What is social media, why use social media, and what are practical strategies we can implement?
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What is social media?
Social media is a platform that allows you to share, interact, and engage with your followers.
Social media includes Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Flickr, Tumblr, etc.
Generally the social media platforms you use are free and don’t cost you anything. Of course, there is always a hidden catch — eventually you will have to pay money to these “free” platforms to connect with more of your fans.
Why use social media?
I personally think in some ways social media is overrated. I think it is more important to build your own website/blog, and build your own newsletter (I recommend mailchimp.com)
Social media is like the branches of your tree. Your website is like the trunk.
Social media is helpful, but we shouldn’t invest too much focus on it. I would recommend put 20% of your effort in social media, and use 80% of your focus building your own platform.
Practical social media strategies
Use these 10 strategies to build a following, build trust with your followers, and to stay to your own vision:
1. Ask questions
Ask questions to your audience to engage them. Empower your followers by asking them questions, to give them the opportunity to share their experiences, their opinions, and their perspectives.
For example ask questions such as:
- What are your favorite photography quotes?
- How did you get started in photography?
- Why do you make photos?
I generally find the best questions start with the question, “Why?” because it encourages us to be more philosophical and deeper about our own motivations.
2. Make it personal
Whatever strategy you pursue in social media, make sure it is authentic and real to yourself. Use social media like how you would talk in real life. Use your natural voice, and share personal photos. Show your humanness, don’t just be like an anonymous brand.
Rather, build your own personal brand with your first and last name.
For myself, I share photos of Cindy, I write how I talk, and I use this as a strategy to connect deeper with my followers. I treat them like friends. I try to write these blog posts like letters, to be more relatable. I share my hopes, dreams, and also my personal fears and failures.
Lesson: Talk to your audience and followers like your real friends, don’t censor yourself, and be real.
3. Share what you would like
It is impossible to know what others will like. My suggestion:
Only share what you would like.
This allows you to build a following of people who think the same as you, and share the same or similar life perspectives.
Whenever I write content, I try to write and format it in a way which I would like to consume. For example, I like reading letters, tip posts, and a mix of practical and philosophical ideas. Therefore, I share these ideas in this style — because I like it when others do it that way.
4. For maximum engagement and social media boost, post once a day at noon (your time)
Of course timing will differ, but if you want maximum boost on Facebook and Instagram, noon at pacific time works best for me.
But also, don’t go overboard with optimization. I nowadays treat social media like a stream— keep flowing like a stream of water, with less friction and concern about “optimizing”. Because in truth, there is never anything fully optimal in life. Just do your best, and publish whenever you feel like it.
Also a new shift for myself:
Share more than less.
5. Follow your own gut
You will never know what is best, so just follow your gut.
Listen to your own inner voice, your own strategy, and what feels right to you. To be more authentic to yourself, put more trust in your own gut and intuition than data, page views, followers, and like numbers.
If you’re gonna do something on social media and it feels wrong to you, don’t do it. If you feel it is right (yet everyone else thinks you’re crazy), JUST DO IT.
By following your own intuition, you might be wrong, but you will feel less regret by following your own voice. Also you will be able to take more risks in your life, be more adventurous and have more fun.
6. Less is more.
Less is more if you want more social media reach. That means, the less frequently you post, the more traffic you will get. Also the less you publish, the less “noise” there will be, and more “signal.”
For example, I publish a lot on this blog, but I try to send out my newsletter less frequently (newsletter once a week or every two weeks).
Whatever “less” means to you — follow it.
7. 1,000 true fans
You don’t need a million followers. You probably don’t need 100,000 followers, 50,000 followers, or even 10,000 followers. All you need is “1,000 true fans”— to successfully monetize your photography, or to gain more critical acclaim for your photos.
This means, the quality of your followers matters more than the quantity of your followers.
If someone is a “true fan”, they will attend your workshop, attend your seminar, purchase your products, books, or prints, or enjoy your work, and spread the word about you.
Also realize a lot of people who have tons of followers have few “true fans”.
The best way to build a true fan:
Be unabashedly you.
8. Build trust
You wouldn’t marry the first person you meet. You wouldn’t become best friends with someone you just encounter.
In human relations, trust is the most important element.
For example, “branding” is nothing more than building trust. I trust NIKE and therefore buy their shoes. I trust LEICA to make high quality goods. I trust NORTH FACE to keep me dry and warm.
Realize you cannot build trust overnight. It might take you 5-10 years to truly build trust with your followers or audience. Even the average person who attends my (expensive) workshops has usually followed me for at least 1-2 years.
To build trust, be real, authentic, consistent, and genuine. People can smell bullshit from a mile away.
By being true to yourself, there are going to be people who don’t like you. But that’s okay. A good strategy is to polarize your followers.
Better to have people extremely love you, or extremely hate you, than to just feel lukewarm about you.
9. Don’t rush it
Always strive and prosper, and don’t rush your journey.
Consider when you go hiking, it is all about enjoying every step, and enjoying nature. It isn’t about getting on top of the hill. Sometimes when we rush hiking, we don’t enjoy it as much, because we are so focused on getting to the top, that we forget to enjoy the journey.
I think photography, social media, and building a following is the same.
A great redwood tree will take hundreds, and thousands of years to reach their great height. But it is steady— inch by inch.
Treat every new follower, subscriber, or fan as a small win. Be grateful, always, and enjoy the process and journey.
Like Saul Leiter, Don’t be in a great hurry.
Walk slowly, enjoy the walk, the beautiful blue skies, and the feeling of the pavement against your feet.
In life, enjoy the process of seeing your kids grow up, enjoy the dinners and meals you share with your loved ones, and like music — enjoy every note and melody.
10. Don’t obsess over the numbers
How do you measure “success” in photography or social media? Do you need 100 likes, 1,000 likes, 10,000 likes, or more? Do you need at least 1,000 followers, 10,000 followers, or 100,000 followers before you feel “successful?”
Only judge your success by yourself.
Don’t judge your success as a photographer by the number of exhibitions you’ve had, the numbers of books you’ve published, or the number of commas and zeros in your bank account.
No, in order to become stronger and more robust, we must judge ourselves. We need to have confidence in our own progress, our own evolution, and development of our own style. Be your own self judge and arbiter of success.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. In some ways, it allows us to connect and engage with our followers, and an easy platform to share our work. The downsides include obsession over likes, followers, numbers, and crowdsourcing your self-esteem.
Ultimately, the most important thing:
Never compromise your own artistic vision.
Free visualization on monetization in photography
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Learn more strategies, tips, and tactics to monetize your photography with MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER.
The Modern Photographer: Tips, Strategies, and Tactics to Thrive as a Visual Artist in the Digital Age
Marketing, Branding, Entrepreneurship Principles For Success
MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER is your new philosophical and practical primer to succeed as a modern photographer in today’s digital world.
How to Monetize Your Photography
- Should I Monetize My Passion for Photography?
- 10 Practical Photography Monetization Strategies: Pricing, Google SEO, & Entrepreneurship
- How to Make Money From Street Photography
Why Become a Photography Entrepeneur?
Take control of your own photographic destiny:
THE MODERN PHOTOGRAPHER
- CREATIVE CAPITALISM
- How to Monetize Your Photography
- 5 Practical Photography Career Tips and Advice
- 10x Thinking
- How to Hustle as a Photographer
- How to Become Your Own Master Marketer
- The ‘T’ Technique of Success
- Go Ahead and Sell Out
- What is Your Unique Voice?
- Why You Must Self-Promote Yourself
- What is Your Unique Angle as a Photographer?
- Photography Content Marketing 101
- Why You Must Become Your Own Publisher
- The Art of Cross-Pollination in Photography
Photography Entrepreneurship Articles
- Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Pictures to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Flickr
- How to Make Money From Your Photography
- Photography SEO and Blogging: How to Become Number One on Google
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Now is the Best Time to Be a Photographer
- What Is The Value of a Picture?
- Your Photographic Labor is Not Free
PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS 101
- Chapter 1. How to Make a Photography Blog
- Chapter 2. How to Price Yourself
- Chapter 3. How to Find Your Market
- Chapter 4. Why Teach Workshops?
- Chapter 5. How to Build Trust
- Chapter 6. How to Market Yourself
- Chapter 7: Why Should Someone Attend Your Workshop?
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- Why You Must Be a “Personality” in Order to Succeed
- THRIVE OR DIE.
- Impatience is a Virtue
- Create Your Own Category
- HOW TO DREAM BIG.
- Will Not or Cannot?
- Why Not?
- How to Think BIG
- How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
- How to Invest in Yourself
- The Two Camera Rule
- MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATION
- Advice For College Students
- How to Thrive in Uncertain Times
- CANNIBALIZE YOURSELF.
- DO AND GROW RICH
- Does Fear of Punishment Hold You Back?
- HOW TO GET MORE FOLLOWERS
- How to Innovate
- How to Build Your Own Empire
- YOU ARE ENTITLED TO HARD WORK.
- PICK YOURSELF.
- OWN YOUR PLATFORM
- 10 KEYS TO SUCCESS
Table of Contents
Learn how to make a living from your passion:
- Preface. BRAVE NEW WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY
- Chapter 1. How to Create Value
- Chapter 2. ZEN CAPITALISM
- Chapter 3. Scarcity
- Chapter 4. How to Brand Yourself
- Chapter 5. How to Build a True Following
- Chapter 6. The Blueprint to Success in Photography
- Chapter 7. HOW TO BE BOLD
- Chapter 8. How to Sell Out
- Chapter 9. GO AGAINST THE GRAIN
- Chapter 10. EXTREME ABUNDANCE
- Chapter 11. Photography Experience Economy
- Chapter 12. Why You Should Make Money for Your Photography
- Chapter 13. How to Become a Famous Photographer
Photography Business 101
How to Make Money with Photography
- How to Charge More Money in Your Photography
- Why You Should Not Pursue Photography as Career
- Can Photography Make You Rich?
- How I Earn $200,000+ a Year From Photography
- How to earn $10,000 a month as a photographer
- Why you must be an expensive photographer
Photography Marketing 101
- Why Have More Followers?
- Why You Should Do Photography Work For Free
- How I Became an Internet Famous Photographer
- Photography Blogging Ideas
- Why You Should Promote Your Own Name
- How to Build a Following
- How to Stand Out as a Photographer.
- HOW TO GO VIRAL AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.
- How to Master Marketing
- How to Sell Yourself
How to Hustle.
- Entrepreneurial Advice to My 18 Year Old Self
- How to Become Insanely Productive.
- 5 Lessons From Hesiod on Hustling
- It is Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than Ask For Permission
- The Free Way to Become Rich
- JUST DO IT.
- 7 Steps: How to Make a Living From Your Passion
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- How to Fail Big
- How to Invest in Yourself
- How to Be Bold in Photography and Life
- Mission: Cover Your Rent and Food
- 1,000 True Fans
- The “10x Principle”: The Only Difference Between “Success” and “Failure”
- Make More Value Not Money
- We Live in a Photo Utopia
How to be a Full-time Photographer
- How to Make a Living From Photography
- The 3 Principles of Making Money With Photography
- Advice for Aspiring Full-Time Photographers
- Don’t Go Into Debt For Your Photography
- How to Brand Yourself as a Photographer
- Trust: The Most Important Thing You Need to Succeed as a Photographer
- How to become rich from photography blogging
- How to Make a Living with Blogging
- 50 Blogging Tips For Beginners
- How to Start Your Own Photography Blog
- A Photographer’s Guide to SEO, Blogging, and Social Media
How to Teach Photography
- How to Become a Photography Teacher
- How to Teach a Street Photography Class
- Why I Teach Street Photography Workshops
- Why I Deleted My Instagram
- The Social Media Blackbook for Photographers
- Why Do You Need More Likes or Followers?
- Instagram is Going to Be the Next Facebook
- Don’t Trust “Free” Photography Social Networks