Does TikTok terrify you?
Are you petrified by Pinterest?
Frightened of getting negative Facebook reviews?
Instagram making you feel ill?
(Ok, that’s enough alliteration – you get the point.)
Social media can be a scary place, social media marketing can be even scarier. Post the wrong thing and you risk inciting an angry mob. Post nothing and you’ll miss out on one of the best free marketing tools available to small business owners. And post the right thing, but without a strategy, and you’ll find yourself seemingly talking to no one.
How to Approach Fear-Free Social Media for Photographers
There are educators who can teach you all kinds of strategies about specific platforms, but for those of you who need a general guide on how to use social media without being paralyzed with fear, you’re in the right place.
Keep reading to discover how you can confidently show up as your authentic self when marketing your photography business on social media.
Change Your Social Media Philosophy
First thing’s first: you might just be using social media all wrong.
Think about it: WHY do you use social media as a photography business owner? What is the point? What’s your primary motivation for posting to Instagram or creating videos on TikTok or sharing your career wins on LinkedIn?
If you’re thinking “To get more clients” or “To get people to hire me!” then you may need to change your social media philosophy – NOW.
Post Social Media Content for the Right Reasons
No one – and I mean ABSOLUTELY NO ONE – opens up Facebook or YouTube or any social media app because they want to spend money. Sure, some folks might make a post looking for recommendations for who to hire or what to buy or where to eat, but by and large, people go to social media to socialize, not to shop.
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In the old days, before advertising took over social media, we all just went there to share photos of our pets and talk to each other about our daily lives. And at its core, that’s why people still use social media: to connect with friends and family. As social media users, we aren’t there to be sold to or pitched or solicited. So as business owners, we should not be there to sell, pitch, or solicit. At least not overtly!
Treat social media like a party. See what other people are talking about and join their conversations. Start your own conversations that relate to what they’re talking about. Offer helpful advice, entertaining stories, and a little insight into who you are as a person and a business owner.
Use social media to build relationships – and those relationships will be more likely to turn into paying clients. This style of photography branding is key!
Find Your Social Media Brand Voice as a Photographer
If you’re not a born storyteller, figuring out what to say and how to say it for your social media posts can be frustrating. One commonly given piece of advice is “write like you talk!”
I disagree slightly with this advice because: not everyone talks in an interesting way! No offense intended, but some people just aren’t great communicators. I’m going to throw my boyfriend under the bus here and use him as an example.
He’s brilliant and witty and has an interesting life, but he is not a great storyteller. I find myself often wanting to say “Get to the point!” when he tells me about something that happened in his day. He has a habit of giving too much backstory, going off on tangents, and getting stuck on details that don’t matter.
Telling him to “write like he talks” would be a disaster.
If you’re like him, better advice would be “find your voice.” Your writing voice can be different from your speaking voice – mine certainly is! When I write, I use tools for emphasis like sentence fragments, repetition, and alliteration (remember my cute lil introduction) that I wouldn’t necessarily use when speaking naturally.
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Here’s a creative writing prompt I learned in high school you can use to help find your writing voice: write a short story (no longer than 1 page) without using any “to be” verbs. That would include words like:
You’ll find yourself thinking of sentences totally differently when you try to eliminate these verbs from your vocabulary (temporarily) and it should help you expand your idea of what makes a good sentence.
When in Doubt, Use a Content Formula
If just winging it and throwing sentences at the screen with reckless abandon isn’t in your comfort zone just yet, there are a few tried-and-true formulas you can use to write better captions or record better videos of yourself speaking.
This formula is great because it speaks to people’s pain points. Think about your ideal client, who you’re trying to reach, and who is likely to be following you.
They’ve likely got some fear, hesitation, or straight up loathing related to the service you provide. SOMETHING is keeping them from hiring you. What is it? Figure that out, tell a story about someone else who has faced that problem, and spell out exactly what your solution is.
Here’s an example: a lot of people don’t hire a photographer because they think it’s too expensive. Affordability is a pain point.The solution is not to lower your prices to the point of driving yourself out of business. The solution is to address the fear by talking about the value you provide. Here’s an example:
As if sending your kid off to college wasn’t expensive enough, now you need to shell out $$$ for senior portraits? I get it: who knew graduating high school was going to cost so much?
I graduated back in 2004 and senior portraits were SO 2004. Lots of posing on train tracks or in a studio with giant numbers. I look back and cringe at how cheesy the photos were…and I’ve made it my mission to never let a high school senior leave my session with photos that are going to make them squirm with embarrassment. Creating custom portraits that perfectly fit your child’s personality and honor their high school experience is truly priceless.
That’s why I’m offering payment plans that fit any budget and sessions that include graduation announcements and invitations: because every student deserves to remember their high school years with pride. Remember: just say “no” to cheese senior photos!
Take fear out of the social media equation
Not only can using a content formula make creating social media content for your photography business easier — it also makes it a heck of a lot less scary. You’re not starting from scratch or relying on your limited marketing expertise.
You’re using a tried-and-true technique. And what’s more reassuring than that?
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Ready to Use Social Media Without Fear?
Social media should be a fun way for you to connect with your audience and build relationships with future clients. Just remember: you’re there to help people, whether that’s by brightening their day, teaching them something new, or sharing a story that makes them feel understood.
By changing your social media philosophy, honing your voice, and equipping yourself with tools and techniques that make content creation easy, you’ll find yourself feeling confident and ready to take on the digital world.