Social media and photography make an awesome coupling. Getting the word out about your business is easier now than ever.
Every day articles are written encouraging business owners to jump on the social media band wagon, and to use it to its fullest potential.
But, danger lurks if users are not very careful.
In an attempt to streamline workflows, many social media users are incorporating services such as Twitter to multi-task and keep family, friends, peers, and clients up to date; all with one click.
The only problem with this type of multi-tasking is that we communicate very differently with each group. Here lies the pitfalls of using social media to communicate with all.
I recently received an email from a woman looking to hire a photographer. Instead of just looking at their portfolios, she also chose to find them on Twitter and Facebook. She wanted to get a better sense of how they do business.
With this in mind, she only sought out Twitter and Facebook accounts that were directly connected with the photographer’s business. To paraphrase her email, she was aghast at the way many photographers presented themselves on social media under their business name. She passed on the Twitter account for a wedding and portrait photographer she was considering hiring, but decided against it after reading their Twitter stream.
I went onto Twitter to have a look. Every so often this photographer would tweet, “Just got back from shooting a precious couple. Congrats Jim and Nancy”, or similar. That is pretty typical and is designed to be seen by the couple themselves as well as potential clients. But, in between these types of tweets was an abundance of profanity, insults, complaining, and general TMI. By the time I had reviewed 50 tweets, I drew the following conclusions:
- She is disorganized, exhausted, and unable to manage her time
- She experiences a lot of road rage
- Most children she comes across in public irritate her
- She has spread her time too thin
- She loves to gossip about people she sees in public
- She is tired of shooting weddings
The reality is that I would not hire someone who gave me this impression.
I decided to do a little experiment and check out twitter streams of some photographers I follow. I looked at their latest 20+ tweets and decided on the impression I got from their one-sided tweet conversation. I have to say, there were a lot that concerned me.
The biggest thing to consider when using social media is that clients are more savvy than you think. Instead of just judging a photographer’s art, they are investigating their social media presence. In many cases, this is the deciding factor.
If you are incorporating social media tools such as Twitter, go to your stream and read your tweets. Pretend you are a client walking into your studio storefront and you can hear yourself on the phone reading the tweets out loud. How do you come across? Do you sound personable and professional or harried and disorganized?
Let’s be realistic. Twitter and Facebook accounts are there to act like a storefront or connection to your business. If your doors are open (or tweets are readable), you must consider the impression you are leaving those popping in for more information.
If you are not happy with how you are presenting yourself, perhaps you need to set up separate accounts for your personal and business needs.
Using social media is critical to success in this Internet age. But, it must be used responsibly.