You might be scratching your head as you read that title… but the fact is, Twitter is great for business, and that includes photography business.
Twitter isn’t quite like Instagram, where you can share your amazing images, or Facebook, where you can put a human face to your business while simultaneously sharing a comprehensive portfolio of your work – but it still has benefits for freelancers, business owners, and others in the photography industry.
Why? There are two big reasons.
1. Any social media presence can boost your standings on search engine results pages through links.
If you’d rather have a quick rundown, here you go:
Every time you post on social media (any social media) and use the post to create a link back to your main site, your main site gets boosted on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). And every time that post is shared, forwarded, emailed, etc., you get that boost again. This is one of the quickest legal and ethical ways to boost your ranking on SERPs and beat out the competition in the photography business market!
2. The use of hashtags on Twitter can have explosive implications for your business.
Yes, hashtags are in use on Instagram, too (and to a lesser extent on Facebook and other social media).
However, the hashtag first blew up on Twitter, and Twitter does the hashtag best – meaning that hashtags may get you a bigger audience on Twitter than on any other social network.
And although Twitter doesn’t give you the same opportunity to share your photographs in the same way as on Instagram, sharing images on Twitter can often have even bigger positive implications for your photography business – as images, like text, can be more easily shared on Twitter than on Instagram, where there is no readily accessible share or retweet feature.
Twitter can also provide you with a better opportunity than any other social media outlet to directly interact with clients and potential clients, answering questions about your photography business and making public statements that help you sell your services to the public! Because of Twitter’s emphasis on direct interaction and public availability, it can be the perfect medium in which to directly engage your customer base. This engagement can pay off big time, as it’s personal interactions with you (as well as your great customer service) that will help you win out over the big time photography firms.
Even if you’re skeptical about Twitter’s potential benefits for photographers, having a Twitter account and updating it regularly can only improve your business’ prospects – as creating fresh content on or in any medium is what will keep your business in customers’ hearts and minds, and make you memorable.
Once you’ve read that article and possibly done some other research on why local SEO matters and how to do it, you’ll need a little more detail to help put all those tips into action. I’m here today to help you put some of the most important work in when it comes to local SEO – getting set up with Yelp and Google.
If you don’t know already, Yelp is a hugely popular review site that often appears very high on Google results pages and can strongly influence customer opinion one way or the other.
If anyone has written a review for your business already, then it’s on Yelp and all you have to do is claim the business as your own. If you’re just starting or your clients haven’t written any reviews yet, you can also start your own business page (and then start encouraging customers to give you reviews).
You can do either of these things by going to this page on Yelp’s official site and typing in your business name and location to get started. The process is easy and Yelp walks you through it step by step.
They will probably try to sell you some advertising during this process, but I wouldn’t take that option just yet. Try doing local SEO on your own or with an SEO professional before paying a big company that doesn’t know your business personally to advertise – you’ll likely get better results that way.
To get reliable information about your business on Google Maps (while also opening it up for Google Reviews and a few other business perks straight from the search engine giant), you also need to register your business with Google. Luckily, this is an even easier process than registering for Yelp.
Go to the Google Business page to get started, and the site will easily walk you through the process. Within a couple of hours at most, you should be entirely set up to get business on autopilot through Google.
What are the benefits of each of these sites?
Having your business on Google will help customers find you, especially local customers or potential clients traveling through your area (because Google has all the other search engines beat when it comes to local and mobile search).
Having your business on Yelp won’t necessarily steer customers to your site (although it certainly can’t hurt), but can show the level of respect and admiration the community has for your work. You can also use it as a platform for directly interacting with customers, which I’m sure we’ll have a post about in the near future.
More than anything else, solid local SEO helps photographers like you win on Google.
If you’re reading this you probably know that SEO is important to helping your business find success. But how much do you really know about it, and about how to use it to your advantage?
Here’s the single biggest tip you’ll get to market your photography.
You need to focus on winning local clients. Why? As a photographer, you’re a local businessperson. Yes, there are plenty of photographers that travel the world, but if you’re just starting out, that’s not you – and if you ever want to get there, you’ve got to win the local SEO game first.
So what is local SEO as opposed to regular SEO?
It works in much the same way, except that you’ll specifically be focusing on getting customers within your general geographical area. Here are a few solid strategies:
Make sure that your address, including the city/county, is highly visible on all your business properties (main site, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
Register your business with sites like Google and Yelp, which will help you get reviews and appear near the top of Google for people searching in your town (especially when they search with mobile devices!)
Have customers “check in” at your business on social media, and try to market your social media pages to people in your geographical area through sharing and possibly some targeted ads
Use hashtags that will put your work in front of locals on Instagram and Twitter, such as the name of your town
Use the names of your town/city, county, state, and maybe neighborhood (if you live in a large or spread-out city) on your main site frequently so that they can be considered as keywords by Google
Doing all these things will optimize your site for local SEO marketing. Think of it this way: SEO in general is kind of like having an article about your business somewhere on the New York Times website. A lot of people might find it, but it might not be relevant to them, and it can often get lost in the haystack.
Local SEO, though, is like having your business on the front page of a local paper. Yes, the pool of total people who can see it is smaller, but it will be much more relevant to those that do see it.
If you’re interested in local SEO (and you should be if you want to succeed), check out this great article from seo.com on the subject, with some content-driven strategies that could also help you out. Also consider signing up for our cheat sheet, as we have huge but little-known tips there that can help with both local and general SEO.
Come back next time for an article delving deep into one of the specifics of local SEO marketing: using external properties like Google Maps and Yelp to win customers and get your photography business to the top of Google. While all the strategies detailed above are important, this might be the biggest key of all to winning at local SEO.
Let’s face it, guys. Social media is the “word of mouth” of the 21st century. It’s how customers get to know business owners and freely exchange information about a business, but is much faster and more effective than conventional “word of mouth.” It’s also quite a bit easier for businesses to control.
We’ve mentioned in many of our blog posts here at Photographer Marketing Academy how important professional social media profiles can be to helping you build your photography business, but this post is going to be devoted solely to exploring ways social media can be used to bring you clients on autopilot.
How does social media help with SEO?
Each social media account you create gives your photography business another chance to appear on the first results page for Google and/or other major search engines.
Each account also gives you a way to directly and personally market to individual potential clients while keeping in contact with all of your existing and former clients.
What social media platforms should I be using to market my photography business?
Any major social media platform can and should be used for marketing; these include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may also want to look at social media sites such as Google Plus and Pinterest.
This article will primarily focus on Facebook and Instagram because these are two of the best to get you photography clients.
What’s good about Facebook and how do I use it?
One of the first things you should do after getting a photography portfolio together is create a Facebook page for your business. Facebook has great instructions and tips for creating business pages, which are a little different from regular pages.
Upload some of the best shots from your portfolio to your business page, fill out the necessary information, make it public, and then invite your friends to join (and encourage them to invite their friends, and so on and so on).
Facebook helps by giving your business a personal, albeit professional, face to the world. It’s also a great way for potential clients to ask questions about your business, such as “What are your hours?” or “Do you shoot in a given location?”
Facebook has wonderful features like an instant messaging system and an opportunity for customers to review your business (which you should always encourage them to do). Because all of these are integrated into the same website, and the site is also so widely used, Facebook can be one of the best marketing tools at your disposal.
What about Instagram?
Instagram isn’t as great a direct marketing tool as Facebook, because it doesn’t provide the same expansive suite of customer attracting tools and ways of interacting with clients.
What it does provide, however, is the best possible place for you to show off your skills to the world.
Set up an account for your photography business, link it to your Facebook business page and your main website, and upload a great photo every few days. Always providing fresh, high quality content will keep customers interested and coming back for more.
You can also use Instagram’s hashtag system to attract thousands, if not more, of Instagram users to your account. Although some of these users may never need your photography services, if they like your photos and/or follow you it will increase your business’ visibility and respectability with clients.
We hope this is enough information to get you started – we will provide detailed explanations of ways you can use social media to get business in the coming weeks.
If you’re setting up your first photography website or a new one, WordPress may be one of your best options for building and maintaining a site. (For example, you’re currently reading a WordPress site – and this one looks pretty good, right?)
WordPress will walk you through the process of building a site and gives you many tools to help you optimize that site to appear on search engine results pages. Also, there are many SEO specific plugins available for WordPress that will increase your photography SEO capabilities even further. And if you choose to go with a professional photography marketer to get your site better rankings, most reputable SEO marketers will be very familiar with WordPress – for example, it is one of the minimum requirements for a marketer or staff writer on our own team.
If you decide to go with WordPress, here are a few tips to help you succeed.
1. Start by familiarizing yourself with the interface and writing blog posts.
Blog posts are one of the best ways to attract potential customers to your site. To market them with WordPress’ basic interface, try a few of these tips:
Use tags. You should include a few relevant search terms in the “tags” section of every blog post.
Use images to make your site more attractive and professional-looking, and to provide yourself with more SEO opportunities.
Use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to share your WordPress posts – once you’ve linked your WordPress sites to your social media accounts, you can do this with great ease.
Write professionally and use search keywords regularly throughout your posts. If you don’t know how to do this, consider hiring a professional SEO writer to help, or practice and do research to improve your own skills.
Once you’ve locked down these basic techniques for using blogs to attract people to your site, move on to #2…
2. Install an SEO plugin for WordPress, such as Yoast.
Yes, we’ve mentioned this one already – but we’re not the only ones excited by Yoast and other plugins like it. The SEO professional bloggers over at the site Kinsta recommended Yoast in their article on keeping your site relevant in 2017.
SEO plugins for WordPress greatly expand your SEO capabilities, and can allow you to tweak the finer details of your site with ease in order to bring more potential customers to you.
3. Keep fresh content coming. Don’t stop for ANYTHING.
Eventually, you’ll want to attract repeat visitors to your site. You’ll also want to be sure that new visitors look at your WordPress site as professional, relevant, and timely.
How do you accomplish all these things at once? By keeping fresh content coming as often as possible, of course.
This means you should be updating your blog regularly. Also be sure to update your photography portfolio as often as you can – because your images are what is going to sell you and your photography services to customers most of all.
Also be sure to update the main pages of your site (Home, About, Contact, etc.) as frequently as you need to. Your customers need to know everything about you that’s relevant to your job as a photographer, and also how to contact and hire you.
Whether you’re a wedding and event photographer, you primarily focus on creative or artistic work, or you’re trying to make money selling stock images, the best tool you have for marketing yourself is your portfolio of work. No one will hire you as a photographer without knowing you can shoot great pictures – and obviously no one will pay you for photographs they haven’t seen.
So getting your photographs onto Google images, especially for searches from potential customers in your immediate area, can grow your business overnight. But there are a lot of pictures out there, and making yours stand out requires a lot more than shooting a great photograph. Here are three of the most important things you’ll need to do to get your image to rank on Google.
1. Make sure your images are a reasonable size.
If you upload very large images – and most shots taken with a digital camera or a high-quality phone camera are overly large – be sure to resize them when including them in your website. Too many large images makes your site load more slowly, which can negatively affect your SEO. Anything over 500 pixels wide or tall is pushing it, especially if there are many images on a page.
At the same time, you want large images for potential clients to look at, right? To do this, you could link the images on your site (the small ones) to the original-sized image elsewhere – then focus on optimizing the smaller versions for search engines (because these are the ones that will help your site rank higher).
2. Use text to your advantage.
When you upload an image to a website editor such as WordPress, you’ll see several text options for images including Title, Description, Caption, and Alt-Text. Some of these are searchable by Google and some are not; all are worth filling out to make things easier on you (and in case any of the other criteria become searchable in future).
The alt-text is the main field you should worry about when it comes to SEO. Because Google’s text-based algorithm cannot “see” images, it reads the alt-text to understand what the image is about. The alt-text is also used as a replacement for a visual image when the image does not load, and as the description of an image for visually impaired users who use screen-reading programs or functions.
Some less reputable SEO marketers will use the alt-text as a place to spam with keywords, while some ignore it entirely or only use it as an opportunity to describe their image.
Using the alt-text simply to spam Google is unethical and could be punished by search engines, and could also alienate visually-impaired users. However, you can still use it as an opportunity to promote your work if you use search keywords and phrases such as “photograph by [your name]” within an accurate, legitimate piece of alt-text.
3. Make sure the world knows the images are yours.
Often, a small watermark in each of your photos is a good idea to discourage people from stealing images or re-using them without your permission.
You can also do a reverse image search to see if your image is being used elsewhere, and let other internet users know that it is your copyrighted image. Often this happens by accident, so it’s good not to be rude, but you also can’t allow just anyone to use your images – they are, after all, your art and livelihood.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, word of mouth and a few well-made flyers might have been enough to get a local photographer some attention – but even in those days, word-of-mouth as a local artist’s marketing tool was dying.
It’s all well and good to have customers talking about your business or to have a few photographs hanging for sale in local shops, but the internet is so important and competition so fierce now that a photographer without a strong online marketing strategy is dead in the water.
Two big changes have hit the industry in the twenty-first century: the first was the huge rise in popularity and accessibility of the internet, and the second was that everyone got a camera (first a clunky early-digital model, and then one built into a smartphone).
You know, because you’re an artist, that having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer – but there are a lot of potential clients (and competitors) out there who think they take pretty good photographs and therefore don’t need you. There are also a lot of competitors, some in your area, showing off and even selling their photographs or their services online.
So it logically follows that even if you want to stay 100% local, you need to start marketing yourself online too.
Almost everyone these days has a smartphone, and every time a potential client looks at his phone is an opportunity for you to advertise to him. But how do you do it?
The science of marketing over the internet, especially marketing something as specialized as photography (and showing customers why they need your photos instead of trying to take their own), is pretty daunting. Lucky for you, there are experts out there who can help with things such as
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The science of getting your website or social media account on the top page of Google and other search engines for relevant searches like “photographer near me” or even “how to take a photograph” – anything that could relate to your business
SEM (Search Engine Marketing): Additional work to boost your search engine results, including paid listings
Social Media Marketing: The creation of a wide variety of professional and relevant social media profiles to help your business promote itself and connect with customers
Online Reputation Management: The work behind keeping your reputation in the world of the internet spotless by promoting good reviews and fixing or hiding negative ones, as well as helping you put your best foot forward to potential clients and show them everything you’re capable of.
When you let the experts handle the marketing, you’re left to do what you do best: take wonderful pictures. And with the right presence and management on the internet, your photography business can grow itself – just like in the old word-of-mouth days.
Whether you’re just getting started selling your photography services or you’re already making money selling photographs locally, this simple guide will help you step up your game and take your photography business to the next level.
1. Develop a strong web presence.
This is maybe the single most important thing for any business that wants to grow in 2016 and 2017 to do. Even if you want to stay completely local for now, a web presence is a low-risk, high-reward way to bring clients to your business.
You’ll need an official website, which you can design yourself if you have the necessary skills or can hire someone else to do for you (we’ll get to this in step 2). You’ll also need to create social media presences for your business on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most of these are easier to set up and maintain than your official website, though depending on your skill level and time commitment, you may need outside help on these too.
Instagram especially is a great marketing tool for photographers, because of its visual focus and huge number of users.
2. Get some outside help.
Even if you can build your website and social media presence completely on your own, you’re going to need to hire or consult some experts at this point. There are tons of resources out there on the web that can teach you about marketing for photographers—whether that’s finding out how to make your web pages rank higher on Google, finding markets to sell your finished photographs, or optimizing contact with clients.
There are also companies that can help you market yourself and bring in many more customers at a relatively low cost to you. Be sure to do research and read testimonials so that you can find the best company for your needs, market, and resources.
3. Continually expand and maintain your network.
This step also involves outside help in a way, but a different kind than that which you’ll get from marketers. One of the best things you can do to help your business survive and thrive is building a network of clients, potential clients, contacts in the industry, and friends and family who can help spread the word about your service.
Always be ready to talk about your photography services to friends and acquaintances—you never know who could be your next client!
Also, be sure to keep in contact with former customers and make sure they feel well-served by your business. This can lead to good reviews, recommendations of your business to other customers, or customers repeatedly coming back to you for their photography needs.
With a strong network on the ground and a strong presence on the internet, there’s no way your business can fail, as long as you put your best work out there and continually maintain your presence as a photographer both online and in your own community.