Ramon had a chance to chat with Li Hayes and the PPA.com network — Professional Photographers of America — on Facebook Live about how social media can help kickstart your business. While social media marketing is nothing new, this pandemic has caused many businesses to start thinking outside of the box. Marketing needs to be better, smarter and more intentional. All industries have been affected. However, as you can imagine, photographers are having an especially tough time since in-person events have been paused.
All business owners should have a social media presence. And since we are in a time of dramatic change, businesses that didn’t formally utilize social media are now considering it a new way to interact and connect with their audience. Photographers are known to use social media as a way to showcase their work since it’s so visual. Social media channels are perfect for that. But how you engage on these platforms can play a huge role in what it does.
Reinvent and Problem Solve
Ramon urges business owners to check out the book Story Brand by Don Miller. The key points are relevant to the topic we are discussing. There is always a problem you’re solving when working with customers. For photographers, the problem might be that they need great photos, but there is a deeper, more internal problem to solve as well — and it’s that people want memories, visuals, and to showcase what they are doing.
Ramon suggests working on the problem backward — for instance, you were doing in-person event photography before, but can you do virtual photography for events and meetings that take place online? Businesses are still marketing themselves, people are still getting married on Zoom, and families are still finding ways to come together. These moments should be captured as well, even if they look different from before.
FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, is another way to look at this idea. It works by enticing people and showing them what others are doing. In our social life, FOMO feels pretty terrible, and it’s the same professionally as well. Show what other speakers are doing with their online events and photography. Ramon even explained how he saw other professionals in his network with some great marketing images that came from virtual events, and he immediately knew he needed that too.
Photographers can’t just “take pictures” anymore. This is an industry where the messaging can change to really pull at people's heartstrings with proper messaging. Use phrases that go beyond the norm to stand out from the competition.
Social Media Do’s
Ramon shared some things to keep in mind if you’re a photographer (or any business, really).
- What people are doing online: People are generally doing one of two things when they are online — searching for something or looking for something to share. Where do you fall? What is your content offering to these people?
- Be an educator: Provide value. This is what allows people to see you as credible and professional. Plus, they get to see your range of knowledge and will want to work with you.
- Think of the acronym FREA: Frequency, Relevancy, Engagement, Analytics. These are tools you should be using to measure the success of your social media efforts.
- Provide an action: Basically, there should always be Call to Action, known as a CTA.
6 Extra Tips
You might not be able to utilize all of these ideas every time you post, but they should impact how, when, and what is posted.
- It’s about giving, not taking: offer content that will help people gain knowledge, share content from other accounts with your followers, and offer insightful ideas. Social is not about taking, but rather about what you can provide and offer to your audience.
- Get insights on your market: Listen to what people are saying, notice what they are doing and how they are interacting. Take note of this so it can inform your social media plans.
- Write powerful headlines: What you say matters, and how you say can determine the level of impact it makes. Ramon also suggests using your name in your copy to create a brand awareness. Instead of saying “I recommend…” considering using the phrase, “Ramon recommends…”. This creates a brand identity that people will grow to trust.
- Be digitally engaging: Make your content interesting and useful. Consider if what you’re posting will be helpful to your followers who are not professionals in your industry but rather potential customers.
- Have fun with your content: Keep changing it up, have a unique voice, and use social as a means to show of your who you are in a creative way.
- Tell a story: People love stories! Detail a recent project, post images from one of your fave shoots, and show behind the scene content.
While many of these tips and ideas would work any business, they are especially true for photographers. COVID-19 threw a wrench into everyone’s life, but some business owners and entrepreneurs are having a more difficult time digging themselves out of the change due to events and in-person gatherings being extremely limited. Try to connect and build your audience on your social media and this way you’ll be top of mind once restrictions are lifted. Or, maybe you can show people how your services can be used even during this changing time.