So the big buzz these days is all about social media. It started roughly with MySpace , followed by Flickr and now it’s all about  Twitter and Facebook.  A bit like the “Long Tail” theory has been improperly swallowed by a  lot of photography professionals, social media is all but properly understood.

It used to be that, after creating a blog, you had to have a page on Myspace. And then it was you HAD to have a gallery on Flickr. Now, it has shifted to Facebook and Twitter. There is even a scheduled talk at the upcoming Photoplus expo on how to master Twitter for photographers.  I wonder if, at the time, they had a “how to master CB radio for photographers” and how well that worked.

Social media is a critical tool if you are in the B2C market, directly selling your products, or services, to the general public. However, photography is much more ( besides wedding photogrpahers) then a simple B2B product and service. A bit like raw oil. Try and sell raw oil to general public. No one would buy as they wouldn’t know what to do with it.

So, having a business Twitter  account and spending hours a day updating it in the hope of closing a major assignment or licensing deal is like walking your neighborhood doing door to door marketing. A shot in the dark. A completely useless exercise in futility with the added bonus of wasting your time and concentration. No one cares if you just came back from a photo shoot or finished editing 341 images in less than one hour thanks to Aperture. And you could Twipic your “best of” until you are  blue in the face, all they care about is funny cat pictures.

Facebook has, for photography, pretty much the same marketing value as Twitter . Unless you are already friends with a photo editor, no one will search Facebook to find you or hire you. Might as well use your account to post funny videos. That, people will like.

The fascinating part of all this is that there  are now so called self proclaim experts in these “marketing photography via social media ” who claim they can take your business from zero to millions thanks to “secrets” they have found. If that was true, wouldn’t they rather be enjoying there money somewhere on exotic beach instead of trying to sell you their useless approach ?

It is somewhat pathetic to see how so much of the photography community falls, year after years, into these marketing dead ends and forget that the number 1 rule remains always the same : Shoot meaningful images. Or, in other words ” It’s the content, stupid”. Nothing else, nothing more.

Sure, you might even be succesful in getting thousand upon millions of hits on your website thanks to you mastering social media. Still doesn’t mean you will convert any of these into a sale. Actually, all this traffic might even block actual buyers to get to your site.

After hours and hours updating your blog, Facebook account, Myspace page , Flickr account and Tweeting about all this, when does one find time to actually work on photography ? Don’t we spend already too much time online  ? Are does really successful in creating a huge following on social media selling any images ?

Social media for photography is only good for one thing : make your clients talk about you to your next potential clients. For them to rave about your photography and your incredible customer support. Your exquisite sense of professionalism and your impeccable delivery.  And to accomplish that, you need to stop Twitering and start shooting.

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2 Thoughts on “A bird’s eye

  1. Twitter is a giant waste of time. That’s why we had Feeds. I have like 30 feeds on my top FF row and it’s easy to scan them fast while having morning coffee.

    On Twitter, you all get it in the same noisy bin all the time. Nobody needed Twitter, now it’s here to stay like the meaningless chatter on txt (SMS) networks.

    Photographers don’t need Twitter, Facebook and least of all, photography blogs. If the blog is good, it will only attract and educate competitors. The only way it works is attracting referrals from new photographers.

  2. Siddartha on October 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm said:

    Actually, they are not photographers. Just big kids (or serious amateurs if you preffer) toying around. Getting to what you say it’s the carrot in front of a mule. It’s not the point. Just a wonderful dream. Otherwise they would have reached that conclusion long ago.

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