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Best Social Media Tools For Photographers

Category: Business, Opinion, Video
Tagged with:
Dec 28

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So Many Choices. Which is Best for You?

We are talking Social Media all week! Today we are looking at 4 tools you can use to help build your brand. I cover what I feel are the pros and cons of each, and give advice on what service is best for you.

Today’s Episode Timeline

  • 0:40 – Why Facebook is for Stalkers
  • 1:40 – How Facebook should be used
  • 2:20 – Using a fan page instead of a personal page
  • 3:30 – Twitter is great for conversations
  • 3:40 – What to do with your Linked-In account
  • 4:20 – Google + is confusion
  • 6:20 – Google + is somewhere between personal and business, but clunky with both
  • 6:40 – What service you should use
  • 8:30 – There are so many people on each network, you don’t need them all
  • 9:00 – Why I like twitter most
  • 9:30 – Twitter makes it easy to see who is “important”
  • 10:30 – Why not having a choice is a good thing
  • 9:30 – Twitter makes it easy to see who is “important”
  • 11:30 – Think twice before hitting SEND


Facebook is by far the most popular of all these tools, and it has really paved the way for what social media can do. Because it has had to grow and adapt over the years, it has become bloated. Other services were able to just jump in and see what facebook did right, and what it did wrong, and base their services on that information.

The biggest flaw with Facebook is actually not the service itself, it is in the way people are using it. I think mainly because there was no great alternative, it has become just a tool to connect with people. That is probably ok for a lot of people, but as photographers our circle of influence extends far beyond our “freinds”. What we wind up with is a bunch of people who want to be our “friends” that we don’t even know.

My advice- direct them to a fan page, don’t accept them as friends.

Facebook has improved recently with the ability to “Subscribe” to people without being their “Friend”. The addition of fan pages is also a great idea. It is obvious that facebook saw those things happening and has taken steps to help. Still, with 50 different options on how to interact with people, I feel most people will go with what they know – and keep on friending people.


Sucks. Don’t use it.


For the way I enjoy interacting with people, twitter is a perfect fit. By stripping away almost everything, and not allowing people many options, twitter remains very clear in use. I feel that out of all the services, it also has the greatest staying power.

What I love about Twitter

  • Who is important – You can see very quickly how many followers a person has. Chances are that if that number is above 5k, they are probably worth talking to.
  • Quick – It is impossible to feel bogged down with twitter. 140 character limit means quick concise conversations. If you need to go more in depth, you can always email or call the person.
  • No Choice – You have no choice if someone follows you or not. This takes away your responisbility to put them in a category. It also makes people interact in a way that is appropriate for everyone to see.

Google +

Google + has always confused me. It is totally possible that I am more dense than the rest of the population. To me it seems like they saw a flaw in facebook, and came up with an OK solution to the problem. By allowing you to put people in circles, and then decide what information you post to which circles, it was supposed to solve all these problems.

The problem is that a lot of people fall into multiple categories. NONE of the people I am closest to even have a Google + account. If you have many people you connect with, putting them all in circles takes a long time, maybe it is just me, but I gave up after 100, and went back to twitter.

Every time I login to Google +, I just wind up feeling a bit confused. I am not exactly sure what to do there, and I get the feeling most other people don’t know either.

What Service Should You Use?

Use the one you like the best. Really, you don’t have to use all of them. Almost everyone I know will disagree with me here, but I feel so damned overwhelmed by it all. If I feel like every time I do anything, I have to spend the next hour telling everyone about it, I will never get anything done.

I would really rather spend my time producing than doing almost nothing and trying to convince everyone that I am doing almost everything.

Pick one that you like. Hit it hard. There are enough people on every platform to choose from. You do not need 100,000,000 people to follow you in order to be successful. Do the things that are worthy of having followers, and everything else will take care of itself.

What Works For You?

What service do you find works best for you?

  • Anonymous

    What do you think about tumblr? It’s not the best for dialogue, but there are some great creatives who use it.

  • Theoneandonlythumper

    I use a Facebook page, mostly because I can upload entire albums of my photos and get feedback and interact a little more directly on a personal level with customers and friends and potential clients. And it is VERY fast in growing your fan base.

  • Juan Cruz

    I keep my personal info off of social medias. I might have very very little on there. I’m starting to like G+ a lot because I follow people that tend to have links to cool stuff and great information. I check it everyday. On Facebook i tend to have more interactions with models, MUAs and people i hang out with. I also post most of my photo shoots on there. I meet a lot of new people that I sometimes start working with. I have a Twitter account but don’t use it. Maybe I need to start. I like Flickr and Model Mayhem also. I like looking through photo streams and see how people have so many great ideas. It’s a lot of time going through all of them but we are in the age where social medias are highly used.

  • Juan Cruz

    I like Tumblr. Easy to follow people i like.

  • Jay

    I think if you look at it from a connect and educational purpose, you’re right on.  However, it’s obviously much more complex than that.  The largest consumers of the services are fairly age specific on use facebook = high school/college and now the later baby boomers.  Twitter = young professionals and people looking for education or offering professional services or marketing.  Linked in = corporate employees, executives, etc looking for jobs, social connections for business to business deals.  

    That’s from a use perspective, but from a marketing perspective, they are totally different.  Facebook has a wealth of information on you and can create very targeted marketing and with the right strategy can be a huge branding tool for the high school and college markets.  Twitter allows people who don’t have huge ad budgets to position themselves as experts and get exposure and followers who know what they offer and they can actively see your expertise in action.  It’s also a great platform for getting out snippets of education for larger educational offerings and getting an education from it :) .  Linked in is about getting a searchable resume of professional skills up for people and when you’re looking for a job, friends and past co-workers are the best way through a door.  Recruiters, contractors, etc use it pretty heavily.  Google+, I think they don’t know what they want to be, but they want in on the money so they are trying something that supposedly eliminates some of the complaints of other services, but no clear strategy.  So everyone has an account, no one uses it regularly.

    So from a use perspective, I think you covered some key points.  I think though, depending on your market, the demographics and marketing capabilities will end up being more important for your selection of social media.  Blogging combined with facebook seems to be a pretty big emerging alternative to straight social media.

  • Corymking

    How about formspring?  I know a lot of photographers that use that, but it’s confusing to me.

  • Jay

    And, don’t tie your strategy to one.  Remember MySpace :) ?  They can shift in a second based on a fundamental change in privacy model, technology, access methodology, etc.  Doing one and basing your business model on it is incredibly dangerous.  Finally, social media, blogging, etc is a great way to help with your search engine optimization and getting your rankings up in google.  Another great way to bring in business and make people aware of who you are and what you offer.

  • Carina

    I totally agree.  I think LinkedIn also has a lot of potential with the ability to join groups that function almost like forums.  However, the problem with that is in the groups I’ve joined so far, I don’t see a lot of people who I am specifically interested in connecting with actually participating in discussions.  It’s definitely an older demographic, which is fine, but I’m looking more for my own peers.  Further, there’s a lot of spam and promo posts that clutter up the valuable content.  I’m going to try to explore it more and see if that kind of group exists because I like that kind of format – does that make me old school a little bit?  Does anyone have suggestions for forums with a vibrant community of photogs?

  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t you consider Flickr a social media outlet? There seems to be a lot of socializing there.

  • Sebastian Ortiz

    I totally agree!!! 

  • Jay

    Unfortunately I used it when I was a software executive.  Those groups are pretty clean on that side and organized.  Can’t speak for the photography side.  My guess is it probably isn’t quite the best for that.  Although the other creative elements such as Graphic Arts, etc might be pretty prevalent.  To be honest, I now just get recruiter calls for my old software world twice a month off it.  I’m not active now.  And old co-workers, employees, etc contact me for references.

  • Vitaliy Piltser

    I’m still not sold on Google+, I got invited when it was in it’s beta form and still haven’t found the value in it. Everyone seemed to have jump on it just because it was “the thing to do.” It does display photos better than FB, in my opinion, but other than that, it’s nothing new.

  • Aaron Nace

    Tumblr is awesome for inspiration

  • Gábor Lénárt

    Yeah! I think tumblr is really good for inspiration!:)

  • Rhiannon Connelly

    I’m still getting the hang of twitter but I love facebook!

  • vosloo

    I LOVE your sandbox analogy! looking forward to the rest of this series! Rock it brother

  • MabynLudke

    Facebook has been an invaluable tool for my business. I will agree there are things that they could vastly improve, (so I could make my personal page more personal) but I can’t deny that it’s been a significant tool in my arsenal. Maybe this is more effective because I’m a wedding photographer, I’m not sure. 
    Facebook has allowed me to create a fan base by posting pictures from other clients weddings, tagging them, and therefor allowing their family & friends to link directly back to me. Quite frequently I have heard in client interviews “Oh I stalk you on facebook!” or “I saw Jane Doe’s wedding on FB and I love it so I contacted you!” I now have a FB system where I link all of my blog updates on my fanpage (and fwds them to twitter) and then share them on my personal facebook. I now get a double exposure because not everyone who is my fan is my friend and vice versa. I wont deny that the thought of starting up a new FB profile just for my really close friends hasn’t crossed my mind, but I also have to give FB the props it deserves in the roll it’s played in my business. It allows me to easily show my work to a broad spectrum of potential clients with little effort. The new “Subscribe” tool has also been useful for the personal side. I now can unsubscribe from those people who friended me just to follow my work. Therefor freeing up my stream for my close friends and colleagues. One of my goals for the 2012 season is to get more adept with twitter. I’ve been neglecting it. Sorry little birdie! ;o)

  • Jane Sampson Photo

    Great episode Aaron.  I also am just coming around to the usefulness of the social media sites.

    I created a photography page on Facebook back in September and just discovered this morning that I never published it! LOL!  I need to figure out how to put the Like button on there.

    I’m guilty of not knowing how to use Twitter also.  Thanks for sharing your experience. I think I’ll change my attitude toward Twitter.

    I have never heard of tumblr, will have to check it out.

    I signed up for Google+, but I agree, it was too much work. I also don’t find LinkedIn useful for photographers, but it is VERY useful for software engineers in networking and getting jobs. So I have two different LinkedIn accounts.

    I use flickr (which I consider social media) more than anything else.  I’m building a portfolio and find flickr helpful in allowing me to determine which images are good or bad or need more work. Plus I have made several friends on flickr.

    I also recently created a blog where I plan on sharing pre-production and post-production information on the  photographs that I am working on.  I only have two posts on it right now, but I will be putting up more. I enjoy reading other photographer’s blogs and have learned a lot from reading them.  One that comes to mind is Brooke Shaden’s blog:

    Do you have a blog Aaron?

  • Todd Douglas

    Nice article!  I’ve been thinking a ton about this lately too.  I feel like I’m drowning in too many options and wasting too much time posting to all of them.  So thanks for taking this week to teach us!

    My thoughts on the different socials:

    Facebook:  I’m learning toward only using the facebook page (not profile) as my only method.  I think it’s still good to generate new business IF you engage the community (and if your business is shooting normal clients) and not commercial photography.  So I’m going to try working on this.

    Google+:  Love it, but as said, it’s great for photographers.  Not really going to gain any business from it but I have learned some great tips from other photogs.

    LinkedIn:  Totally agree with you!

    Flickr:  I think it’s just not that useful anymore.  I get inspiration from it, but all you ever get from comments are “great” and “love it” and that doesn’t really do anything.

    Twitter:  Like it but haven’t found it as useful as Facebook.  I think it’s better for people who are well established (like yourself) than us lowly ones. :)

    Those are the few I use and I feel overwhelmed with just those!

  • Jenna Petrone

    I think the more facebook updates, the easier it is to stalk people. haha. I try to refrain from adding people I don’t know on facebook, I mainly use it to keep in touch with my friends and family.  I think it’s great for fan pages because it”s great advertisement and getting your work/business noticed.  I also think facebook takes away from real social life.  I know people who would rather sit and talk to people through facebook than a simple phone call or meeting up to hang out.

    I am just starting out on twitter.  At first, I didn’t like it.  I didn’t know how to use it and I didn’t know what to tweet about.  Now, the more I use it and the more I connect with people with similar interests as me, the more I like it.

    I personally enjoy tumblr to follow specific blogs for art and literature and things like that.  I get a lot of inspiration from tumblr but at the same time, it can be ridiculous with what people end up posting.  One of my professors likes using tumblr to share information, images and ideas with each other for classes but honestly it’s hard to do that on tumblr.

    In the last few days, I’ve had limited access to computers/internet and I found myself wanting to check on facebook/twitter/phlearn more than every once and a while.  Social media really has had an affect on me and I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing that I have the need to know what’s going on and who’s trying to contact me throughout my day.

  • Jenny Su

    Add one thing you missed, Facebook is the most world-wide social media…i mean i’ve seen people from every continent using it.(I don’t think Asian people use twitter…none of people i know in actually life use twitter). So if you want something to spread fast and worldwide, make people repost it on facebook:] 

  • Tony Walls

    I definitely get the most use out of facebook.. I just started twitter and tumblr.. I’m still getting used to the 140 character limit.. I’m a pretty verbose person because I was always taught to expound on my thoughts (English Minor). I think people are migrating from flickr to which is becoming the next flickr in my opinion. Just like people went from photobucket to flickr.

  • Mike Fendt

    Linked-in Google + don’t use it, too messy don’t understand it 
    Facebook – Love it found models there made new friends, stalked them lol 
    Twitter – Like it but don’t get many reply’s back must be doing some thing wrong? Follow me ;0D Mike_Fendt!/Mike_Fendt 
    Model Mayhem – Not very social but good enough love it. 

  • Franklin Rivera II

    I agree with most of this article.  However, I think that the confusion with Google + is that people are trying to treat it like other social networks.  Google+ actually forces you out of your comfort zone to interact with people that normally would not be in your circle.  After time, they become your circle.   And remember, the more exposure on Google, the better you do in the rankings

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