Digital photography is a social medium; in fact, it was a social medium long before the Internet, computers or any electronics technology. An individual may compose and take every picture, but you and millions of other photographers want to share those pictures with others. If you’re a professional, selling your skills and photo services, then your photography is also social media. That is the primary reason people pay you to take their pictures (or products, etc.): so they can share them with family and friends (or use them to attract business).
With the recent development and huge popularity of Internet-based social media, in the form of Facebook, Twitter, etc., digital photography can be delivered and shared quicker and easier. Social media is now a required part of any company’s marketing program, including professional photographers. If you’re one, then you probably have a Web site (or you should) with samples of your work and the other components to use it as a marketing platform. You may also have a Facebook page (or you should). Read the PhotographyTalk.com article, Photography Tip—12 Tips for Using Facebook to Grow Your Photography Business, to learn how to benefit from Facebook marketing.
Twitter must also be part of the marketing efforts of any professional photographer, although many have been reluctant to take advantage of what it offers. Their reasoning is that Facebook and Twitter are so similar that using Twitter is redundant, especially if they already have an active and productive Facebook page. Facebook and Twitter are actually quite different. When you first join Facebook, the process by which you develop your lists of contacts usually consists of friends, family members, co-workers, old school buddies, neighbors, etc. When you add a contact that person also has a new contact/friend. You’re admitted to their pages and they have access to yours. You know that you are part of a mutually beneficial community.
Another reason professional photographers tend to avoid Twitter is that it takes more work than Facebook. It is quite easy: create a page and make contacts, and even with the first friend, you have a community of two. The Twitter process, however, works differently. You may follow another person’s tweets, but he or she may decide not to follow yours. Essentially, you’re alone until you make the effort to develop a community of people that associate with you because of shared interests, not because you’re members of the same family or group of friends, neighbors or co-workers, etc. Although it may be a generality, you gain followers on Twitter because they are first like-minded, and then social. That’s not necessarily the case on Facebook.
The challenge (and reward) of Twitter is gathering your first 100 followers. There is no way to avoid the hard work that is required to find 100 people that have genuine interest in what you are saying and sharing in your tweets. Remember, you may be known as a pro in your local, geographic community, but you’re unknown to most of the people in the Twitter universe. Once you do gain those first 100 followers, you are well on your way to using Twitter successfully, as a marketing tool. As your followers’ list grows, your content eventually reaches thousands of people through re-tweets and mentions.
The Snowball Effect of Twitter
Because your first 100 Twitter followers are like-minded people, you can assume their followers also share much in common with you. This makes it more likely that if your followers find your content interesting, then some of them will share it with their followers. For example, you send a blog post to your list and just two of those 100 think what you have to say is worth communicating with their lists. One consists of only 50 people, but the other is 250. With your original tweet and their re-tweets, you’ve reached 400 people, or four times your list of 100 followers. One of your followers could just as easily have a few thousand followers. Now, the odds are in your favor to gain a few new followers, and not just a one-time contact.
Once you reach this level of Twitter activity, its marketing value begins to return on your investment of time and work. Read Part 2 of this PhotographyTalk.com article for more tips and ideas to use the marketing power of Twitter.
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