I simply cannot claim to be an expert on the subject but I think over the past several months I have learned a few things about navigating the social networking world of the working photographer. As an old school Vermonter at the ripe old age of 37 (gasp!) I entered the photographers world of online networking with a certain amount of hesitation. I was not entirely sold on the idea of having a blog or a twitter account…who would be interested in what I have to say?
Learning the rules of this world was like being back in school all over again. I had a plan for what I wanted to accomplish, But there was no road map for me to follow, No list of things to do and not to do. Of course I have made my mistakes here in my social networking efforts but that’s how you learn. Through lots of hard work with my blog, Twitter feed and Facebook fan page I think I have picked up a few pieces of helpful information. The world wants to know what you have to say….Here is a few tips to point you in the right direction!
1. DO spell check your work – A sure-fire way to get someone to pass by your blog or article is to not spell check your work or to use bad grammar. This one should be obvious, Everyone makes a mistake and misses a word or phrase here and there but an effort should be made to present a well thought out piece with no errors.
2. DO become a part of the community After all this is social networking…You are here to interact with the people who are following you or reading your blog. I try to be as accessible as I can and when time allows. I want to meet new people and see what they have to say. Interact and share as much as you ca, It will go a long way towards building your fan base.
3. DON”T abuse the tweet system on Twitter by tweeting nonsense every two seconds, twenty-four hours a day!. This bothers me tremendously because if I have a list of say 100 photographers and one person tweets random junk then I can never see what everyone else is saying. Be relevent but don’t overdo it. Remember this is you talking to other people..No one wants to hang out with the annoying chatterbox at the party.
4. DON”T get pissed and give up because you have no followers or no one is reading your blog – It really does take time and constant effort to build up your fan base. Just because you have a presence on the internet does not mean your going to have instant success and people are going to hang on your every word. I started with zero readers and followers but over time and with patience my efforts are paying off with actual people who care about what I say! Dont ever give up. analyze whats not working and change it!
5. DO respond to everyone who comments or starts a conversation with you – This is important because you start to build up actual personal relationships with people which is why we are all here in the first place. I make it a point everyday to respond to all the comments and kind words that I recieceve..Even if it is just a simple thank you. Show people respect and you will get it right back.
6. DO remember that your personality and your presence shows in your writing and how you say things-Always remember that you are presenting YOU! Never be bitchy or confrontational because it’s another sign for someone to move on from your site. You as a photographer are in competition with thousands of others out there. Be yourself but be mindful of what you say and how.
7. DO have relevant content – I am a photographer so I stick to that and I never talk about cooking or that paper cut I got on my finger last week! I am projecting myself and my work and trying to build interest in what I do as an artist and I am sure no one wants to hear the mundane details of my life. I stick to my chosen subject and never stray to far from this.
8. Do share what you have to say but share others information as well – It is helpful and beneficial for you to Like and retweet things that you find interesting that other photogs are saying out there. If I like something written or an image then I will re-post it somehow and let my followers know it. It is a win-win for everyone because you all have different networks of friends so more and different people will see what you are sharing….Share and Share alike!
9. Do robotweet if you must but don’t let them sound so “mechanical.”- I schedule tweets throughout the day during the week because…I have a day job and simply cannot tweet while I am working! While I am at work I can put out my content every few hours through scheduled tweets versus once in the morning and no one ever seeing it at all. I like my tweets to at least sound like I am typing them and not just like a form letter. I want to make them as personal as I can.
10. DON”T just start a blog or Twitter feed and rehash and re-post what you see around the web-Be honest and show people who you are and what you are about. I think this is what drives people to return to your sites. For me I want to be creative and create my own content and things to share…Not what someone else has already done. If I like something I will share and link to it but not copy and paste it.