You say your work speaks for itself.

But does it?

In an age where every website that matters is connected in some way to social media, is your work strong enough to speak for itself? On an internet saturated with photographs, how do your photos get attention?

Do you want the truth? Even if you win the National Geographic Photo Contest, there’s a good chance that announcement will be drowned out by social media noise. People would rather look at ‘LOLCats’ or tweet about Justin Bieber. Guess what was trending on Twitter when I wrote this? #OnlyGhettoPeople and “Happy Chocolate Day!”

Your work can’t speak for itself anymore. Not on the Internet, anyway. Too many people are talking, and you can only “Like” yourself on Facebook once.

So how can you make social media as useful for your photography business as it is for asinine trends? Get your fans to speak for your work, too!

1. Connect Your Website

The first step is adding social media links to your photography portfolio. Depending how you organize your portfolio, this could be a pain. But it’s worth it because it increases your chances of exposure through social media.

Mashable has an excellent step-by-step article, complete with code snippets, to add social sharing buttons to your website.

I recommend adding share buttons to your homepage as well as to every photograph in your portfolio. Someone might fall in love with a photo and want to add it to their Facebook page, while another user would prefer to ‘Like’ your homepage on their StumbleUpon account. It’s basic usability rules. You want both options to be available.

If you use Nimbus, you’re lucky. Nimbus comes fully equipped with connections to social media moguls like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

2. Use Social Sharing

The second step is to use social media. If you don’t have a Facebook Page for your photography business, make one. If you don’t have a Twitter account, create one and start consistently tweeting.

Believe me, I understand how much time investment this is going to cost. There are not enough hours in the day for me, either. Challenge your business brain to think like this: signing up for social media sites is free exposure. The Return on Investment is enormous, and the initial cost is only time. Nothing out of your pocket.

Troll Twitter when you’re winding down at the end of the day. Make some (funny) jokes. Add your old clients as Facebook friends and ask them to “Like” your Photography Business Page. Leverage your existing social network to build an even bigger, broader, better network through social sharing!

Here’s article from the PhotoShelter blog detailing how three professional photographers – Ian Sitren, Jurgen Ban-Hansmann, and Tyson V. Rininger – use social media as an extra arm of their photography business. These guys actually get results, so pay attention to their tactics.

3. Make Friends

The last step – drum roll – is to make friends! There’s no magic formula, no simple solution, no instructions or rules of engagement for this one.

Even if the pros of social media, the ones who garner hundreds of thousands of followers from scratch, were giving you step-by-step instructions, the process couldn’t be repeated. It’s organic and still in experimental stages.

The important thing is to try to connect with people. It’s as simple as a comment here, a piece of advice there, a small kernel of encouragement to the right person at the right time. Any of these things could bring in business through referrals. Maybe one of your fans followed you because she wants full-size prints for the new apartment she’s moving into? Six months later, you make the sale. Anything is possible!

4. From Social Media to Business Strategy

With a little luck, you’ll be well on your way to building a solid customer base via social media. Try not to be put off at first, sometimes it takes a while to notice the ripples of social media affecting your business. Whatever happens, don’t stop interacting with people, and don’t just let your photographs speak for themselves. Speak up for them and involve other people as much as you can!

About Matt Herron
Matt is a copywriter on The Phuse team. You can find him on Twitter or read more of his work at http://mgherron.contently.com. The Phuse has been hard at work creating Nimbus themes for over a year.

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