If you look at the number of followers I have on social media, you may jump to the conclusion that I’m a great photographer and/or own a very successful photography business. Sometimes this high follower count gives me almost a celebrity status – when I speak at media events and such, more people are likely to attend and pay attention to what I have to say.
But is this an accurate conclusion to jump to? How much of my social media following is truly influenced by what I do as a photographer or how successfully I run my business? This article looks at three lies that you must be aware of to be successful when using social media to grow your photography business.
Lie #1: I have far reaching influence because of my follower count on social media
When people see my high follower count on social media, they often assume that I have great influence in the photography world. The truth is, when I do post on social media, the visibility of the content I provide is actually fairly limited. There are a couple of reasons for this.
One reason is that companies manipulate where your content displays and what followers are exposed to it. All of your followers do not receive all of your posted content. A second reason is that when you DO post content, all of your followers are not online at the same time. It’s a big world with different time zones and people with busy lives… only so many people will actually be online at the right time to view your posts.
Sure, when people and businesses see my high social media count, they DO listen more. But if I really want to influence people, I must back up my numbers with valuable, interesting, intelligent content.
Lie #2: Marketing on social media is a no-brainer because of my popularity
Remember… not everyone who follows you on social media is a potential customer. For example, people who follow me probably follow me for many different reasons. Some people may just like looking at interesting or beautiful photos; they may be inspired by my work but that doesn’t mean they want to buy it. Some followers may actually be competitors who want to ‘scope out the competition’.
Social media IS a great place to be social and with a large interested following, you have the benefit of being able to post content to market your products. But you must maintain a balance between being social and marketing your product. If you continually try to sell your product without this balance, you risk losing your followers. Popularity on social media does not automatically translate to a marketing or sales effort. Like I said before, you must back it up (and balance it out) with valuable, interesting content.
Lie #3: My social media follower count directly reflects my talent as a photographer
Many people think that, because I have a lot of followers, I must be a very talented photographer. Otherwise, why would they all follow me? The truth of the matter is that I acquired my high follower count because I was placed on the Google+ Suggested Users list early on.
All social media companies have techniques for promoting certain individuals over others. Your number of followers on social media does NOT always reflect your talent level. There are probably better-skilled photographers out there who have less followers than I do.
To keep your followers interested, it’s important to find out who your customers are, listen to what they want, and provide value-added content. If you are really into marketing and want to be successful in social media as a business person… you MUST maintain a balance between being social and marketing your product.