5 Tips for Updating Your Social Media Strategy with Vanessa Joy
When I saw Instagram’s announcement of Instagram TV, IGTV, I thought, “This is so exciting!” I was thrilled because I’m good at video. But then I thought of what this really meant: more work. More algorithm changes. More hours of me trying to figure out what the heck I should be doing on social media now. I went from “This is so exciting!” to “This is so much work” in five seconds.
As a wedding photographer, social media is one of the strongest marketing and branding tools at our disposal. It’s also the most time-consuming task, taking us away from our passion of running our own photography business.
It’s the end of engagement season, so marketing is a top priority for wedding photography businesses. Social media is where most newly engaged couples hang out digitally these days, but that’s not the only way to get in front of them. How can you make sure you’re doing your best job at marketing when everything keeps changing?
1 – Know Your Humans
At some point, I’ve felt the desire to give up. Not on wedding photography altogether, but on little pieces here and there. It’s tempting to feel that way about social media and want to kiss it goodbye because you just don’t want to learn something new. Fight that urge. You don’t have to be a master at social media, but you do need to continue to educate yourself to stay relevant.
Marketing is founded on basic human psychology. Read the book Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. No matter what new marketing trick or medium you may have to learn, your goal is to appeal to humans. Humans have recognizable patterns in wants, needs and behaviors.
Imagine a line of people waiting outside a restaurant. What is your impression of that place? It must be amazing, right? It’s like witnessing the social validation that a high number of followers or engagement on Instagram or Facebook gives to a consumer, just in real life. So how can you make that happen in your business? Get down to the root of human behavior and build marketing campaigns from there.
2 – Don’t Believe the Lies
It’s tempting to look for shortcuts when the social media side of marketing gets overwhelming. That won’t end well. Shortcuts include buying followers and even likes. Take a look at this video that debunks social media myths: https://youtu.be/130-F3yehsE.
Don’t lie on social media. It is incredible how many people lie their asses off. Photographers, speakers, influencers, kids, moms, dads—everyone. Do not believe what you see all the time and certainly don’t measure yourself against it. Don’t be one of those people claiming success that you don’t actually have. Instead, use your energy to build up yourself and others around you, and watch the whole industry grow.
One of the most rewarding things I do in this industry is help others. It makes me proud to watch my peers work hard and be rewarded for it. Try it, and I bet your work will pick up because you’ll have more people who respect you and what you do.
3 – Understand What Works on Social
Every time you see a change to a social media platform, just remember that each of these platforms has a corporation behind it trying to make money by engaging users. If you remember that concept, you can weather any change by coming back to it. Before you post, ask yourself: “Will my audience engage with this?” It doesn’t matter how they engage with it (like, comment, watch, click), just that they do.
At the same time, marketing yourself on social media has to be twofold. Do a lot organically (not paying for it) and experiment with paid advertising. Facebook and Instagram ads that lead to sales pages or lead capture forms from https://stickymarketingtools.com/ are a great way to pull in leads both organically and paid. I’m a big fan of these sites’ new email campaigns. You can see the pop-up on my website at www.vanessajoy.com.
4 – Get Help
You likely didn’t enter the wonderful world of weddings because you wanted to be glued to social media all day every day. Streamline the process with a social media scheduling service like Planoly, Buffer, Later, Hootsuite or Meet Edgar.
Don’t feel ashamed to hire someone to post and interact with others. Virtual assistants and office assistants are great for this, and they will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on your clients and what you do best. I recently hired someone to handle my Facebook and Instagram, and another company to manage my Pinterest account (which more photographers should be using). I’m still working out the kinks, but growing a team has been rewarding—and not doing everything myself is a lifesaver.
5 – Get Offline
Want to know what my biggest booking tool was this year? Networking, hands down. It wasn’t easy. It’s taken four years, but I was finally able to connect with one of the high-end halls in my area and on a personal level with one of its salespeople. So I now get referred more to a place I love working at, and I made a new friend.
Because social media and digital solutions are so accessible, we slack off on the personal connection to our peers. Be the exception and find a way to connect to people in person. You’ll have a better chance of being remembered that way—and probably make a better connection.