Social media and marketing: what you need, to do it right

TL;DR – Social media and marketing are great together, but you need to stop looking for your peers there.

Social media is here to stay. It is also one of the many possibilities that you have, to promote your business. As you may know, there are alternative options, as phlow. One of the main differences is how you need to be careful in targeting your ideal clients on social media. Social media and marketing go together well. But you need to understand that your photography is a business. In understanding it, you should stop following your peers, as they won’t be your clients.

To combine social media and marketing, you should start following your potential clients. You should start talking about what they want to hear. They have needs you can help them with. It is not interesting for my clients to know the details of my new camera. They won’t give a penny if my new lens is a fast f/0.95 (link to my Mitakon magazine). But they will listen to me if I connect with their dreams or fears.

So, what do you need to know about social media and marketing to do it right?

Realise you are a business

TL;DR – Your social media presence should be at the service of your clients. It should not be about your needs.

We all like what we like. It is our world, we follow the themes we like because they are our world. We built phlow on this logic, allowing people to follow what they love. Yet, we need to come to a simple realisation. Our business is not a person, it is not who we are. We are a business and we are at the service of someone else. I published a guide on the strategies you can use to be more successful in marketing. Social media and marketing follow the same patterns. It shouldn’t be all about you, but about your customers.

When I speak to my friends, I am seen as a geek (borderline nerd). I like photography, role-playing games, science fiction novels, and development. That’s me, Carlo. I will engage in deep conversations. I will challenge the parallel between Harry Potter and the British society. But this is when you talk to me, Carlo. When I engage with social media and marketing I will care about my customers. I focus on photographing women. I stand for self-confidence and positive body attitude. This is what I talk about and these are the elements I’ve become expert in.

Remember, be honest. I am very passionate about the role of women in society and in the way they perceive themselves. I would fight to show every woman how beautiful she is, no matter the size or shape. In connecting with women on social media, I push this side of me forward. It is the side of me that connects with what they love.

You may find useful > The fundamentals guide on how to make a marketing strategy for your photos

A beautiful chair on a black background

When you follow someone, follow your buyer persona

TL;DR – Stop following other photographers on social media

Before Instagram there was Flickr. Different medium, same format. So, while my story focuses on something different, the similarities are uncanny. It was more than 10 years ago when I started doing photography. I was following other photographers whose style I was in love with. On a personal level, it was a good connection. The likes were the dopamine that kept us returning to that site. My goals were to hit 1 million views on my photos and for the Flickr blog to feature me. I managed to do both. It felt as if I’d finally “arrived”. I felt like a “pro”.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I was not making money out of my images. Moreover, none of my virtual friends wanted me to take their portraits. This is the main issue in following your peers: you are not planting the seed into a rich soil. So, if you are doing it for yourself, by all means, keep doing it. But, if your goal is to build a business and you use social media and marketing together, then you need to stop. Your business needs to find rich soil where the right people can see you. You need to be where your buyer persona is.

One of the key advantages of phlow is that it is not based on the “follow 4 follow” pattern. Ideal clients don’t need to know who you are to be exposed to your photographs. You can read more about how phlow simplifies photographers’ life here.

You may find useful > Buyer persona: meet your future customers for the first time

Social media and marketing are about talking to the right person

TL;DR – knowing your ideal clients through a buyer persona is the way to go.

At a certain point in my career, I understood what an ideal client was. I realised it was important to know whom I should have spoken to. Alas, for a long time I did not realise that I needed to define this persona in a very detailed way. Saying that your client is a woman between 18 and 80 won’t be enough. The point is, what you say to an 18 years old girl is not what captures the interest of a 40-year-old woman. You need to know what the ideal person you want to photograph wants to hear about.

Check out the blog post about the buyer persona. Then go and download the template to build one. It will show you in details how you can understand your client at a deeper level. Social media and marketing can work together well. Yet, they should send out a consistent message that is of interest to your buyer persona. The more detailed it is, the easier it will be to craft the message to let it know you exist. The more they know about you, the more they can understand how your offering is going to help them.

You may find useful > The template to write a memorable buyer persona

Social media and marketing: quantity over quality

TL;DR – Stop counting likes and detox yourself from the Instagram dopamine

Nowadays, there is a tight relationship between social media and marketing. What we should be particularly wary of is our own personal relationship with it. Counting likes give us a sense of satisfaction. Yes, especially when the numbers are high. Yet, we risk associating social proof with business acumen. The people who like our images may not be our clients. If our belief is that we are succeeding because we have many likes on our images, we are trapping ourselves. The title of this post is “social media AND marketing” as they are not the same thing.

Focus on your ideal clients, on the buyer persona, and be very aware how you use social media to connect with them. Publish messages which resonate with your clients, not with your peers. Instagram, Facebook and similar are hunting grounds for savvy marketers. Be one!

You may find useful > More social media likes won’t empower you photography career

The way you do social media and marketing is the first step in your funnel

TL;DR – Social media is the hook to bring your ideal clients to conversion.

Have you ever met someone whose website is… Facebook? Or Instagram for what it matters? Or perhaps you are one of them. Using Instagram for business purposes is dangerous. What happens if Instagram closes your account, even by mistake? And how do you plan to send out a professional message? Are you asking your potential clients to judge you from a social media account? Social media should be a part of a larger marketing. It should not be your sole marketing. The best place to operate a conversion is not Instagram… it’s better processed by channelling your visitors to a ground you own. Your own website is the way to use best practices to convert.

Not having a website and relying on third-party sites may be appealing. It is cheap. You don’t need to maintain it. Yet, it does not give you the flexibility to treat your customer your way.┬áTry to see social media as an initial element in your funnelling, not the entire funnel itself. You can hear more about the funnel and learn how to leverage your social media accounts in a video I’ve just posted.

You may find useful > Marketing Funnels Demystified: what you need to know to do it right

Let me know your thoughts. Do you believe social media and marketing play well together? Give phlow a try: it is free and it is not a social media platform. Moreover, it allows you to connect with people who want to see what you create!

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Creator, photographer, idealist and traveller, in any order you like. Married to the most incredible woman on earth and dad to an amazing boy. The definition of luck!
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