Note from the Department of the Obvious, social media is important to a photographer or anyone in the photographic sphere. This includes models, makeup artists, hair stylists, designers, fashion stylist, assistants, retouchers, etc., etc. Social media can be used to show off our work, promote ourselves, connect, get inspired, and communicate with others. The list goes on. Many times the only way we connect & communicate until working together is through social media. Like I said, Obvious.
My question is, how do you want to introduce yourself? How do you want to connect? What first impression are you making?
I’m pointing this out because like most of you, I routinely get requests to connect socially. Or, people reach out to me through social media to work together (i.e. they are responding to a casting call). And yet, when I look at their social media I have absolutely no clue what they do, why they are connecting or I’m so put off by their timeline (or equivalent) I go no further. I bet others have the same experience
Alright, alright, I’ll admit I’m showing my age … but I’m NOT a “get off my lawn” type of guy. I’m just saying if you are using social media to motivate me or others to work with you, collaborate or promote yourself you need to be aware what you are putting out. It’s REALLY simple.
Want to connect? Here are some tips when reaching out to a photographer like me. Note, as I’ve said in previous posts on similar subjects…I’m nothing special…these are only my opinions based on experiences. So here you go.
- Have a separate page for social, political, family type posts from your professional posts / presence. This could be as simple as using Instagram for your professional side and Facebook & Snapchat for friends and family. Or have a professional page on FB and a social FB page. If someone is trying to see your hair styling skills we probably don’t care what your political views happen to be.
- You need a gallery or site exclusive to the skill being promoted. If you are a freelance model then have a separate gallery which contains ONLY your portfolio. Your cat is really cute, but it doesn’t belong in your portfolio gallery. Last Saturday night at the club looks awesome, but why is it in your gallery? Make it easy for others to know exactly what you offer.
- Your gallery must be easy to find. Point to it. Don’t make me search. Unless me or someone is seeking you out because of reputation or recommendation we probably won't search to find your gallery. When it comes to me, I’m not dick, I just don’t have the time.
- Make it easy to be contacted & let people know your preferred method to communicate. Check your messages regularly. Check your “message request” sections in social media if we are not already socially connected. If you want to connect via text then you need to give us your phone number. Email you say? Well what’s your email address? Oh and by the way, no, I'm not going to "give you a call", texts are best to start the dance.
- Keep your gallery up to date especially if your skills have improved or your looks have changed.
- The good thing about social media is also something that can make it so toxic. You can say just about anything without a filter, and unfortunately many people do. Remember, if you are trying to work with someone be careful what you say online. This is one of the advantages of separate platforms for your business versus social activity. Some people may have different opinions so they won’t even take the risk of working with you, so keep it separate. I’m super comfortable with almost any opinion and pretty tolerant, but even I sometimes get put off by the ranting. Keep it out of your business page.
- Successful or skilled people don’t need to tell you they are successful or skilled. Telling me how bad ass or amazing you are is a rookie move.
- Don’t tell the world you are going to prove your hater’s wrong. It may make you feel better, but trust me, no one cares. Don’t focus on “haters”, focus on your skills.
- If you don’t get a job or someone doesn’t want to work with you, then don’t go primeval on them socially. It may be your looks, skills, experience or talents don’t match up with the concept, theme or mood board. If you bash someone it may make you feel better, but it’s proof you don’t have good business sense.
- Be real honest with your skill / experience level represented online. It’s super easy to promote yourself socially or use filters / tools to make you look different than what you really are. If you are hired based upon your social media and its not accurate people will find it out quickly.
- Be interactive socially. Most people will not find you unless you are already well know or have a well established reputation. In those cases they will seek you out. If you’re not there yet then be interactive and let people know you are available. Be active posting industry related information, comment on posts, link to others, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people you want to work with. However, don’t take it wrong if they don’t immediately followup. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is busy.
See, like I said, obvious. Let’s connect.