Over the past couple of weeks, I've been talking with friends and colleagues about blogging and its importance. A couple have been surprised to learn that I blog about my work, but I'm more stunned to discover how many professionals don't use social media at all, and the excuses they have. No time, poor writing ability, the infamous writers block. In reality, there are a ton of things that can stop you from using social media to its full potential. Excuses have never been more easy to come by.
But a social network is just that, a network, and if you're willing to use it that way it will only benefit you.
Today, having a social media presence is so very important and is often underused. Personally, I've been working pretty hard at improving this aspect of my work, and you're right -- it's not always easy. But it is important. Anyone who believes starting up a photo business is just taking a few shots will soon learn how much more there is to the business the second they try to market their work. Clients want to know what to expect, they want to know what you've worked on, they want to know you're both serious and passionate about what you do. and perhaps most of all they want to know if they're going to get along with you. These are all elements that social media is practically designed to help you ace.
That being said, it can easily get overwhelming; there are many social media sites begging for new members, and the first task is differentiating the useful ones from the ones that will just waste your time. Social media is important, but by no means should it be taking up the majority of your time.
My three go-to must-haves are Facebook, Twittter, and this personal/professional blog. I try to give the three of them my attention at least weekly, Twitter and Facebook probably even more frequently.
The thing you'll want to work towards (something I'm only putting together now, myself) is a dedicated website. It goes without saying that this is a ton more work than just updating a Facebook status once in a while -- you'll want galleries of your work, an incorporated blog, contact and pricing information, and not to mention the fact that content needs to stay fresh and current so clients are interested in going back to see it and search engines will continue to monitor it.
I recommend sticking mainly to those three: Facebook, Twitter, and a blog/website. If you're a social media whiz, you can dive into Instagram, Pinterest, 500px, Reddit -- the list goes on. Just remind yourself that updating social media isn't your job, although it is a great excuse to procrastinate doing any real photography work.
Even if you hate taking advice and you hate change and you hate social media, I still highly recommend that you make the leap into it if you're serious about your business. I was a stubborn hold-out for quite a while, and when I decided to finally get into the game I felt (and still do, some days) that I was a long ways behind. There's definitely a learning curve, and I stumbled sometimes and took a while to catch on to the way some things worked. But in the end, it's absolutely worth it -- even if you hate it, it's a great way to keep eyes on your work, including your own. You'll find yourself keeping to a schedule and multitasking better, not just within social media but also in your photography projects.