Being an amateur photographer, promoting my photography from commercial standpoint was difficult. I started my own website (burning a good amount of cash) whose promotion took me endless mailers and sharing on social networks, resulting in a page loads exceeding my expectations however, generating almost no business. I had a feedback mechanism which never saw light of more than a couple of dozen comments. Upon investigating I concluded that reaching out to mass audience is possible via mail but to remain fresh in their memory is not possible and eventually you are branded as a virtual terrorist disguising under email bombing!
Therefore, I decided to give Flickr a try, I received considerable amount of comments and small business. No doubt Flickr is a great photo sharing and networking tool but nothing beats Facebook, though it doesn’t provide you with great photography tools like Flickr, when it comes to promoting your commercial interests or otherwise.
Flickr enables you to connect to a large photographer community which may not really boost your business since most of them do what you are also looking at. However, through Facebook you really reach out to the audience who would be interested in hiring your services or buying your prints (if they like your work that is).
Best way to promote your photography is to start your Fan page (best naming option would be “(your name) photography” or name of your studio).
Starting a Fan page is easy but you should take care of certain things right from the onset to ensure a smooth run:
As butterflies are attracted to beautiful flowers, so are humans. People will be attracted to your photos if you can titillate their visual senses and unless your photographs appeal to them they wouldn’t lift that finger to press the like button. Hence, before starting a fan page have a backing of strong photographs which will pheromonise the fan base.
2. Rule of Patience
Having created a Fan page, do not rush to upload all your work at once. Hold on! take a deep breath and control the anxiety to showcase your work. It is a slow rather laborious task which is sure to reap benefits if carried out patiently.
3. Customer is the king
Start with uploading a couple of your best photos. Invite your friends requesting them to join the Fan page. Be polite and thank them once they have joined. You would want to treat others as you’d like to be treated.
4. Respect their “wall”
Most important thing to do is not to clog your page with more than one photo a day. It will help you get a more focused response from your fan base and will keep them away from blocking your posts appearing on their wall.
Posting a lot of photos at a time may irritate the viewer resulting in a more negative publicity rather than positive. Also, a person loses the patience to sit and comment on all the photos. Having a single photo ensures that you get all the eyeballs you year for!
5. Quality matters
The guru-mantra here is “Focus on quality rest all will follow” Upload only the shots which make you say out loud “Wow”. Posting not-so-good photos or just for the sake of posting will only result in a lower brand value. Make sure when you post, you post the best!
6. Touch their hearts
Be proactive and alert! Create content which has a chronological, social or political importance and touches your fan base. For example on Children’s day I posted a photo of a kid in her dad’s arms and gave out a message on female infanticide which got me hits of over 300 people. The photo was shared by a lot of users which helped me gain more user base.
7. Tag people
Don’t shy away from tagging people. It only increases your brand value and fan base. As, a photo once tagged is displayed on the wall of the entire friends list of that person. Moreover, people feel happy if they are being tagged.
8. Be choosy
As getting that one shot may take several agonising hours so does getting users to your fan page. Consider some interesting facts from the most popular fan pages.
Roger Federer’s official page with 5 Million fan base gets only 0.5% response (includes likes and comments)at max per post.
Facebook’s own page which has over 26 Million fans gets roughly between .1 to .3% response.
Therefore, reach out to a set of audience you think could help you with the business. If you are a wedding photographer, it makes little sense to promote your page to someone in Iran when your operational area is limited to India. It will surely increase the number of users but may not lead to commercial benefits.
Personally, I am very choosy of who joins my page and with a fan base of around 450 my photos receive response of somewhere between .8% and 7% with an average of 4.2%.
Being selective has helped me stay close to constructive criticism and has helped me generate constant revenues which otherwise may not have been possible. Initially, it was a little tough but as the good work started spreading, word also spread. My work has taken me to a lot of places across India (all expenses paid).
Once you have constant revenues, you may opt for Facebook ads which are highly customisable as per age and locational preferences. They work out real cheap!
If you take care of above points it is sure to result in a great fan page with quality fan base. Do you run a fan page? How is your experience from commercial standpoint?
This has been a repost from Digital Photography School.