Social Media Good or Bad for Business
04 September 2012 - 11:58 AM
I've read the books, I've listened to the advice and I've certainly had a go, but is Social Networking a good way to promote your photography?
Sure it'll get your pictures out and up there, and lots of people will say 'yes its the new marketing tool', but from experience I'm not so sure.
For example Ive just developed a Website to sell my pictures online instead of the usual and norm way of word of mouth, commission etc etc. I put my Website URL onto Facebook asking people what they think, what pictures would they like to see, and where could I improve. I got nothing, and I mean nothing, no one viewed the website, they didn't comment on any of the pictures, nor did they comment on the site in general. There was a post straight after mine that just said 'cleaning someone elses S**t off the toilet', who would be me. To my astonishment there was dozens and dozens of comments "are you ok" "do you want to talk about it" Honestly you couldn't make this stuff up.
Ok I thought I'll try Twitter as well then, same thing, no one bothered. It was all "check out these funny pictures of cats doing crazy things" "Look at the state of these women and how they're dressed" Again not making this up. It leaves me baffled and speechless (well not speechless, as I was grumbling a few choice words).
So I guess what I'm saying is, that I think Social Networking to promote your pictures is a joke, and an expensive one at that. Well it is from my point of view and experience. Then again tomorrow is a different day and someone just might have a look at my Website and say something good, Im not holding out much hope there though..
What experiences, views or opinions does anyone else have about Social Networking as a medium?
05 September 2012 - 07:17 PM
05 September 2012 - 08:42 PM
I think having a website is important. It gives you an identity and a showcase. However, I am not so sure social media is really that good to market anything to sell directly, such as prints, unless you have something unique or are already established. Neither am I sure the internet is the right place to sell images directly unless you also have a unique selling point and an established guarantee of quality. A website is essential to advertise and market your services as a photographer, but this does not necessarily translate into the vehicle to sell images from your portfolio as well. Do that many people buy an image off the screen from any old website in the hope that this will result in a quality print arriving through the post? Even if you describe the actual technical details of the printing process and the resolution you use! And you and your website are one amongst thousands (millions!) of others very similar. I may be wrong and others out there may disagree and currently make a fortune from their websites by selling prints directly. My guess is that if they are, they have something unique and of exceptionally high quality.
But!! Have you tried sites like Whitewall? WhiteWall Companies like these do the marketing, have proven track records, quality control and an excellent proofing system to ensure uploaded images print true. So people looking to purchase images online use them. OK they take a cut and they work a QC system so your images need to be of high quality and large files. But it's free and you can showcase your work in your own gallery on their site. You can link your website to that gallery and to Whitewall itself. They create in effect collectives of photographers and artists to showcase their work to prospective buyers. And they arrange the print options as well. My only gripe is that you get paid in Euros!!
05 September 2012 - 10:12 PM
To use Twitter effectively, just Tweeting is a waste of time. Look for people to follow - if you're doing Children's photography, look for groups/organisations that would maybe be interested in your services and "Follow" them. In time others will begin to follow you.
Let me say here and now that I detest both Facebook and Twitter, but following advice from Business seminars I attended, I have accounts on both, and also on Linkedin. My accounts have been in place for about a year now and I haven't sold a single picture through them. I am however collecting Likes and Followers. I now have 246 Likes on Facebook with about 100 of those having Liked in the past few weeks. Have a look: http://www.facebook.com/IrishAncestor I look on my Page as the "Lite" version of my website.
I've amassed the grand total of 20 followers on Twitter where I'm @IrishAncestor
My website URL is www.irishancestry.biz
I've got buttons on there to connect to both Twitter and Facebook. People are looking, people are following, people are Liking, they're just not buying! What I'm offering is maybe a niche interest, though I thought I'd be swamped when I set up my website but it hasn't happened yet. Also, I wouldn't ask the public at large for any advice or comments. I think that would possibly make it appear that you don't know what you're doing.
I also have a Youtube Channel under my "nom de web" as Irish Ancestor, but don't be looking at it yet as there's nothing there! I intend to upload videos and AVs there with Irish Traditional Music featuring strongly. Hopefully I'll be able to link it to my other online sites and raise my profile. The advice I was given was to set aside a bit of time regularly, maybe half an hour once a week, to update these Social Networking sites and "make your presence felt," but I've neglected that a bit! Must set to and pay attention! Hope this is of some interest to you. I was told not to expect any quick results - that part was right!
"Pushed the slider too far? Who?? Me??? "
06 September 2012 - 06:36 AM
06 September 2012 - 01:13 PM
I guess the point I was trying to get across is, that in this so called 'digital age' that the old ways are still King (or Queen in this politically correct age). It is still better to meet the person buying your photograph(s) as they can see youPortfolioio up close, ask specific questions, and vice versa like what type of photo they require etc etc. I have a website as 1-it keeps a copy of my work on a server in case my computer fails (and this has happened) 2- If you want to buy my prints nuy it, if not don't worry about it. I'm not interested in that "Unique Selling Point", but if you absolutely anpositivelyly must have one, then I am a Disabled Photographer (and not someone claiming to have a bit of a bad back), and getting in position to take a photo can take hours, not minutes, and is at most timeextremelyly painful. As you will see on some of my pics the landscape (rocks and boulders, beach, woodland, hell everywhere really) is some extremely difficult terrain for me. Then there setting my camera, tripod and on and on. I could go on all day but I'm guessing you're bored senless already so I won't. I have Freelanced
I myself can't stand Facebook or Twitter, I find that people will talk about the most inordinate amount of babble, thats why the only post you will see me write and there is very few, are the ones in reply to a photograph. There is a well known American Portrait Photographer who goes on facebook and asks people which they prefer ie. black and white or a colour when he posts one of his picture up, he also asks people what pictures would they like to see, what do they think of the website etc anddoesn'tesnt seem like he doesn't know what he's doing to me, he seems like he's involving people and therefore drawing people to his website ultimately. I have been a Freelance Photographer selling my work to Stock libraries, I also have work submitted to White Wall. So the act of selling my work is not new to me. But the actsellingling my work on-line is, and I can tell you now that the old way is still better and more profitable.
06 September 2012 - 01:15 PM
Thanks for the Article Chas, interesting reading.
07 September 2012 - 05:49 PM
I can't imagine how much you persevere to get your shots, but I admire you greatly for doing so.
I suspect you have tried this or something similar, but you say you set up a tripod. Have you tried using a universal clamp and magic arm (Manfrotto do them, mainly to use with Autopoles)? You could attach this to your wheelchair and it might well provide you with the stability and accessibility for your camera you need without setting up a tripod.
07 September 2012 - 07:00 PM
"There is a well known American Portrait Photographer who goes on facebook and asks people which they prefer ie. black and white or a colour when he posts one of his picture up, he also asks people what pictures would they like to see, what do they think of the website etc anddoesn'tesnt seem like he doesn't know what he's doing to me, he seems like he's involving people and therefore drawing people to his website ultimately." Sounds like Ken Rockwell maybe? The difference between Ken Rockwell and you'n'me is that he's well established and he can afford himself the luxury of talking to his followers like that. I once took a notion to head for the USA to try my luck singing in Irish bars and clubs. Wanting to do things properly, I contacted the American Consulate in Dublin to check it all out. Talk about getting short shrift! They told me to clear off, and said they had plenty of singers of their own. I asked "What about when the Dubliners want to go to America?" The answer I got was "You're not them."
I think the same applies to the website you're talking about - you (and me) aren't them. They're well established, making a fortune, they can indulge themselves. Getting off the ground is difficult, as you and I both know. When (if!) I get a sale through my website I'll post a message on here to let everyone know! I live in hope, and I hope you manage to achieve sales through your website too. Looking at my Facebook stats today, there's 700 odd liking me. Maybe if I get to 1000, one might buy a picture!
AlexG. ( known elsewhere as bigalguitarpicker)
"Pushed the slider too far? Who?? Me??? "
08 September 2012 - 09:07 AM
You have some excellent images on your website, which I am sure are saleable.
Platslee( above), makes some very good points.
Like most people nowadays I purchase online. Hundreds to thousands of pounds worth of business per month, privately and for business.
I've dealt with some companies for 30 + years. BUT I deal with them by phone if their website is not very easy and clear to use- (idiot proof and easy to navigate). Many companies, that I already know, with an on line store will never get my e'business as they do not adequately AND clearly identify themselves- eg: provide phone numbers , business addresses VAT No.s etc etc.
Its the oldest adage in sales but People buy from People that they like. So as identified by other forum members, Facebook and Twitter are ways in which people can get to like you.
You seem to have confirmed this yourself when you suggest that meeting your prospective clients etc. results in sales.
Your website is a reflection of you and your business. For some people it may be their only contact with you and your business so perhaps it should be very, simple, friendly, bright and easy to navigate. Bear in mind that many businesses spend millions of man hours and pounds promoting their website/s and driving traffic to them by any means possible. You are competing with them for prospective buyers attention.
" I myself can't stand Facebook or Twitter". Some of your comments might lead us to believe that you treat your website, Facebook & Twitter with contempt. Why would you want to involve yourself and your business with something that you can't stand?.....or at best just tolerate.
Most people who succeed in business are, (or become), good business people. Artists and creatives are often just that,( And happy to let someone else handle business ).
Multinational retail based companies follow a formula, " find out what ,"their", customers want, & then provide them with it in as simple a package as is practical".
A lot of success in business is simply being in the right place at the right time with the right product & attitude. ( & pinch of luck). As a photographic artist your U.S.P. might,( and perhaps should), be considered to be your work. Small creative based businesses tend to succeed based upon the abilities and personalities of their owners.
So to get back to an answer to the original question- No! Social websites may not be the best business route for you, right now.
09 September 2012 - 11:14 PM
Oh dear! I get the feeling that you think I'm criticizing you personally, which I most certainly am not.
AlexG Please accept my most sincere apologies for making you think this, as this is something I never inteded to do. Having said that, i have re-read my post and I can easily see why you would think that from my wording of the post. My onlyexcuse and it's a poor one at best is that I was rushing to finish my post as I had a hundred and one things on at once. I don't want to hurt or upset anyone so in future I will take more time with my writing so it doesnt come across like that again.
Platslee. I have tried various different attachments to my chair for support for my camera and havn't had much luck to date, so I will be definately trying your suggestion out thank you, I shall let you know how it goes.
Shiny. I can only agree with your post, and lots of the points you raised certainly do need looking at. The contact address is a catch 22, as I don't want to put my Home Address up, bur realise a business address does need adding. I've thought all this time that my contact phone number was displayed for anyone wanting to discuss an order, talk about a query etc, From my page I go into my site, I can clearly see it on the contact page, but when I go into the site from another computer it isnt there, so thank you for bringing this to my attention. And thank you for raising the issues concerning an e-business as I found your post most helpful. I will certainly be looking into all the points raised.