20 Ways For Photographers to Build Their Social Media Audience

Scott Bourne Photo
PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Bourne

You’re busy and you don’t have time to read a white paper on social media. I’m busy and don’t have time to write one, but between us, we can find enough time to go through 20 bite-sized tips to better social media success.

While this list is not exhaustive, it does contain a list of things I found to work for me personally, and I believe they will work for you, too. While I believe these points are most valid when applied to using Twitter, I also believe they will work well on other social media platforms.

Give some thought to these and see which, if any, resonate with you, then give them a try.

1. Listen first, speak second.

2. If you’re a subject-matter expert, try to limit your conversation to what you know.

3. Tell your own story and make sure it’s worth telling. Get personal. People respond to other people best in this fashion.

4. Whatever story you’re telling—your story or someone else’s story—make it a compelling story.

5. Make sure your profile includes a link to a simple landing page that has a simple message and a simple call to action.

6. Post regularly and often. Your social media following will learn your rhythm and become more engaged when you offer a regular, consistent flow of information.

7. Remember that social media is not just about curating great content, but also creating it.

8. Try to actually meet, in person, those who you connect with online.

9. Don’t expect overnight results. Keep at it. Those who are popular are often popular because they stuck it out longer than anyone else.

10. Put other people’s needs ahead of your own and help them to succeed first.

11. Don’t just try to attract an audience, try to solve the audience’s problems

12. Only follow people you respect. If you’re following only influential people, you’ll be exposed to the ideas that seem to resonate faster and travel further. Many social media experts would strongly disagree with me here. Again, I’m merely sharing what’s worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

13. People like cues. Lead by example. Let people see in you how you want them to react and interact with you. Make that painless.

14. If you’re going to use social media to sell something, try to keep the ratio of content to sales at 5:1, meaning five posts that have nothing to do with selling something for every post that is sales related.

15. Tricks work but great content trumps the best tricks. Be sincerely focused on helping others and you’ll do well, even without tricks.

16. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to have a strong social media presence on each and every social platform. I’ve been very successful in limiting myself to one or two at the most. Diluting the time and quality of content for the sake of making an appearance everywhere doesn’t work for me or most people I know.

17. Take a stand. Stick up for yourself and what you believe in. People get bored if you just flip-flop in the wind. If you believe in something, say so. Come what may.

18. Use photos—lots of them. Photography is a visual medium. Whether you post them directly or link to them, social media is a great way to get your photos noticed.

19. Optimize your photos for search. Since photos in and of themselves don’t always lend themselves to quick discovery in search engines, use relevant text with your images, such as keyword-based filenames and alt tags.

20. Share your inspiration. Let people know what motivates and excites you. Chances are that will translate for them better than the end product.