June 24, 2011 / Tips + Tricks
Social Media: Sell Yourself, Not Your Services
For someone who jumped headfirst into the world of Facebook and Twitter, I struggled with social media ROI. Does my investment of time yield any real return for my photography business? To that, I say yes – social media allows me to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known and enabled me to stay in touch with people I do know. Case in point: I got acquainted with Mr. Nice Guy and opera singer turned pro photog Dustin Meyer through Twitter. Dustin is an award-winning photographer based in Austin who inspires photographers with marketing and shooting tips on his blog MpactPhoto, the Austin Collages.net CLASS group and at WPPI. Here, he talks about the importance of presenting a quality image of yourself on social media. Be the nice guy, not the guy people want to avoid :)
Follow Dustin on Twitter.
Post By Dustin Meyer
So some people call me a Twitter addict. I’ve also heard “Facebook fanatic”. Facebook even called me and did a case study on how I was using them to promote my studio. Right after that interview, they launched Facebook Pages. True, I do spend a lot of time on social media. Maybe because it’s a natural fit for my big mouth, or perhaps it caters to my more talkative nature. Either way, I use social media every day.
Queue the sighs of exasperation. I know. Every photographer out there is on Twitter. And what makes it worse is the constant barrage of self-promoting tweets I encounter every five minutes. Plus, there’s those spam bots that ask if you want to win a free iPad 2. No thanks, I already have one. So, how do we make sense of this “social mess”?
Disperse the brain fog, and take a deep breath. The one thing we always have in this world is our self. So, let’s start with that. Just like with dating, client meetings, or job interviews, you have to be yourself. If you are always out there putting up a front, people will start to back off fairly quickly.
Here’s an idea. Put something out there that’s genuine, without expecting any immediate gratification. Rather than running out into the street and shouting for everyone to pay attention to you, perhaps you could just say good day to the first person you walk past. Or even better, if you know about something that helped you, share it with others. Again, without any expectations of any return whatsoever. You will find that more people will appreciate your sincere generosity more than your ability to yell.
Why does this work? Junk is junk, whether it comes to your mailbox, your inbox, or your ear box. People become desensitized to the fuzz all the time. Why do you think advertisers are so worried about DVR? Everyone is skipping commercials these days. As photographers, you must remember that you’re out there to sell you, not your products or services. So represent yourself with a quality image of yourself, don’t just paint yourself with ads and bumper stickers.
Think of it like this when it comes to social media: we are all stars. But some of us are black holes, and others are supernovas. One kind always sucks inward, taking in everything and giving back nothing. The other is a bright undeniable source of energy that illuminates the entire universe. My favorite people on Twitter are those that find other people’s blog posts or other helpful information and share them with their followers. I almost always ignore those that are just out there to push themselves.
In conclusion, by presenting yourself as someone with an interest in others, you generate an image of yourself that people truly appreciate. Yes, it’s ok to share your excitement about your latest achievement. But keep it to a modest expression of glee.
So in this universe of social media, what will you choose to be? A black hole? Or a supernova…
Again, thank you for asking me to contribute to your blog. I know I’ve said it before, but you were one of the first speakers I saw at WPPI about 5 years ago. It’s definitely a humbling moment that I can help you out and share what I’ve learned with your readers.
Hand on my heart, thank you…
Thank you so much for this blog post. I’m pretty new to the whole Facebook and Twitter thing for my photography business, and this really helps give me direction :)
You have Dustin to thank! His insights into social media are refreshing :)