Social Media for Photographers

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When it comes to being a photographer, there is no shortage of online networks waiting for you to share your images, interact with others and potentially grow your business. From Google+ to Facebook, Twitter to Pinterest, 500px to Flickr, you have more options at your disposal now then ever before. But what really is Social Media? Why is it so important? Which networks are best for your needs? And most importantly, what are some of the ways that you can maximize your time on each of the major networks? Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing a series of posts titled “Social Media for Photographers”. While I will be giving a broad over view of social media here today, each subsequent blog post will cover a specific social network, allowing you to have a more in depth look at the positive and negative aspects of nearly all of the choices out there.

As for my background in Social Media, I am a full time photographer and entreprenuer that was fortunate enough to see the writing on the wall when it came to Social Media and Social Networks within the context of the photography industry a few years ago. I currently have just short of 2,000,000 followers on Google+, 126,000 on Facebook, 2,734 on Twitter, 788 followers on Instagram and so on and so forth. This past year I published my first book on Social Media titled Google+ for Photographers (non affiliate link) and I use social media almost purely as my sole source of marketing for my two photography companies, Colby Brown Photography and The Giving Lens. I also consult with many of the biggest photography companies in the industry in order to help them better understand and improve their use of social media in a dynamic and changing market. Bottom line, I love social media, I love statistics and I love sharing my knowledge on the subject.

Lets get started…

What is Social Media?

According to Wikipedia, which I hate using as “source” even if it seems fitting for this subject matter, says that “Social media is web and mobile-based technologies which are use to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities and individuals”. To be fair, this definition is pretty spot on. So many people look at Social Media and Social Networks as this incredibly foreign concept, when in reality it is just about giving you the potential to connect and communicate with people around the world. Figuring out what you do with that potential connection, is the challenge. Not every photographer on a social network is there to make money. Some might be looking for inspiration, others for education. Regardless, if you begin to look at social media networks as simply digital platforms that allow you to personally connect with other individuals, your anxiety and uncertainty about jumping in might begin to fade.

The old school methods of marketing and advertising are not only antiquated, they have lost much of their value. Why? Because companies and individuals are beginning to understand that spending $30,000 for an ad to run for a single month in Outdoor Photographer with the hopes of it capturing a potential customers attention for the 1.2 seconds they have to make an impression is not the best use of money anymore. Instead companies are developing full social marketing teams to find ways to connect with new customers in more personal and vital ways than ever before.

Why are Social Networks Important?

If we can all accept the fact that social networks are platforms that give you the chance to connect with individuals from all over the planet, we should know exactly how much potential reach that might include. According to the Internet World Stats website, in 2011 there were 2,267,233,742 active Internet users in the world. This breaks down to roughly 32.7% of the entire population of this planet. Any guesses to how much of a % increase that was from 2000?

From the Internet World Stats Website, click for link

If you guessed (or simply looked at the chart above), you would have seen that there was a 528.1% increase in Internet users world wide between 2000 & 2011. That is a pretty staggering number. Some other interesting statistics can be found in this study. North America for example, had roughly 78.6% of its entire population go online, however they only account for 12% of the overall Internet users worldwide. Asia on the other hand had the most Internet users by far with 1,016,799,076, which equated out to 44.8% of all active Internet users, but only 26.1% of the regions total population. Knowing this information will become more relevant later in the blog post. Considering the trajectory of these numbers, one can assume that this trend will only continue to increase as a.) technology continues to advance at break neck speeds b.) the world’s population continues to sky rocket and c.) as a species we continue to become more accustomed to using the Internet in our daily lives.

In the past, one had to spend large sums of money on flyers, advertisements and mailers with the hopes that hopes that those you sent this material cared enough to see it in the first place. Now you have potential access to billions of people through the Internet and these social networks. Anyone care to go back to the “good ole days”? Not me!

The Social Age of the Internet

Now to truly understand the importance of Social Media, you need to understand where we are in relation to the lifespan of the Internet. In the last 24 months, we have successfully entered the 3rd generation of the Internet. While the 1st generation had a focus on content with the .Com explosion, the 2nd generation was all about making that content dynamic. A great example of this is the phenomenon that became streaming video (YouTube & Vimeo come to mind). The 3rd generation, where we are presently, is all about trusted content…effectively the “social” age of the net. Now what do I mean by trusted content?

Google's Search Plus Your World Image Search Results

Google’s Search Plus Your World – Social Effecting Search Results

In life, real life that is, most of us put a high value on information that comes from someone we know. The better we know them, the higher the value. For example, if my wife told me that her massage therapist was the best in the world and that I should go in for a session, I would take her at her word. However if some random guy walked up to me in the parking lot of Whole Foods Market and told me the same thing…I might be a little worried. That same principle applies to the Internet in this new social age. How it applies is actually very simple. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook and Google (arguably the two largest companies on the Internet) are at their core ADVERTISING companies. While both provide free services and products, I am sure we are all smart enough to know that nothing in life is truly free. This means that the bulk of their revenue actually comes from providing advertisements to you and I as we use their networks for our own means.

Ads on Facebook

Ads on Facebook’s home page that FB thinks I want to see

Now for those of you that have never taken an advertising class in college, the general idea is to present a product or service to individuals that are more likely to want or need said product or service. In the past this was done through data mining of past purchasing patterns, surveys and membership card programs, but the problem was that the data never told the whole story. Google, Facebook and other social networks are now taking this formula to the next level. How? Everytime you LIKE, +1, COMMENT and RE-TWEET content on any of these networks, that information is not only being stored, it is being studied. These companies want to not only know what what content you have interacted with in the past, they want to know how much you trust those you have connected with online. This however is done not only to offer more accurate advertisements, it is also done to help combat NOISE in most social networks.

What is Noise?

When it comes to Social Media, noise is one of the most important variables to understand as an end user or a business. Noise is effectively all of the content published online that an individual does NOT want to see. This can be spam, an unwanted marketing pitch or even a photograph that we do not care for. Effectively it is content that gets in the way of the content that we actually want to see and interact with. Most networks combat this issue with advanced filters (mathematical algorithms) that’s sole purpose is to show us the content it thinks we want to see. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If you have 200 “fans” on your photography Facebook page, not everyone will see every post you publish…even if they were all online starring at their news feed as you published a post. Why? Because Facebook’s noise filter attempts to determine which of your followers wants to see the content you published in order to maintain order on its network.

Facebook Noise filter prevents all 125k of my FB Subscribers from seeing every one of my posts

Facebook Noise filter prevents all 125k of my FB Subscribers from seeing every one of my posts

With 950 million active users on FB, there would be chaos if everyone saw everything from everyone they connected with. This is also a good time to point out that Facebook weighs content differently depending on where it is coming from. A business/fan page is valued differently from a personal profile…in fact it weighs its value less from within the noise filter in Facebook. What do I mean? If you have 200 followers on your Facebook personal profile and the same 200 followers on your photography fan page and you had the ability to post the same image in both places at the same exact time, the image being published from your fan/business page would automatically be seen by less people than your personal page. Why does Facebook do this? The most obvious answer is money. They want you to pay for your posts to be seen by your followers when running a business page. That is what the new “promoted stories” option actually is. Paying to have your posts seen by more people that already follow you in the first place. This is one of the core reasons that many photographers are abandoning their Facebook fan/business pages and instead taking advantage of the new “Subscriber” model on their personal profile. But I will get more into this on my post about Facebook specifically in the coming weeks.

Spam found on Google+ that added to the Noise of the Network

Noise is something that everyone has to compete with. If you want an image or a specific post to reach a certain number of individuals, you have to plan accordingly. The words you use, the type of content (internal upload vs hyperlink vs RSS feed) and the time of day all play a crucial role in getting the most of our your social media experience and while working around the challenge of noise drowning out your content on the network. A fundamental understanding of noise and how social networking noise filters work will help you get a few steps ahead of the game.

* It is important to point out that Twitter does not have any such filter. You will ALWAYS see all of the content being “tweeted” from those you to follow on the network. This is also one of the reasons that many people feel Twitter is way to chaotic. We will talk more about this soon…

What Social Networks Are Out There?

As I discussed earlier, when it comes to the sheer number of social networks that you as a photographer have access to, the number can be some what intimidating. How many people truly know which networks they should be on or where they should focus their limited time and energy? I imagine that most are simply guessing. So lets do a fairly simple break down of each of the networks, their positive and negative traits and which each Network is good at offering different types of photographers.

Colorado Photographer Colby Brown's Facebook Profile

Colby Brown’s Facebook Profile

NameFacebook
User Base:
950+ Million Users (public information)
The Positives:

  • Facebook is the largest social network in the world in terms of users
  • More likely than not, your friends, family and co-workers are already on the network
  • Facebook is working hard to improve its mobile applications
  • “Subscriptions” solved the limitation problem with only being able to have 5,000 Facebook friends
  • Did I mention that everyone and their mother is there already?

The Negatives:

  • The vast majority of users are there to stay connected with their friends, family and co-workers..not to purchase products or engage with people they don’t know.
  • The small group mentality makes it difficult to build a following. Think I am wrong, start a Photography Fan Page and find out for yourself :)
  • Facebook still has a problem with Image compression (meaning their system compress your image in ways that may make your photograph look worse than it actually is)
  • Facebook has a public perception issue when it comes to privacy
  • Facebook is the least liked Social Network in terms of Customer Satisfaction, ranking in at 61% (LINK)
  • Facebook’s IPO has dropped over half of its value since it went public because of a lack of investor confidence
  • Overall Interest in Facebook has dropped over the years where many users are not excited to be there any more, instead they are on the network simple because that is where their friends and family are. In the long run, this is a huge problem.

Summary

If you are a photographer that shoots portrait, wedding, event or local sports photography than you will have a higher chance of finding clients on Facebook than most of the other networks. If you shoot landscape, travel, adventure sports or nature photography, you have better outlets on other networks to try to make print sales or get your work seen by more people. If you are looking for inspiration, education or a photography community to connect with, I have found that Facebook falls short. Flickr, Google+ and 500px all over a much more robust and open community if you are looking for those things.

Colorado Photographer Colby Brown's Google Plus Profile

Colby Brown’s Google+ Profile Page

Name: Google+
User Base: 336 million active users (Global Web Index)
The Positives:

  • Google+ is the social layer for ALL things Google, it is not just a social network
  • Great UI (User Interface). Your images will look beautiful
  • Solid privacy controls
  • A thriving Photography Community has established itself on the network
  • Google+ Hangouts (Free video conferencing with up to 10 people from anywhere in the world)
  • Google employees are very receptive to feedback to improve the user experience
  • The mobile experience is gorgeous and fluid
  • All public content is indexed for Google search
  • Being active on Google+ increases your chance of improving your standing in search results (will explain in the Google+ specific post)
  • Google+ users have the highest amount of customer satisfaction among social networks (LINK)
  • Google just purchased NIK SOFTWARE. What this means for Google+ and Android, we don’t know just yet.

The Negatives:

  • Google+ still has a negative public image. The words “ghost town” are used when describing the network by tech journalists, even though it is far from the truth
  • Your friends, family and co-workers will most likely not be on G+
  • Google is still very young when it comes to understanding digital social dynamics. AKA their NOISE filters are not as good as they should be
  • Google has yet to release the API which allows users to post to Google+ from other applications
  • Google+ is NOT Facebook, which means that new users sometimes have a hard time getting their feet wet because they try to treat it like it is

Summary:

Google+ is a great network if you are looking for inspiration, education, a photo community or if you are a photo educator. In its current form, you will find it more challenging to book clients if you are a portrait, wedding, event or local sports photographer. Its structure and feature set are geared towards promoting engagement and giving plenty of opportunities to connect with other photographers and photography centered companies, especially with the Google+ Hangout feature. However its biggest draw for photographers will be that Google indexes all public posts to be searchable in their search engine, which equates to over 64% of all search online (more on this in the Google+ specific blog post). Bottom line, if you are active on Google+, you have the potential to drastically effect your own search results.

Colby Brown’s Twitter Profile

Name: Twitter
User Base: 517 million twitter accounts, although only 262 million are active Global Web Index)
The Positives:

  • Simplistic form of communication, every “tweet” is limited to only 140 characters..the same as a text message
  • Instant communication gives you access to directly connect with other individuals and companies in the blink of an eye
  • News has been found to be breaking on twitter before anywhere else
  • There are no NOISE filters, which means everything you post is visible, but competing with all other content on Twitter
  • The use of Hashtags (#keyword) allows for easy search results to find the tweets you want

The Negatives:

  • You are limited to 140 characters per “Tweet”
  • Twitter is polarized within its user base. Most either absolutely love it or have no clue what to do with it. Very little in between
  • Looking at a twitter feed can be intimidating because content is flying at you very fast
  • Only half of the users with accounts are active (517 million accounts – 262 million active users)
  • Of the 3 most popular social networks, it has the least amount of users (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter)

Summary:

Twitter is a phenomenal tool to instantly connect with individuals and companies around the world. While its fast pace and constant flow of content will be a put off the many, the fact the news is beginning to break on twitter before anywhere else online is a great example of the value of the network for spreading content and information. Will you sell prints or find new wedding clients? Mostly likely not…although it is not impossible. I look at Twitter as the worlds quickest communication tool to communicate with others directly, speak to a business about a problem or easily share the content I am publishing on my website.

Colorado Photographer Colby Brown's Flickr Profile

Colby Brown’s Flickr Profile

Name: Flickr
User Base: 80 million unique visitors world wide (A June 2011 report from Yahoo)
The Positives:

  • Flickr is an “Interest Network”, which means that its focus is purely on sharing images
  • 4.5 million photos are uploaded to flickr every day (Source is same link as above)
  • Your images receive very little image compression once uploaded to Flickr, which means they look closer to the same image viewed on your computer than other social networks
  • You can licence images to Getty straight from Flickr
  • I know many photographers that make plenty of print sales from being active on Flickr

The Negatives:

  • Yahoo as a company is struggling to stay relevant in an Internet that has passed them by
  • The interaction on Flickr is not very exciting or personal
  • The look of Flickr itself is VERY outdated
  • People are not as excited about Flickr as they once were. Most professionals I know have moved on from the network.

Summary:

If you are looking to licence images or try to make print sales, Flickr might be a good choice for you. However because of its outdated look and fairly stagnant forms of interaction, the network itself has lost its luster for many photographers, myself included. Do I hope that Flickr re-invents itself? Absolutely. But I am not holding my breath as there are plenty of other options in the social networking world that fill the gaps left by my lack of activity on Flickr.

Colorado Photographer Colby Brown's 500px Profile

Colby Brown’s 500px Profile

Name: 500px
User Base: No exact # of users, but a very conservative estimate was over 90k unique visitors a month on average (not confirmed)
The Positives:

  • 500px, like Flickr, is an Interest network where the sole purpose is to share beautiful photographs
  • It is a phenomenal place to find photographic inspiration
  • Images look beautiful on the network
  • 500px relies on crowd sourcing for ranking images, which effects how visible an image is. The higher the rating, the better chance the image will be seen by others
  • You can now sell prints through 500px (via “Awesome” or “Plus” Membership only)
  • You can use 500px as your Portfolio/Website (via “Awesome” Membership only)

The Negatives:

  • The rating system can be “gamed”, allowing you to rate a photo negatively. Get enough negative votes and your image will drop its rating fast
  • The user base for 500px is fairly small in comparison to the other social networks
  • In selling your prints on 500px, you can not set your own prices. This is a deal breaker for many. (Thanks to Matt Suess for pointing this out)
  • The quality of images visible on 500px on average is far greater than flickr. This can cause new photographers to feel intimidated
  • 500px is very popular in Europe and the EU has a more open stance towards sexuality. Thus there seems to be more nude (tasteful) photography than other photo specific networks. For some this is a turn off, no pun intended :)

Summary:

500px is a phenomenal network to share your best images and look for inspiration from some other very talented artists. While the rating system isn’t perfect, 500px has continued to work to refine it to absolve the issues of “gaming” the system over the last year. Would I use the network to sell prints, personally no..especially since I can not set the price. But for a photographer that is just starting out, paying for an “Awesome” account and using 500px to host a somewhat custom website/portfolio is certainly not a bad idea. At the end of the day, having another location to host your images on the Internet like 500px doesn’t hurt.

The landing page for Instagram.com

Name: Instagram (username = colbybrownphotography)
User Base: 80+ million users
The Positives:

  • Fastest growing mobile photography network
  • Simple to use, all images maintain the square look and you only have a small handful of filters to apple to an uploaded image
  • It is FUN! It is nice to have a social network for photographers that isn’t professional and serious all the time
  • You can post your Instagram photos directly to Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare as your upload them to Instagram

The Negatives:

  • Instagram has a somewhat negative perception from some “professional” photographers (although I disagree).
  • The square limitations to images being uploaded to Instagram can stifle some creativity
  • Certain Instagram filters are very popular, leading many images on the network to have the same look and feel
  • Instagram is PURELY a mobile photo sharing network currently. Instagram.com is nothing more than a landing page directing you to the IOS and Android store to download the app. There are a few 3rd party websites that allow you to browse Instagram photos on a website, but no official support
  • You can NOT share an instagram photo directly to Google+, although this is not Instagram’s fault…it is Google’s.

Summary:

Instagram offers a great fun mobile photo sharing experience. It is fairly simplistic in nature, but many feel that is what makes Instagram so great. Most of its 80 million users are highly active on the network, allowing for a positive social experience for most. Professionally, I use Instagram to share images of my life, travels and family as well as behind the scenes photos of my adventures around the globe. It is a great dumping place for many of my cell phone images that I don’t care to share on my main Social Networks and for that reason I am a huge fan of Instagram.

Colorado Photographer Colby Brown on Pinterest

Colby Brown’s Pinterest Profile

Name: Pinterest
User Base: 23 million as of July (Comscore)
The Positives:

  • One of the fastest growing social networks today
  • 1.7 billion page views a month
  • Simple to use. Create boards to organize your content. Pin content to said boards. Enjoy!
  • The whole idea is for content to spread easily.
  • You can “pin” content from nearly any website (aside from those that add HTML to block pinning)
  • The demographics on the network are heavily in favor of women (90% last I heard)
  • Perfect for wedding, portrait photographers

The Negatives:

  • Has a relatively small user base
  • Some photographers fear its abuse of supposed copyright infringement
  • It is not the best network for interaction
  • Lacks diversity in over all demographics of users

Summary:

Pinterest is the relatively new kid on the social media block. Because it is new, certain market segments are enthralled…some would even say obsessed with it. While some photographers are worried about supposed copyright infringement, in the vast majority of cases this is a facade. Most users do not upload content directly to Pinterest, instead they “Pin” content they find on other websites to their Pinterest boards. The thumbnail and connected hyperlink than live on that “pin” on your boards, allowing other users to follow it back to the original website. This has potential to help drive traffic back to your own photography website if you leverage your time on Pinterest effectively. However I do not see Pinterest offering much in the way of increasing print sales, finding new contract work or offering anything in the form of education for aspiring photographers. I feel that one has to be fairly active on Pinterest in order to drive enough traffic back to your website in order to see any true gains in the form of selling prints or ebooks. Because the demographics are so heavily swayed towards women, I know many wedding and portrait photographers that are making a killing using Pinterest as a way to meet new clients and connect with Wedding planners in order to secure future jobs. I do however LOVE using Pinterest to find inspiration.

Colby Brown’s Linked IN Profile

Name: Linked in
User Base: 175 million users (LinkedIN Press Release)
The Positives:

  • The only major social network for Professionals
  • You can apply to find a new job from Linked in
  • Your profile can consist of your resume
  • You can easily write and receive the online equivalent of “letters of recommendation” from other professionals you are connected with on the network.
  • Stats can tell you how many people have viewed your profile as well as how many times your profile has appeared in search results within Linked in

The Negatives:

  • Many people think that those on Linked in are only there to look for jobs
  • The different types of interaction possible on Linked in are less than Google+ or Facebook
  • There are not to many photographers on Linked in

Summary:

Linked in is the social network for you to maintain and grow professional relationships with other individuals around the globe. As a photographer and entrepreneur, I have found it useful to reach out and connect with PR & Marketing firms, tourism boards and photography related companies to find ways to collaborate on projects. While many photographers request to connect with me on Linked in, I truly see no point. If you are a semi pro or hobbiests that enjoys photography on the side of your normal profession, than I recommend maintaining a profile on the network. In the very least you can connect to any number of photography related “groups” to connect with other photographers to talk “shop”.

Colby Brown’s Stipple Profile Page

Name: Stipple (New & in BETA Invite only)
User Base: 3000+ Users
The Positives:

  • All about attribution. The idea of Stipple is for you to be able to maintain attribution and control over your images as they flow throughout the Internet. (Watch VIDEO demo)
  • Images look absolutely gorgeous on Stipple. Arguably better than every other social network.
  • You can “pin” extra content to your images, linking to related articles, videos or the ability for the image to be purchased. These pins are maintained on ALL versions of your image out on the Internet when hosted on a Stipple friendly website such as “Tumblr”
  • Stats and tracking of your image reach is available, allowing Stipple to tell you how many times your image has been viewed both inside Stipple as well as all connected networks as well as how many people have clicked on your “pins”, giving you a better idea of how well received your photography work is around the net.
  • Built in e-commerce support (in Alpha currently)
  • Stipple employees are incredibly respective to user feedback. They want its beta users to help improve its product and services at every corner

The Negatives:

  • Stipple is in Beta, which means some bugs are present and the feature set is not 100% defined out just yet

Summary:

Stipple is a brand new social network that is just getting started. The focus is geared towards controlling and maintaining the attribution and related content to any of your photographs online. I have been incredibly impressed with just how good my photographs look on Stipple. Because it is in beta, there are a few bugs but overall my experience has been very positive and the features are solid so far. Watch this VIDEO, which will give you a better overall view of Stipple. Even though it is a closed beta, you can apply for an Invite, in which case you will be accepted usually within 24-48 hours.

Developing a Social Media Strategy

When all is said and done, one needs to develop a social networking strategy in order to help make sense of the chaos of the Internet as well as utilize the little time you may have to be online in the most effective manor. No matter if you just want to find other photographers to talk with or if you want to leverage social media to increase your business, going into social media with a game plan is key.

Where Should I Invest My Time?

There is a common misconception by full time photographers that everyone is like us. Take myself for example. I run multiple photography companies, have employees that work for me and spend nearly all of my marketing time online. Do you think that I resemble your average photographer or photo enthusiast? Not by a long shot. While I dedicate a lot of time to social networking and have an active presence on every network I mentioned above, this is not required. I imagine that most of you have other jobs, responsibilities and interests keep you from following your passion for photography 24 hours a day, which includes your time online. You don’t need to listen to the pros that tell you that you have to be everywhere, all the time. It isn’t realistic. Time management is just as vital as having an online presence.

The contact page on my website with all my networks

Instead, you should focus your time and energy on the networks that you feel best fit your reasons for being online in the first place. If you are a portrait and wedding photographer that is looking for more clients, Facebook or Pinterest will probably be your best bets. Want to engage with other photographers to find more people like yourself, than you will want to be active on Google+. Are you worried about attribution and copyright, Stipple might be the place for you. Do you just want to have fun sharing mobile photography, Instgram is calling your name.

Phenomenal landscape and wildlife photographer Jon Cornforth reaching out to connect with me on Twitter while on my way up to Alaska this past summer

Long story short, you DO NOT need to be everywhere all the time. Each of these networks offer different kinds of interaction to different market segments. Find the ones that work for you. Over the next few weeks, I will go more in-depth with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram/Pinterest and Stipple as individual blog posts. Tune in to find our more information.

Check Your Ego At the Door

One of the biggest traps to fall into as a photographer on a social network is to let your own ego cause you problems. The “Popularity Contest” mentality is painful to watch and will end up hurting you in the end. What do I mean by this? If you are on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter and you have ever looked at someone else online and said, “I am a better photographer than that guy (or girl)….why do they have more followers than me”…than you have been sucked into that mentality. I will let everyone in on a little secret right now. Follower numbers have ZERO correlation to the quality of photographer, artist or human being…..never has….never will. Case in point, on Google+ Britney Spears has 4.4 million followers. Lindsey Stirling has 13,000 followers. Lindsey is 100x the song writer and artist of Spears. Wait…did I just reference Britney Spears? Yikes!

 

Lindsey Stirling, a seriously amazing musician. Click on image for link to G+ profile

Don’t get caught up in the numbers game. Instead focus on building connections and relationships with the followers you have. After all, it is 100x better to have 100 followers that engage and interact with everything you put out than 1 million that don’t really care.

Engage, Engage, Engage

Strangely, the idea of engagement seems to be a foreign concept with so many photographers online.

Colorado Photographer, Colby Brown's Image of The Subway in Zion National Park

This image gave me 351 opportunities to engage with users on Google+

To often I see photographers that expect both followers and interaction to appear out of thin air. One thing to keep in mind is that you are essentially competing with other content every time you post online. Remember our NOISE conversation earlier? So how do you get around this challenge? The answer is simple. Engage. Engage. Engage.

When ever you have an opportunity to engage with other users online in a meaningful way, I highly recommend taking advantage. For some this idea might sounds crazy, but if you get to know and engage with your followers and other individuals online, you have a much higher chance to receive such engagement as well. The general idea is that you want to form your own little community on each of the networks you are active in. Why? So that you have a group of people you can count on for engagement. This is important because of what I call the “snowball effect”. Have you ever walked by a restaurant, looked inside only to see no customers and think…man, do I really want to eat here? My guess is probably not. Now what if that restaurant had a bunch of happy customers? That changes things a little. When it comes to social networks, things are not too different.

Part of my Daily Inspiration series on Google+ that went quasi viral because of the amount of engagement early on

What if I told you that I could tell if one of my posts was going to go viral just by looking at the interaction in the first 20 minutes of it being published? How can I possibly know this? Well, for the following two reasons.

1.) All social networks are geared toward inciting interaction from within the network. Every social networks biggest assets is the content you share on that network. The more engagement, the happier the users. The happier the users, the more they share.

2.) Just like food in a grocery store, a post on any social network has a general life span or shelf life of relevance, that is typically pretty short. Because all of our content is competing with everyone else’s content for attention, it is easy for an amazing post to slip by our eyes without us ever noticing. However every time a post is re-shared or interacted with, the shelf life of that post to extended by a small amount. If a post gets enough interaction early on, it has a forward momentum that can help propel it long enough to encourage more interaction.

My circle for my own little mini community on Google+

If you have a community around you as a user on any of these networks that engages with your content on a regular basis, you have a leg up and overcoming that first hurdle of extending the life span of your post enough to keep it relevant.

Engaging with other people on line is the “social” part of social networking and social media. Try not to forget that!

It Can’t Be Just About you

I have some bad news for everyone. No matter how good looking, clever or smart. No matter how amazing you are as an artist or human being. You are NOT interesting enough for anyone on this planet to listen to you talk about yourself for 24 hours a day straight. A perfect example is my wife. The love of my life. The one woman that I choose to spend the rest of my life with. If we sat a table together and she just talked about herself for 24 hours straight, even though I love her more than anything…Well, lets just say it wouldn’t be pretty. So why are you any different?

I re-shared Michael Bonocore’s beautiful image of Capital Reef NP on Facebook to my followers

Why am I bringing this up? Too often I see photographers only focus on themselves and never stray beyond that very narrow narrative of itisallaboutme.com.  In my professional opinion, I strongly dislike the idea of creating a fan page specifically for your photography, especially if your photography business has your name in it. Why? Because this is a massive crutch for you to just talk about yourself…all day…every day. If you look on Google+ and Facebook, the two largest social networks in existence, you will NOT find a fan/business page for Colby Brown Photography. Why? Because I feel that I am my own brand for every one of my photography companies. This means that my interests and passions outside of photography play a role in shaping who I am, which I feel also effects my photography work and who I am as an artist. If you follow me, you will learn that I love to talk about photography, as well as travel, technology, humanitarian efforts and my family. Even within the subject of photography, you will find that more times than not, I am not just sharing my own photography work, talking about my workshops or pushing out links to purchase my books. Instead you will find me sharing the work of other photographers that I find inspiring (such as Michael Bonocore‘s image above on Facebook), talking about collaborating on projects with my colleagues, and answering questions from other photographers. Why? Because not even I would want to hear my own voice for 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Social Media for Photographers ebook

In Q1 of 2013 I will be releasing a new ebook titled “Social Media for Photographers”. It will not only contain all of the updated information in this post for that time frame, but also expand upon the idea of developing a social media strategy as well as offering in-depth tips and tricks for each of the major social networks. The book will cost around $4.99. Below is a sign up page to be notified of its launch.

“Social Media for Photographers” e-book Announcement

* indicates required
 
          
          

Wrapping Up

As I mentioned previously, I will be publishing a series of posts that focus on some of the more prevalent social networks for photographers in the coming weeks, giving you a more in-depth look at these platforms and sharing my tips and tricks for maximizing your time at each of these sites.

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  • enlightphoto

    RT @colbybrownphoto An in-depth look at social media for photographers. – http://t.co/ndMdPWPn – Wow, looks like a great read. Thx, Colby.

  • theDC

    @jeremycowart @colbybrownphoto I think you might have crashed his server. :p

  • theDC

    @jeremycowart @colbybrownphoto I think you might have crashed his server. :p

  • reelpeet

    @jeremycowart wow thanks jeremy. this was a great read and exactly what i needed to hear! @colbybrownphoto

  • cobyalmond

    .@jeremycowart @colbybrownphoto Great read.

  • ConnektVan

    @7x5photo Fantastic article! We get a lot of #artists and #photographers asking about #bestpractices to promo work. Summed it up perfectly!

  • cgharnish

    Glad to hear that you’re starting this series of articles. Looking forward to the next installments!

  • cgharnish

    Glad to hear that you’re starting this series of articles. Looking forward to the next installments!

  • BrendaChildersMerritt

    Thank you very much for this information.  I am looking forward to the next update!

  • hilfeheiko

    Thanks Colby, for this great overview. In your in-depth series, could you drop a line on which networks will allow you to turn OFF their noise filters?

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @hilfeheiko My pleasure. I will be sure to let you know in the posts, but sadly you can’t turn them off for most networks, although you do have some filtering options with a few.

  • AaronMPhoto

    Colby, this was a great write-up. I really appreciate the thought and experience that went into this. I do find many of the points you bring up to be a challenge as a photographer trying to market myself. There’s so many places these days to market our photos and I have a hard time figuring out where to devote my attention. I use flickr to find other photographers who shoot similar things (in my case landscapes), team up, explore new places, etc, but I don’t find I make any sales from there. Facebook has been my best avenue for sales. G+ still takes a little bit of getting used to and there’s so many shared circules that my G+ stream gets inundated with new photos almost every second. I’d love to see a mention of how to setup G+ properly when you discuss it.
     
    One thing I’m interested in hearing more about is your thoughts on having a Fan Page vs. not having a fan page. I understand why it can be better to NOT have a fan page — but why does a fan page have to be limited to my photos only? I would counter the arguement of having people subscribe to my own facebook page by saying: “Do fans of my photography really care that my friends and I went out to dinner last night? Do they care that my favorite football team is playing?” I’m afraid that if I have people subscribe to me than they’re going to get a lot of “noise” that they don’t care about. Yet, on my fan page I can still share other photographers work, I can still post relevant discussions, etc, and still have my followers trust that my posts are going to be (hopefully) relevant to what they subscribed to. Just curious your thoughts. You seem to be more knowledgeable than I am at the last :)

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @AaronMPhoto Where have you found your sales are coming from from within Facebook? Friends, family or is it more random? If FB is working for you, certainly don’t break the mold. In my experience, FB has done a good job of improving over the last 12 months to help encourage interaction…but that being said…it is one of the hardest networks to grow in because of its “closed group” mentality.
       
      As for Fan Pages vs Personal page, you are right…you don’t have to just post your photos and good on you for sharing other photographers work, but when it comes down to the difference between the two, there is much more behind the scenes. 1.) A fan page can not easily tag people they are not connected with in the first place, so you can not tag someone or another organization that hasn’t connected with you in the first place. 2.) Content coming from your fan page is weighed less then if it came from a personal page, as I mentioned above when it comes to noise filters. 3.) Having two places for people to find you on Facebook can make things confusing. When I had a fan page and my personal, I would split my followers between the two. As for your personal stuff on your personal page, that is simple. You don’t post to public. I share personal content all the time on my FB profile. I just share it with my friends or family list in FB and my subscribers never see it :)

      • AaronMPhoto

         @ColbyBrown  @AaronMPhoto Colby, you are right — most of my “sales” via facebook have been to friends and family. As a new photographer, I think it’s hard to start selling photos and it takes times to build up a reputation and get your name out there so new people find you and want to buy your photos. I’m not really sure there’s any good place for people looking to buy photos to find new photographers. Instead, I think it’s having a photo go viral on whatever social media platform you use, that reaches someone who says “oh wow, I’d like a copy of that!”
         
        Thanks for the response on fan pages vs personal pages. I’ll give it a shot on switching over to my personal page. Do you just post to “Public” when you’re posting photos and post to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” when you want it private? Or do you have to create a new list with all your friends and only post to that list? With a thousand friends, it’s kinda tedious to create a new list and manually add them all to it!

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

           @AaronMPhoto Another thing to think about is keywording. Put the right keywords in your posts on Google+, as actual keywords in places like Flickr or 500px and that way when people are searching for specific images, your might show up.
           
          As for my personal page, you are correct. I have full control over who I share content to. Public goes to everyone and my private stuff stays to those I am personally connected with. My setup is simple, I do not friend anyone that is someone I am actually friends with, a family member to or a colleague I have worked with in the past. Everyone else goes to subscribers. This way I can share most private stuff with just my FB friends and everything will be alright. When I have something very very private, such as I just want my family to see, I share to that list that I have of family members. It works great.

        • TammyGagnon

           @ColbyBrown  “My setup is simple, I do not friend anyone that is someone I am actually friends with, a family member to or a colleague I have worked with in the past. Everyone else goes to subscribers.”
           
          Colby, this doesn’t make any sense to me…do you mean you only friend those that are known to you (freinds, family etc)? i need to check into the subscriber part of fb..i have never heard of it until now…thx for all the info!!

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

           @TammyGagnon  – On Facebook, being a “friend” is a two way street. If we are friends, then I see what you post and you see what I post. With subscribers, that relationship is much more accurate for a situation where people choose to follow my photography work or my humanitarian causes or if they simply like my conversations about technology. It is a one way street, where they can see what I am posting but I am not forced to see everything from them.
           
          When it comes to people I personally know (friends, family other photographers I work with), I choose to be their “Facebook Friend” because the relationship is much more equal. Because I was recieving so many friend requests and facebook only allows you to have 5000 friends, the subscription option was an amazing alternative that solved both my problems.
           
          1.) the limit of people I could connect with
          2.) the fact that facebook was forcing me to increase the noise I was seeing on my main stream because I had to “friend” someone to be connected.
           
          Since I made this change, my experience on facebook has been 10x better

  • Lekrom

    @colbybrownphoto really enjoyed this, Colby…gave me lots to think about. Reshared to my networks…

    • Photo_Africa

      @Lekrom good share boet, 10 out of 10! where can I send the noddy badge!

  • daruma

    Great article and extremely useful. Many thanks indeed. Just one thing to correct (unless I’ve misread it) – the table at the top shows the growth in international usage from 2000-2011, not 2010-2011 as you say in the sentence immediately before and then after the table.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @daruma You are 100% right. This has been fixed. Thanks!

  • http://carolinemaryan.com CarolineMaryan

    Wonderful article. I look forward to your future ones. I am new at this and do get overwhelmed by photographers who insist that you must be on all sites. So glad to hear your opinion!

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @CarolineMaryan - Thanks for taking the time to read the post. I think at the professional level, yes there are reasons to have a presence on most social media websites. However when you are just starting off or even if you are just doing this on the side, it is impractical. Focus your energy where you feel you get the best bang for your time and energy. In my opinion, for someone new to photography, that would be the networks that have the best photography communities.

  • Wayne Marinovich

    Heya Colby.
    Comprehensive article indeed and one that I will be re-reading on the plane on the tablet this evening. Just a small thing, I get the get the overall definition of social media but personally only think of FB and G+ as true social media platforms (ok, don’t do Pin interest yet). Places where, status’s are updated, events planned, photos viewed and discussed and adverts can be seen and planned – true interactions.
    I think that 500px is a great showcase of photos and opinions (not intuitive for conversing), Twitter is a great status update tool with a few add-ons. Hell, never heard of Stipple. Just my few pennies worth anyway. Guess its true that you need to have your fingers (work/product/persona) across many of these tools to get the best benefit. 
    Keep Well
     

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @Wayne Marinovich - Thanks for reading the post and chiming in. As far as “true” social media platforms, that is a fair opinion, but I think misses the point a bit. Social Media platforms are any location where you can socially interact with other individuals. Pinterest for example is one of the fastest growing social sites on the web today. By sheer page views, they are a power house. On that network you can share pins, re-pin, collect images and comment. If done correctly you can help drive a lot of traffic to your website or other locations. That is a lot of “social” happening. 
       
      The reason for this post was to give everyone a better over view of the options out there and ultimately some ideas on how to utilize each of these networks. Pinterest is certainly not FB or Twitter, but it can serve a purpose in one overall strategy. Most people have no idea where to begin. My hope is this post and the subsequent ones help showcase a possible road map for what one might want to look further into.

      • Wayne Marinovich

         @ColbyBrown Cheers for the prompt reply Colby. 
        Probably didn’t explain myself too well there anyways, but I am in agreement on the Exposure (through clicks/ traffic) that they do bring. Maybe its just that different people have a different perception of what the term ‘social interaction’  is ,depending from where you look at it. Don’t want to sidetrack from a fantastic article and looking forward to the next instalments. oh and thanks for making me take a harder look a Pininterest. All the best

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

           @Wayne Marinovich - No worries. What you are saying makes perfect sense and I do agree. No two networks offer the same type or amount of social interaction. But just as with photography, a change in perspective can help an individual to utilize these other outlets in a beneficial way once they understand what benefits there might be to start with.

  • biggeraquarium

    Such a well written and helpful article.  Looking forward to the rest in the series!

  • Pingback: This is an excellent write up from +Colby Brown  who is a fantastic individual as… | Infinitely Boundless

  • maitiratul

    Wonderful article Colby Brown, very well-written. It definitely gives a great insight to the social network.

  • CurtKipke

    Great article.  Just what I needed.  Part time retired and part time photographer.  Can’t wait for your future posts.  I never quite understood this social network stuff, but now the light is coming on.  Thanks.

  • http://www.shantigilbert.com/ shantic

     @ColbyBrown great article been trying to get a good review on all the options available if I want to start selling prints and make some money out of my photos :) 
     
    just a quick note, you mentioned its Google’s fault that instagram is not able to share to Google+, but I think its partly on both sides, because on Streamzoo you are able to share to Google+ granted it does it by using a workaround, it shows that it can be easily implemented and done at least on Android (don’t know about iOS)
     
     

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @shantic - I hear you about the workaround, but it is just that, not really a solution since it still requires some manual effort to share an image once it has been passed from Steeamzoo to the back end of G+ (Picasa). I am sure it won’t be too terribly long until we see the API for writing to G+ released.

      • http://www.shantigilbert.com/ shantic

         @ColbyBrown   yeah, that’s why I mentioned it was a workaround, and its not that horribly hard to do so, but It is still “manual” work :( lets hope G+ gets the API out soon :D 

  • http://www.jasonsanquiphotography.com/ bleukrush

    Great article with very useful information. Just on a side note…there’s a difference between “then” and “than”.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @bleukrush Haha. Touche my friend. I will double check and make the necessary corrections :)

  • Blue Box Photography

    Very comprehensive article! Great job explaining the pros and cons of the major social networking sites – I’m definitely looking forward to your upcoming additions to this series. If you have the time, I’d be curious to learn your opinion of Model Mayhem which I use often to connect with the other photographers, models, hair stylists, wardrobe designers, and make-up artists who help grow my photography business. Although limited in its role, it’s a fairly robust community with a unique set of positives and negatives.
    ~ paul
    http://www.blueboxpix.com
    http://www.facebook.com/blueboxpix

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  • pasportit

    Great article, straight to the point. Thank you for considering that not everyone has the same reason. Thank you for numbers as well, can’t wait for the next one. Also, wanted to share with you this class that I am taking https://www.coursera.org/course/friendsmoneybytes it is very useful and similar to your ideas.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @pasportit - Thanks for sharing. That link looks interesting for sure.

  • Charlyonfire

    Hello Colby! I’m worry about copyright on social network, above all Facebook, where their ToS are very clear to me that you are giving them total control of your IP. On G+ it looks more limitated for what they put on the text of ToS. I’m not worry abou someone using photos as wallpaper something like that, or even someone making money without my permission, because i can do something about it, but I do worry about what the same corporation of social network could do with mi work (overall because is my spiritual creation) Can you put this more clear for us? Thanks, and i love your photos, just amazing!

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @Charlyonfire - To be 100% honest with you, you have nothing to worry about. A corporation like Facebook or Google have ZERO to gain from ripping off an artist. They have tons of money and in my experience have always reached out when using my work for marketing or an advertisement. I am very impressed that you actually read the TOS agreements out there, as 90% of people don’t. It is good to know your rights no matter what the case, but when it comes to these larger social networks, I professionally (and personally) am not worried one bit.

  • swilli0975

    Great article Colby! As a newer photographer and to all things ” social media”, I found your general synopsis to be really helpful. Even though I’m not wanting to sell prints, or grab new clients now, someday I will and I’m really looking forward to getting my head around social media with your future blog posts so I don’t spin my wheels when I do get to that point. Now, I’m just looking for the best place to get inspired, interact and learn from some of the best, and be able to load my own pictures for critique, comment, and enjoyment.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @swilli0975 - I am glad you enjoyed the post. Judging from your comments, you best bet will be to become active on Google+ if you haven’t already, as it has the largest photography community with the best tools for interacting. For inspiration, I highly recommend using 500px, 1x.com and even Pinterest or Stipple for your viewing pleasure.

  • rharrison

    FYI, don’t feel bad about using Wikipedia as a source.  Numerous studies (to the point its almost routine) have found Wikipedia to be MORE accurate than every other major encyclopedia out there.  This includes Britannica, Americana, etc. the big, heavy hitting, peer reviewed, respected, publications around for 100+ years.  The trick is, treat Wikipedia like any other encyclopedia. Its a high level summary of a complex topic.  The real value to it is the sources which contribute to the article.  Besides, for a topic like “Social Media”, something everyone has their own definition for, Wikipedia is probably the BEST source for a “consensus” about what such a thing means. In fact my favourite interview question (my field is in this stuff), is “What does Web 2.0 mean to YOU?” If the regurgitate some textbook/dictionary definition I know they don’t actually know what it means.  If they start with something like “I know many people feel it means this…” I’ve got a winner. :-)

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @rharrison - Great point. Maybe that is the old school writer in me still fighting this changing tide. I use Wikipedia regularly, but still refrain from using it for too many sources.
       
      As for your thoughts on figuring out when people know what they are talking about, I couldn’t agree more. In fact I have been to more seminars and conferences with so called SEO & Social Media Experts that truly don’t have a clue to what they are talking about…which is sad really…

  • Danny Williams

    Colby, thanks for a very well written article on social media.  I retired from the Air Force two years ago and started pursuing photography fulltime and this article really helps me see the future.   Great Job.  Photographers are the best—everyone is so willing to help each other and look after one other.  True Professionals.  This article is a great example of that.   

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @Danny Williams - My pleasure. I am glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you stick around for the subsequent posts on each of the individual networks as well. Good luck on jumping into Photography fulltime. While it is certainly a challenge these days, it is certainly not impossible. I am always happy to help share my experiences with others. While I still have to make a living at the end of the day, I have found that being open works out better for everyone. While all of these social media posts are 100% free, I will expand upon these ideas for me ebook on “Social Media for Photographers” that will come out early next year for those that want to dig deeper. In the end it is a win win for everyone.

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  • patispaton

    What a fantastic article! And I am so thankful! It helped me a lot! I am starting my carreer in photography and I was struggling to find what would be better, mainly with regard to creating fan page in Facebook. Actually I created one, but I’ve never been 100% happy, not knowing if I should only post there or on both (my profile page too). The subscribers is a brilliant alternative, actually!
    ” I feel that I am my own brand for every one of my photography companies. This means that my interests and passions outside of photography play a role in shaping who I am, which I feel also effects my photography work and who I am as an artist.” It is just PERFECT! Totally agree!
     

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @patispaton Excellent. I am stoked that you and I seem to be on the same page. Utilizing the subscriber model on Facebook was really a game changer for me. Before that, I was starting to really not enjoy my time on the network. Between running a profile and a page and the face that I was a “friend” with WAY too many people that I never knew in person…much wasn’t going right. Once I closed down my page, opened up “subscriptions” and cleaned out my facebook “friends”…my experience has been 10x better.

      • patispaton

         @ColbyBrown  @patispaton Can I just ask you something? I closed down my page and in my profile page didn’t show any more my work details even after feeling in the spaces provided. Did you have this experience? Now my page is back (only until I sort this out), so I don’t cause confusion to possible subscribers.
        Yes I have to clean up some friends too so I can see what I really want in my stream. I will have to be brave to do that…because some I know personally but their posts are not the bests.
        Thank you!

  • CornforthImages

    @colbybrownphoto Nice write up!

    • colbybrownphoto

      @CornforthImages Thanks Jon. Actually used a Screenshot of a message you sent me on Twitter. I hope all is well!

      • CornforthImages

        @colbybrownphoto I saw that and felt the love! I’ll read your whole post later today. Thank you.

  • mrussellphoto

    RT @colbybrownphoto An in-depth look at “Social Media for Photographers” w/ FB, G+, Twitter, Instagram and more – http://t.co/dBUgW46x

  • nickonnikon

    @colbybrownphoto nice article Colby look forward to the rest in the series, are you sure you’re not interested in an egg sandwich? :)

  • ferrinspace

    優質!

  • vikpiccreative

    @colbybrownphoto such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Brudaddy

    One point of clarity that I saw: Instagram now supports people commenting and interacting via Instagram.com. It has helped it not be quite so static. I believe this has changed since this post was written. 

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

       @Brudaddy - I will look into this, but I thought that was just a rumor at this point in time. Thanks for the heads up regardless.

      • Brudaddy

        I have actually commented on an Instagram post from an Internet browser. Good post…very informative.

        • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

           @Brudaddy Are you sure that wasn’t via a 3rd party website, like http://www.statag.am? 

        • Brudaddy

          I’ve never used that site.

  • CUfanRJE

    @SM4CU we are having a marketing conference devoted to #socialmedia. check out the #SocialCentric feed too on twitter http://t.co/WFJH04Pp

    • SM4CU

      @CUfanRJE Noticed that because 1 of our own, @matthod, will be speaking there. ;) #socialcentric #SM4CU

  • armiller007

    Great article as always; I really enjoyed your previous book (Google+ for photographers).  Your comment on engagement is absolutely key – these are social networks and those that respond and engage are ultimately the ones that come out ahead.  I’ll be interesting to read your framework for developing a social media strategy, I’d also be interested in the actual methodology for driving that strategy. i.e. How do you monitor the networks, what should/shouldn’t be automated, etc.  Looking forward to future posts! 

  • Rosie Nixon

    Thanks Colby and it was via a G+ that I found this post.  I’ve been considering a Link ed profile but because I’m semi pro I wasn’t sure if I should join up with that network.  I’ve just asked for an invite to Stipple thanks to this post as that network would fit in so well with my  nature blogging.  I can see how the features they offer would enhance the story I tell through my pictures and also keep that story linked to me.

  • Yoosko

    @bojanmilicevic bacit ću pogled na to kasnije. thx.

  • http://pinkfogphotography.com/senior-portraits/ Senior Pictures

    Now social media becoming a one of the best source of getting business or you could say that to introduce any new business. Using social media sites photographer could easily share their photo collection with the others..

  • http://www.revengeofthejpeg.com/ greg2

    Nice article. My motto be everywhere!

  • http://photogabi.com/ photogabi

    eye opening article, thanks so much! I basically read through it in two consecutive days and did my assignements! Colby, if you have a chance, do you mind please elaborating on how would one with a google+ account go after “friends”. I understand that I have to see google+ differently than facebook. Should one go blind adding for instance all your contacts? It’s still confusing on how do you actually find friends out there (technically speaking). Should I just go about posting my articles about photography there and hope that somehow people will trip over me? Any hints GREATLY welcomed!! Thanks!

  • nikabuz

    Hi Colby,
     
    Thanks for a great article on social media – really appreciate it. I’m interested in your opinions on two sites.
    1. Redbubble – I know a few photographers that have used it to sell images in the past but have heard that this site is not what it used to be & seems to be geared more towards selling things like t-shirts.  
    2.SmugMug – I notice you host your portfolio on this site. I’m not sure if it qualifies as a social media website as much as Flickr as it doesn’t seem to promote community interaction. SmugMug does however look stunning & appears to be a much better option for selling images & hosting portfolios & a blog.
     
    I’d love to hear your feedback on Redbubble & SmugMug.
    Cheers, Vic.

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

      @nikabuz I have not heard about Red Bubble changing, but to be honest, I have never used the service. As for SmugMug, I am a HUGE fan. I use then solely for my Portfolio and Online Store sections of my website and I am very happy with the outcome. They handle all my print sales, offer amazing customer service and as you stated, have a gorgeous look.

  • Aurora3

    Hi Colby, thanks for this great article!
    I’d like to know what do you think about Etsy for selling photo prints?

    • http://www.colbybrownphotography.com/ ColbyBrown

      @Aurora3 Etsy is not a bad way to sell prints, but I have heard that Red Bubble might serve you better. At the end of the day, I am much more of a fan of selling prints on my own then through a service that takes a large part of any sale, but for those just starting out, it is usually a much cheaper option to go with a service provided by Etsy or Red Bubble instead.

      • Aurora3

        @ColbyBrown  @Aurora3 I just wanted to thank you for the reply, you rock for taking the time to read and reply to all our posts! and for writting all the great articles too of course :)

  • Aurora3

    Hi Colby, thanks for this great article, very interesting and informative!
    I’d like to know what do you think about Etsy for selling photo prints?

  • DanStone

    Hi Colby,
     
    Thanks for such a great, informative article.  Very helpful!  I hope I’m not asking a question that’s been asked and answered, but I’m a relatively photography newb.  However, I’ve had a couple of prints in shows/galleries already and sold a few prints as well.  I’m on Facebook, but as an author (my other passion) not a photographer.  I post pics on FB but not to much effect.  I tried photoblogging on WordPress and that didn’t seem to be worth the time and effort. 
     
    I’m trying to figure out the best next steps for 1) Connecting more effectively with other photographers, getting feedback, etc.  2) Getting my work in front of people who actually buy photography.
     
    Should I focus on these or other social media sites?  Focus more on developing a web site that showcases just my own work?  I have my work on Fine Art America which is a great way to handle the logistics of selling artwork but isn’t generating much buzz so far.
     
    Just not sure what strategy would make the most sense and not finding any particularly relevant resources so far.
     
    Thanks in advance for any advice that comes to mind.
     
    Dan
    http://www.firstadream.com

  • Pingback: Great blog post from +Colby Brown 

  • http://www.photographybyappleart.com.au Wedding Photography

    You made some good points there.I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.Thanks

  • http://campusdiaries.com sonicyx

    You must check http://campusdiaries.com 
     
    On of the fastest growing social media publishing platform in the world. They offer picture stories which has revolutionised the way people look at telling stories through pictures.

  • http://campusdiaries.com sonicyx

    YOu should check http://campusdiaries.com
     
    It is one of the fastest growing social media platform for stories in the world. They offer picture stories which have revolutionised the way people tell stories now.

  • Fernandiz

    @ColbyBrown  Hellom could you add sometingh about Tumblr. It’s getting hot as place for photographers too. thanks!

  • Pingback: Social media e fotografia: le migliori strategie per farsi conoscere

  • Nick Cockman

    Excellent informative post, It’s extremely difficult to keep up with all of these social channels! your pro’s and con’s are inline with my experiences of using these various social sharing sites, you really need to decide who you wish to target when splitting your time between the sites, whether it’s other photographers or the general public.

  • Mahonri Young

    Do the other sites steal images and personal information to re-sell for commercial purposes like Facebook? You don’t mention their terms of service give them ownership of anything and everything you post on it.