographers are doing that you’re not.
Expanding Their Website
I can’t remember the last time I met a photographer who keeps up with their blog. It’s definitely understandable, given that photographers spend most of their time editing old photos and shooting new ones. However, if you want to be competitive with the top talent in the photography industry, you have no choice but to update your site on a consistent basis.Think of how you’d search for a wedding photographer, assuming for a moment that you don’t know the dozens of photographers that you’ve crossed paths with. You’d probably head to The Knot or to a search engine.
You’d look up “Wedding Photographer MN” or some variation of that, and then pick from the first page or two of photographers that come up. If you were a little more unsure, you might look up articles like “How to Pick a Wedding Photographer” or “What to Ask Your Wedding Photographer”. Is your name coming up in any of those searches? It’s highly unlikely unless your website is staying fresh with new, relevant content.
Think of your website like a town. Each page on your site is a building. Some people are drawn to bars, others are drawn to coffee shops, and still others are looking for restauraunts, theaters, and more. Is your website the classic 3-page site with a Home Page, About Page, and Contact page? If so, your website is like a small town with two bars and a restaurant. It won’t appear on any map, and no one will be drawn to it.
If your website contains hundreds of pages targeted at unique interests, you’ll soon find that hundreds, even thousands of people, will be attracted to your site. These hundreds of pages are typically organized in a blog.
Blogging About the Right Things
On most photographers’ blogs, you’ll find articles like “Nick and Chloe – May 2017.” Unfortunately, these kinds of articles are only relevant to two people and their families. While this is an absolutely essential post for driving that crowd back to your website, it’s much more important to be aware of what engaged couples are currently searching for.
If you were about to get married and didn’t know anything about wedding photographers, what are the odds that you’d click on a link entitled “5 Things to Know Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer”? It’s a pretty safe bet to say that you’d be tempted to click and check it out. You might even be searching for an article about just that.
The people who read these articles are qualified leads, and they are the ones that you need to be appealing to. Instead of keeping your blog exclusively dedicated to previous clients, think of what a future client might want to know, and write something that speaks to them. Very few photographers do this, and in the long term, the results of doing this could be tremendous.
Taking the Lead on Social Media
Photographers should have a bigger advantage than almost any other kind of brand on social media. They have massive image libraries and assets available to aid them on social media. And yet, just like everyone else, they fail to get more than 1-2 likes on their posts.
Why? Because social media is about more than great pictures. To succeed on social, you need to be considering the audience on each platform. What works on Instagram or Pinterest will almost certainly fail on Facebook.
Consider these simple steps to stepping up your social media game on the two most important social media networks for photographers:
Facebook: Here’s a fact: people come to Facebook to be informed and to read opinion-based content. That means that they don’t come to see a photo of a bride they don’t know attached to a caption that shares absolutely nothing about how the photo should be relevant to them. Instead, they come for a political opinion that aligns with their own or a funny anecdote that relates to their unique situation.
I’m not telling you to post memes and politically charged rants on Facebook in a weird plea for likes. I’m simply asking you to consider why people like posts like this and how you can capitalize on it.
Here’s my thought. On Facebook, it’s important to attach your photos to meaningful descriptions. Share someone’s story or a little bit about them. Find a way to make these “random people” relevant to all of your followers. After all, relevancy is the key to social media. Facebook has designed an intricate algorithm around the idea of relevancy. This is their core value, and you need to be aware of that if you’re going to succeed. Think about why you click on the things you click on and why you like what you like. Odds are, your fans are liking or ignoring content for the same reasons as you.
Here’s another way to fail on Facebook—don’t share anything besides your work. Facebook is not Instagram, and your “feed” is completely valueless. Share some personalized content. People want to know who you are and they want to know what you do. Behind the scenes content will almost always perform better than photography that’s been polished off. Facebook users are concerned with stories, facts, figures, and the like. Not just eye-catching work. If they were after that, they could pick up a coffee table book. People want to see work that’s meaningful, and they want to know about the people that are behind it. Not seeing the practical application? Think of the wildly successful Humans of New York page.
Instagram: You’d think that all photographers would understand Instagram. Unlike Facebook, Instagram actually is based largely off of high-quality, impressive imagery. People come to Instagram to be inspired, not to be informed. Instagram should showcase your best work, but everything you share should fit stylistically with everything else in your feed. You should also be researching the hashtags your potential clients are looking through, and you should be limiting your sharing to a maximum of 3 times per day. That might sound like the most basic advice anyone could ever offer, but I can almost guarantee that you are not using hashtags and posting strategies to their maximum potential. Spend at least an hour researching, and you’ll uncover communities you didn’t even know existed.
Instagram’s about authenticity as well, and it’s important to be apart of the conversation. Be sure to interact with other people’s content to avoid feeling like a “brand” instead of a person.
This really is all it takes to get started on surging ahead of the competition. Seeing major results takes time, but you might be impressed by how quickly the right leads start coming your way every now and then.
If you’re interested in learning about advanced strategies for social media, SEO, and web presence marketing, we’d love to buy you a cup of coffee. We’ve seen big time results by working with our clients to explode their web presence and get their content seen, and we’d love to talk about how we can do the same for your photography business.