Photo Credit: Jessica Hunt Photography
I’ve always been an early adopter of all things digital. In third grade I got my first AIM account (don’t worry, my parents were into the free range parenting thing) and I've had a Facebook for over a decade now. Social media is just second nature to me and is something that truly excites me. When I started working at Two Bright Lights it surprised me how many of the professionals that I met didn’t see social media as a necessity for their business. Needless to say I was shook (what the kids are saying when they mean alarmed or deeply moved) and felt like I had to do something about it. This prompted me to start compiling my top social media tips for helping creative professionals better understand the purpose and best ways to use social media to their advantage. Below, in one fell swoop (well, blog post) are my tips for owning social media as a creative professional on behalf of your business.
1) Only Use Social Media Platforms That Make Sense for your Business
Before you start making profiles on every social media platform, take a moment to think if that particular platform is the best fit for your business. It’s better to have fewer social media platforms with successful content than to have manage multiple accounts across every platform and and struggle to come up with content. If you're just starting out I would recommend focusing primarily on Instagram and Facebook. Facebook is great because it gives you the option to run ads on behalf of your business if you sign up for a business account, so that's something to keep in mind if you plan to advertise in the future! Instagram is especially great for photographers, as it it relies on photos and video content, as opposed to links and text-heavy posts. Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat are solid secondary platforms, but if you feel that your audience isn't on these then definitely consider that as you create your social media presence.
2) Post Content That is Relevant to You and Your Audience
If you are a photographer, it reasonable to assume your audience will expect you to post your experiences and professional work as a photographer. If you are posting from your photography account about a local basketball team’s big win that your business has no tie to, what makes you think your audience will care? There are so many avenues of content to tap into once you know where to find them. From new photoshoots, conferences your business attends, behind the scenes on a shoot, to even a really cool project that has inspired you a photographer—that is all worth sharing because it makes sense. Keep the scope of your business content to your work life and what your audience would anticipate you to post about in that role. Keep in mind that anything that isn't "official post" worthy you can post on your Instagram stories instead and it will be gone after 24 hours. That's why millennials love Instagram Stories—because they're low commitment content! (I'm a millennial making a millennials joke, how refreshing!)
3) Optimize Your Posts by Using Hashtags, Tagging, and Locations
A great way to optimize your social content is to learn the simple things that you can do on social that will make your content more searchable. For example, on Instagram users can search and follow hashtags with ease, meaning you should be using hashtags that are relevant to your industry, audience, and the conversations that they are having. One of our favorite tools is Display Purposes, which shows all relevant hashtags based on simple keyword searches. You should also be tagging relevant accounts in the posts you are sharing and utilizing geolocation tags when available. Geolocation tags will make it so that when anyone that searches for that location your photo will be included in that feed of search results. Say you have taken photos at a certain wedding venue and you post tagging that location. When users interested in that venue are looking into what content or vendors have posted at that location, it could lead them to discover then contact your business if they are looking to host an event there. It’s that easy!
4) Get Personal (but not Too Personal)
The nature of social media is to give others a direct line into your life and the content you wish to share with them. Social media is therefore personal, and is far more successful when you use it to represent and communicate from your unique point of view. When sharing from your business, definitely keep your sales and client goals in mind, but communicate them in a way that makes sense to that social platform's social audience. For example, Instagram Stories is a great place to post personal content of you speaking or sharing with your audience, without the commitment and permanence as an official post. By function, your followers expect your Instagram Stories to be more of the moment and unedited as compared to your Instagram feed. And or course no matter what the platform, let the emojis roll (if you follow TBL on social, you'll know that’s what we do!)
5) Engage with Other Professionals in Your Industry
A social network is called a network for a reason—it’s a great place to network with ease with other people you may not have interacted with otherwise. Use social media to find other influentials or professionals in your industry and follow, engage and comment on their content. This will give you a glimpse into the things they are doing in their business and on their social media channels. This can help you to better your channels and find out what’s relevant to your industry!
6) Overwhelmed? Hire an Intern, Freelancer or Use a Social Media Scheduling Tool
Social media is done best when content is consistent and relevant. If you post only every few weeks, your audience will not be as engaged as someone who posts with a weekly cadence. If posting consistently seems overwhelming to you, consider hiring an intern to manage your social media presence. Often times college students are looking for work experience and you are looking for someone who understands the social media landscape, making it a natural fit. You can also hire a freelancer who has a background in social media, digital marketing, or is familiar with the photography industry to manager your social channels. It's all about the right fit for your business, so if you are on the smaller, start up phase maybe an intern is best, while if you are more established and have years of experience a freelancer or small boutique agency may be a better fit. Or if you are more of a Do-It-Yourself kind of professional, look into a scheduling platform to plan out your content in advance. Gain App, Planoly and Hootsuite are great options, while you can always schedule posts natively on Facebook ahead of time.
7)Be Aware of What you Shouldn't do on Social Media
This is the part you’ll want to pay close attention to: what not to do on social. Here’s a quick list of Don'ts to remember:
-Don’t post just to post, and don’t post to your Instagram feed more than once a day. Supplement with Instagram stories if you have more of the moment thoughts--don’t put that on your Instagram feed. It will end up spamming your users and you’ll receive low engagement because of it. Facebook is kind of a free-for-all, so can have a free pass to post away there.
-Don’t forget to check your DMs and Message Requests. Your messages, both on Facebook and Instagram, are the place where customer questions and inquiries come through. If you go weeks without seeing a message, you will lose their trust and may lose out on a business opportunity.
-Don’t forget to keep your personal and business Instagrams separate, unless they become a constant aspect on social. I don’t mean to say that you cannot be real and personal on your business Instagram, but sometimes you need to consider the manner in which personal moments are included on your business Instagram. If you are integrating personal aspects of your life, make them a constant fixture and develop them to have a personality, presence, and tie it back to your overall philosophy of your business. For example, if your husband or wife is important to your business and you want to include them on your business Instagram, find a way to tie it back to the bigger picture. This will make it meaningful to your business, and therefore meaningful to this audience.
...And there you have it! I hope this gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of social and how little things can make a big impact for your business. Social media is an ever changing landscape and it’s better to work with it than against it. After all, social media is yours for the making and taking, so get out there and start sharing! Make sure to follow @two_bright_lights and feel free to DM any questions you have.
For all things Camille: