5 Social Media Marketing Myths with Vanessa Joy
Social media marketing is one of the major ways that photographers help customers find and book their services. Many kinds of businesses are realizing that social media moves mountains when it comes to gaining recognition. At this point, most of us know that it’s necessary, but it isn’t easy, and it certainly can’t be done haphazardly if you truly want to be effective. You need the creativity to create a persona and brand that people will connect to. You need to create content that people actually find relatable, unique, and worth their time.
If this seems daunting, that’s okay. Because I’m here to share the things you need to know to take away your fears about social media marketing. Let’s get started.
Myth 1: You Don’t Need Social Media Marketing
These days, especially in the wedding photography business, you are leaving money on the table if you don’t utilize social media marketing to promote your business. Potential clients who are looking for photography are often looking on their phones, using optimized-for-mobile apps like Instagram rather than surfing your website on a laptop or desktop computer. Which social media site are they on? Check the current demographics for users of social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat to find where your target market is hanging out (and where you should be too).
No marketer has ever said, “Stay with what you know, and wait for the customers to come to you.” Instead, you have to go to the customers. Create an amazing Instagram or Tik Tok or Facebook profile that is as stellar as any website gallery or photo book. Your customers only have to “like” you or “follow” you in order to start considering contracting with you. I had a recent client find me on Instagram, message me there, receive my price sheet on her phone, and book her wedding with me … all without visiting my website! Make your information and resources, and the evidence of your photography skill, so mobile-friendly that you can shine on any social media platform.
Small side note: Just because you definitely need social media marketing doesn’t mean you need every new social media site. Judge whether a site is the right match for your social media marketing strategy by whether the people you can get into your audience there are actually in the market for the services you offer. This brings me to the next myth, which relates to the kinds of followers you get.
Myth 2: But I Can Just Buy Followers and Likes
The path from no followers to 10,000 followers is an uphill climb, I’ll tell you. You have to offer great content and be responsive and interactive, and it takes tons of time. So many people claim they can get all the credibility without any of the work by buying Instagram followers or likes, or following similar structures on other social media sites.
Want the truth? Everyone can tell if you are buying followers and likes online. They are the wrong type of followers, and they don’t “like” in realistic ratios. Your followers should be at least somewhat interested in your genre of wedding photography. An unintelligible username with no actual Instagram posts or profile picture probably isn’t contracting with you—ever.
For Instagram, a good measure is for your likes-to-followers ratio to be about 1-to-10—this means a reasonable portion of your followers saw your post and thought it looked great. Not every single one of my posts is a winner with the fans, but my overall ratio proves that all 34.5k of those followers chose to like my page without being paid, and that gives me actual credibility. That quantity of bots or fake accounts wouldn’t have nearly the same level of engagement.
Engagement with real people who want your kind of services is what matters. Lower numbers of real interactions are better than higher numbers of interactions from people who have nothing to do with your business. Wherever your numbers are, in both likes and followers, start doing your homework. What kinds of posts get one, or two, or thirty more likes than the others? Learn from that, and grow your following.
Myth 3: I Don’t Have to Post All the Time
You absolutely have to post regularly. This is essential, so that people feel that you are a working professional, with a real business that they can trust enough to sign a photography contract with you. Regular posts demonstrate that this is indeed a business that you take seriously. It’s easy to be dubious of online businesses, so give potential customers every reason to trust you and see you as a rock-solid investment.
As mentioned before, your social media is basically a portfolio that you have the chance to constantly curate and add to. If you are getting better as a photographer all the time (you should be!), you want to have a steady stream of new posts that both showcase your skills and remind people who follow you that you are here. Post regularly, and stay top-of-mind with your client.
Myth 4: I Have to Post All My Own Stuff on My Business Social Media, Right?
Nope! Your social media posts should be relevant to your business and its potential and current clients. If something interesting to a typical wedding photographer’s client, like a popular post about three sisters having their weddings together on the same day, is going viral, why not share it and take advantage of its innate clickability and fun? Even though it’s not your content, it can generate activity on your page, which is great for your reach.
My reach is pretty good on my own posts, but I use popular outside content when it makes sense, and I ask the readers a question, something like, “Would you want to get married on the same day with someone else?” so that people can weigh through the comments. Engagement breeds connection, and that keeps people visiting your page, considering your photos, and deepening their knowledge of your brand. Popular outside content does all of that for you, as long as you have plenty of your original content in there too.
Myth 5: If I Don’t Do It Myself, My Social Media Will Lack My Voice
Not true—you can have someone else run your social media! Pay a virtual assistant or a friend or anyone who has managed a social media page before. These days, even our thirteen-year-old neighbors, our kids, and our grandkids are ultra-savvy when it comes to social media posts. Yes, you should be very involved at the beginning to make sure the direction someone else takes your social media is a good and helpful one that maintains your voice. Once they “get it,” though, you don’t have to always be working on it yourself; you can just monitor it from there on out and make adjustments as needed. Outsource this task away from your daily to-do list once you see that they are posting consistently and in your style.
P.S. One more freebie when it comes to social media: always tag other vendors. The images in this article will be tagged to death when I post them online so that I can thank everyone involved, like @KatydidFlorals, @AshfordEstate, PPA Education, Models @Tyreesel and @Brookeitlist, and @KleinfeldBridal. Be sure to tag them in the photos and the description so people can find them, and so they can see the extra effort you’re going through to give them proper credit for their work. Who knows, it could lead to more booking through a great vendor relationship!
Want more help with the beast that is social media marketing? Check out this webinar: “3 Huge Mistakes You’re Probably Making on Social Media.” Also, follow me on Instagram @VanessaJoy to see more of how I use social media for my business and the ways I practice what I preach about these myths. Feel free to snag any ideas you see me experimenting with and try them out on your account. Happy posting!