Successful Social Media for Photographers
My liveBooks website (http://www.missaniela.com) plays the role of the portfolio or gallery, the place where I show what I like to think is a refined collection of my best work. Viewers can navigate easily to the different areas to find out about prints, books, and my contact information. The website is a showcase, a place that is generally consistent. My blog, however, is a place where I constantly update information, share essays or thoughts, and promote events. The way I choose to use Flickr is rather like a studio, where I share lots of images and use it as a gauge for reactions and comments. I also use Flickr as a place to display my images while I determine which ones appeal to me most, and which ones I want to add to the galleries on my main website.
Believe it or not, the idea of using social networks to engage with a new audience or to point them to my website, blog or Flickr stream, is still new to me. The interaction itself was natural, but the idea of "marketing" myself is still fresh, and I am embracing email marketing and am using my new site to invite people to join my mailing list, with the incentive of winning a prize each month.
I have also learnt about the importance of using Facebook and Twitter, as these sites are so popular, and there may be one audience on one site that isn't on the other. By having both a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/missanielaphotography) and a Twitter page (www.twitter.com/missaniela) I can release updates, for example when I have a new blog post, to let the followers or "fans" on those networks know about my latest stuff, e.g. a new picture, an upcoming event or book.
With the advent of the iPhone and Blackberry, and new devices like the iPad, people are sharing and accessing information on the move more than ever, and connecting through social networking sites as a regular part of their everyday routine. For businesses in general, it's a self-promoting opportunity not to be missed. For self-employed artists, it's almost a necessity.
All that said, it's important to use these tools strategically and in moderation. I know it well myself - not everyone enjoys having artists' constant self-promoting updates shoved in their face, even if they are signed up to your Twitter feed, Facebook page or mailing list. My work is very personal, so sometimes the ‘real me' and the ‘artist me' get confused and merged, so to avoid feeling like I am sharing my whole self and life on the internet, I try to keep my posts informative. I know I always appreciate other people's occasional jest or anecdote, however, so I reciprocate with my own, particularly on Twitter. And, just as importantly, if you're like me and trying to get the most out of social networking sites as promoting tools, make sure you also have a life outside of the internet and have a time in the day when you can keep them turned off!
Lastly, if you are a photographer (or indeed, anyone who works with images or art of any kind) and you want a website like mine, or to transform your existing one, check out liveBooks' pre-designed sites. You can use the promo code MISSANIELA to get 10 percent off the $39/month price (forever) and you get a 14-day free trial, too.