I know that social media can often feel like just one more thing in the long list of responsibilities of running a business, but it’s so important. Maybe even more important than any other marketing efforts. If you do it the right way, you can use social media to grow your photography business, and I promise, it doesn’t have to take over your life!
At the end of the day, social media is about connection. If you can show up there intentionally (and that doesn’t mean all day every day), you’ll have opportunities to connect with your dream clients and industry acquaintances.
It’s the space where you can share your most recent work, tell stories, humanize your brand, and network—without it feeling like networking. Plus, as great as a photography website and portfolio is, it’s just not the most convenient space to update or for people to find you. You can immediately upload recent work onto social media, and you have a way higher chance of someone finding you on social media than stumbling onto your website after a Google search.
But how do we do it well? Without it taking over our life? Here are my top tips for using social media to grow your photography business.
Focus on Your Niche
Make sure that your posts truly represent your brand and that your ideal clients can immediately identify what you do by just looking at your page. Post images of the kind of work you want to continue doing, and that you’d like to book more of because those are the kinds of clients that you want to attract.
Be intentional about your posts. You want to attract the right clients and repel the ones that aren’t a good fit for you. Always think about what your post is showing as far as your work and your brand. Make sure that your clients are seeing the type of images that you are going to create for them potentially.
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Numbers
Likes and follows are just vanity metrics. What is more important than numbers is your engagement.
When someone leaves a comment or sends you a message, try to respond to them in a genuine way. If you like the work of another photographer, take a minute to comment on one of their photos. When people notice that you are reading their work and commenting on it, they will likely visit your profile too. Most importantly, it’s simply the kind thing to do.
Pick a Strategic Social Media Platform to Show Up On
Photography is a visual industry. The two best platforms for photographers are Instagram and Pinterest.
I know a lot of photographers who are doing great on YouTube and Tiktok, creating videos and reels, and building huge followings. Maybe you’re not comfortable doing videos yet, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone so you can grow. If you want to attract new followers and grow your business, go out there and do it. You don’t have to perfect. Just be yourself, push the fear, and do it!
Whatever platform you are using, the key is to make sure that you are being consistent with your brand and style. Make sure that the color and design of your graphic elements are the same throughout all your social media pages and website. The more recognizable your brand is, the easier it will be to build and maintain trust with potential clients.
Be Real and Put Some Thoughts into Your Captions
As photographers, we want people to focus on our images, right? But that doesn’t mean we can’t put our personality into captions.
Photographers who attract more and higher quality followers on social media are the ones who post real, authentic, and honest, captions and stories along with their images. While a beautiful image can make you feel something, it can be more impactful to share a meaningful story or a touching anecdote along with it.
When posting on social media, think about what you would like your audience to feel and then create a caption or story that goes along with it. Be clear about the objective of your story – is it to develop a relationship, increase brand awareness, etc. Make sure that your story speaks directly to them and helps them understand what you’re trying to convey. Solving a problem for your audience is beneficial too. More importantly, make sure that your captions include a call-to-action because that will help them connect with you even more.
Find Local Professionals to Trade With
One of the biggest growth hacks is to find local professionals to trade with and promote each other’s work.
If you’re a wedding photographer, build relationships with florists, makeup artists, and other vendors. Not only does it help spread the word about your skills and services really quickly, but it also allows you to build relationships within the small business world that can be mutually beneficial as your business grows. Sharing each other’s work helps you both to gain more audience.
Community is such a big part of running a small business. And it’s important for us to have an abundant mindset and know that there is room for everyone at the table.
Post Consistently on Your Social Media
Consistency is key with social media, but everyone’s capacity for consistency is different. There’s no set formula for how often you should post. It depends largely on the bandwidth that you have and the season of your life that you’re in.
Maybe one post a week is all you can manage, or maybe three or five. The key is to do what works best for you consistently and stick to that schedule. That way, people will start to notice your rhythm and know that they can always count on you to show up at that time. The algorithm will acknowledge that too. It will bank on that consistency and you will get greater exposure from that.
Just keep showing up, with your face, and allow yourself to be seen by your audience. It’s hard to create a great substantial connection with your audience unless they’re able to put a name on your face. Show the world who you are – be vulnerable, and don’t be afraid to show your imperfections because that will help people relate to you.
Utilize Strategic Hashtags
Create a bank of hashtags that you can pull from for every post. The general rule for hashtags is you can use up to 30 random hashtags on a post, but try to narrow it down to 10 specific ones because that’s better. Find that middle sweet spot where enough people can view your post but don’t make it too overwhelming.
It’s also important to note that you cannot use the same set of hashtags for every post. Instagram will penalize you for that. In addition, make sure that your hashtags align with the content of the image.
Giving value and serving others is always the best mindset to approach social media. People will keep coming back if they find that you’re always sharing valuable information. They’ll connect with you, get to know you, and buy from you. You don’t build a community within your business by just randomly posting things. Give them a reason to share your content by providing value.
Social media algorithm is always changing and you can’t control it. All you can control is how you show up online, how consistent you are, what you’re posting, and how you’re connecting with other people. Just get out there and go with an attitude of serving others. I promise you, when you approach social media in this way, you’ll find real opportunities to connect with other people and build a community to grow your business.