A great many photographers talk, digitally, about themselves, all the time.
You’ve seen this in action – I know I have – good photographers making good images who maintain Twitter streams or blogs comprised only of tweets and posts about themselves or their photos.
This isn’t narcissism (for the most part). It’s a failure to communicate to customers effectively in social media. It’s a symptom of how easy online communication has become.
Blogging, tweeting or posting our photographs is cheap and easy. Using our photography as the substance of our online communication is a natural choice.
However, doing so is counter to the goals we go online with in the first place — to attract more customers, because it creates a destructive social media monologue.
The Serious Photographer’s Online Marketing Paradigm Shift
When a person buys from you, your photography is part of the purchase process. At some point, it’s crucial. People do care about your photographs, after all, but making them your online marketing message doesn’t help people find you when searching the web.
People search the web based on their needs. When our photography becomes substance of our online communication, we fail to address these needs. Until your products or services are known to meet customer needs, you remain anonymous.
“Until your products or services are known to meet customer needs, you remain anonymous.” (tweet this)
The photographer’s monologue fails to deliver on what potential customers seek online – information. It also fails to communicate anything of value about your brand, services and service levels, pricing, credibility and experience — all things we need to know to buy from you.
To fix this, make your online communication about customer needs, not your photographs.
Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) shows we seek specific and multiple types of information when researching products and services online. We also spend more time researching and less time listening to sales spiels. Nowadays, we go online to self-direct our buying decisions.
Do A Social Media S.W.O.T.
Ask yourself a couple questions. Do a mini social media S.W.O.T., right now:
- Do your photographs qualify as real, valuable, credible information that I need to buy from you? (Answer:____________________)
- In the course of researching products like yours, do your photographs help me find you online? (Answer:____________________)
- If so, how? What would I search on to find you? What keywords? (Answer:____________________)
- When you conduct this search yourself (while logged out of Google), does your website appear in search results? (Answer:____________________)
- Where else (forums, blogs, social media sites, etc.) are conversations relevant to your products occurring online? (Answer:____________________)
- Do you have a presence in those places that focuses on customer needs, using the language they use online to find products and services like yours, and that addresses their issues effectively? (Answer:____________________)
If you cannot affirm all of these questions with real answers and your expectations from your use of social media is to attract more business, you may have a problem.
The sooner you acknowledge this, the sooner you can develop a focus to why and what you blog and tweet. You’ll also gain more from the time invested in marketing yourself online while also building true business value.
What do you think? Have you created content to meet customer needs? Do you have a firm understanding of your customers? Do you think this really matters?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
- The Serious Photographer’s Halo of Visibility (Part One)
- Eight Essentials to Marketing Your Photography Online
- The Photographer’s Value Knowledge Gap
- What is the Customer Journey (and Why Photographers Should Care)
- S.W.O.T. Yourself to Beat Social Media Clutter