Friday, December 19, 2014

Perspectives. Social Media and Brand Building

Often times I attach a photo to a thought on social media and I have started this post many times, but decide that what I am trying to explain here is not being done so effectively.
So here is my last ditch effort, and we shall see if I am able to do so this time. If you are reading this, than obliviously, I think I may have gotten this right.

Here is what has been going through my mind that for some reason I simply could not put into word.
Let's start off by covering our friends and how they relate to social media. Some friends, you know personally, and some are simply by association. Those we call friends, are friends for a reason. So lets define friends. A friend is a person that you may hang out with, or confide your thoughts too. In addition a friend is always a person who is supportive and often times will offer a thought when an opinion is shared. Now how this all ties into what I am going to say can be looked at in many different ways, but my point of this statement is to simply put something into perspective as it relates to a photographers social media activities. In my case, I am a photographer, and like most I have a facebook social media page. Now many of my friends have connected with that page, and when I post a photo there, my friends are often the first to show their support. In short, a photo is posted, and the likes come pouring in. However, this is all encouraging, but if you tie this to your overall goal, and lets be honest here, the reason you created a page was to simply put your name out there and hope that it will increase your brand awareness and one day lead to an income stream, that ties back to what you do as far as occupation, or what you would hope to be your occupation. With that out of the way, I am going to make another statement that could be taken in may different ways. You have posted your photo, and the likes have rolled in, but it leads to a new question. How come my photo has not gained me any attention or lead to anything better. Well can I offer you a thought. Maybe just maybe, the image you posted is just a snapshot and the feeling you had when all your friends liked it was just a way that they showed there support and the reality of all this is, your image may be decent but it does not really invoke an emotion. That is what is needed to propel you out of the everyday norm and connecting with people other than your friends is one of the most difficult things to do.
So let me give you an example. Over time, I have learned to look at things differently. As a photographer, one thing I know for sure, there is no shortage of us and here's the hook, EVERYONE THAT OWNS A QUALITY DSLR considers themselves a photographer for hire. I myself have experienced the letdown of having that title Photographer and being very highly ranked in Internet searches, but on a local scale, people choose photographers based on personality rather skill. Now I don't want to sound like I am upset about this, because here is the reality. There is a huge difference between photographing people and doing work for commercial entities. To summarize, when media departments contact you there is a reason for this and in the business world skill outweighs personality on a grand scale. Now back to my point. A couple of nights ago I took a little trip to our local village. I was inspired to do so, because of an event that happened last year. A comment was made, that it certainly would be nice to have a photograph of our village during the holiday season. Not having the time last year, I was sure to make it a point, that this year I would compose such an image. I however did not factor in that so many had such a strong tie to the community and once again by doing something that would seem normal, it prompted quite a reaction, when I posted the image. Of coarse my friends showed their support, but this time something magical happened and as a facebook page manager this is what  was you wish would happen every time you posted. Now let me break this down into logistics. Now may page had a modest following of 847 people. Not bad considering my demographic location, and the amount of time I spend promoting the page, and I also have to mention, that I have never paid for a like on that page nor have I ever paid to boost a posts reach and I never will although facebook is real big on letting me know that 39 of my friends who have pages have paid to boost a following and or a post. This also includes fellow photographers and if it works for them, great, but from my standpoint, I would prefer a real following vs the alternative.
To also expand on the logistics of this, recent changes in facebook algorithms restrict how many people see your content, unless of coarse you want to pay for the reach. I will tell you though, you can shatter that algorithm, but it is not an easy task. The only way I know how to do this is through emotion. If you can capture an image that would have meaning to people, that's a start. Once you edit the image, and post it, you simply have to wait for the results, and mine came within 24 hours. A few "friends" saw the photo, and it created a connection with them. Then, and it is rare, I was asked if the image could be shared with a few local groups?  As always, when asked, I say YES! Here is why. The only way you are going to make that connection is to let people see what you do. Shares people, that is the key to brand building, and connecting with a market that may need your services. If you can create an image that connects with people, and that image is shared, all of a sudden you have a photo that is blasted beyond the restriction algorithm that is in place on facebook. Now keep in mind this algorithm restricts your posts to a roughly 200 people directly from your page. But if people share your image that restriction is quickly shattered.
The image.

Now to readers of this blog, maybe this will simply be just a picture, but to residents our town this image connected with them.
Here is the stats on this page when I screen captured.

I highlighted the shares as this was the most important part of making this image take off with the people in the community and it goes without saying that at current count 120 people have liked the image, but that point is kind of the norm as many of the likes comes from friends who always show their support. Both numbers are appreciated, but the shares are what's needed, and you can always ask your friends to share, but often is the case they simply wont do that. This in turn will lead to another question. Why? My answer to this is based on the quality of content and if that content connects with people, and once again it all depends on if your content invokes an emotion. 

Key points, Quality content, Content that connects with your audience, and Shares. 

My next post, will expand on the topic of content and how to judge that content. Is my photo good enough to help me build my brand. 

Thanks for the read.
Until next post: Get out there.
Seasons Greetings 

About Me

My photo

Well if you are here, and you have added me to your circles, than it's safe to assume you wanna know how I got these scars. First off I will cover photography. I have been snapping a shutter since 1983 and some of my captures are well known. Photography means a hell of a lot to me and like many photographers I carry a certain air of pride in the work I do. The experts say you have to specialize in one genre of photography and I say ok, Well my genre is simply not to specialize. Loving what I do, I will tell you that life can turn on a dime and you have to live each and everyday to the fullest. While you are out doing that, snap some photos along the journey.
Personally, I am a dad, a husband, and I work my tail off to provide for my family and involve myself with causes I believe in. The hard work has paid off and I think I am one lucky guy. Three awesome kids, one hot wife, a boston terrior, whats not to love.. 
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