People that know me will tell you I'm a bit of a social media addict. Lately I've had a good tidy up of all my profiles and have been looking at the various marketing benefits that different social media channels offer and thought it would be good to share my thoughts/ findings. I'd love to hear your feeling on the different formats especially those I've struggled with to see if I'm missing out.
There is no questioning the importance of social media these days for any sort of creative person, be you a photographer, a model, a makeup artist or in a similar creative field. However I feel there are positives and negatives for all the different options available and if handled badly can actually be detrimental to your reputation.
The first and maybe most important thing in my opinion, is to remove any dead accounts. there is nothing worse than a non active profile to market yourself. If people visit an account that hasn't been updated in six months the chances are they will move on to somebody else. Also it is likely that you are showing work that is out of date, you will of improved and changed your style so just delete or hide the account and start again if you feel the need to revisit that format in the future.
There is no doubting this is the evil king of social networking. This is where the masses are, everyone knows about it and it's almost vital you have a presence there. However there is still a decision to be made. Do you stick with a profile or create a page. I have made the decision to delete my page and just have a profile. Facebook pages have been so highly restricted now that unless you pay for it, they just don't warrant the upkeep. I know people with thousands of likes on their page and yet their posts are lucky to reach 60 people! On the flip side though, I also have friends who have had profiles deleted without warning or any chance of appeal as facebook feel they are running a business so thats the risk you take. One of the tips I have is to make sure you back your friends list up on a regular basis as this would be the biggest loss should the facebook police choose to remove you.
The thing I really like about facebook is it gives me a chance to get to know models a little better. This way I can get a sense of reliability and improve the likelihood of a successful shoot. I often make first contact on other media streams but end up adding them to my facebook friends for a few weeks before actually working with them. I also like the group chats. These are a great way to discuss and organise shoots making sure the whole team feels involved.
The dark side of facebook is firstly all the vile posts you have to see. Facebook currently has a no female nipple policy (so remember this when posting images to save them being removed) but for some reason feels beheadings, animal cruelty and violence is all suitable content. It's actually insane that this is allowed and is the one thing that made me consider leaving. Secondly is the politics and bitching. Like any internet forum facebook attracts trolls like moths to flame. The secret to this is avoid, stay away and don't get involved. NOBODY has ever won an arguement on the internet and all you will ever do is harm your reputation.
In general the facebook is my primary social media of choice. In fact I have to say I love it and slightly addicted to it. I have made a lot of 'real life' friends through networking on it and the majority of my shoots come through requests here and until a better interface becomes available, I can't see me leaving anytime soon.
This was the new contender to facebook and I really wanted it to be the facebook replacement but has slowly fizzled away to become more of an information hub in my opinion. I tried it for about a year but find that the interface is just far to over complicated and the people I want to network with(models) in general just don't use it.
It is good for meeting other photographers and industry insiders, but being honest I can do this on my other preferred formats so just don't see the point of creating another workload for myself. The hangouts look an interesting feature if you're not camera shy and circles is a cool way to separate your contacts, but the return just isn't worth the effort in my opinion. The deal breaker for me is the lack of people that use it.
I have always struggled with twitter. If I'm honest I just don't see the point? I'm currently trying again and I really like the concept. It's quick and simple but whenever I look at my feed it doesn't matter how many 'interesting' people I follow its just full of drivel and mis-mashed comments that mean nothing to me. Anything that I like I have usually already seen on facebook? I quite like being able to search hashtags on trending subjects but again this isn't really anything I can't find elsewhere?
I do like the idea that it enables industry people to get glimpse of your work and its a good way to make quick connections to 'high profile' people that on other formats would probably never notice you. I plan to give this another month and try really hard to make it work. So we will see how it goes.
I've become an Instagram addict. I love this format. I was late coming to it but currently totally hooked. I've also had some really good models contact me through it which I never expected.
The downside of it is probably my addiction! I can't stop looking at interesting profiles to get inspiration and behind the scenes images! It's also made me feel my life is really boring and that I need to move to L.A.!
Another favourite of mine. I'm not sure this is really classed as a social media site but I can waste hours on here searching inspiration and making mood boards for shoots. I would suggest this is currently essential to anybody that organises creative shoots. I am actually looking at another option for this (Evernote) as I want to try and be able to make a collaborative board that we can add text and video to rather than just images but I'm not sure if this will work yet and even if it does I would still use Pinterest as my 'go to' inspiration.
Portfolio sites (Purpleport/ Model Mayhem/ Portafora)
These without any doubt have their uses, and I would probably say you need to be on at least one of them. But honestly in my opinion, I'm not a huge fan. They attract far too many weirdos and deluded egos. There IS real talent on them and I have made some good friends there (However these almost instantly shifted to facebook), however a high ratio of the contact I have had on there has been 'low quality' people asking me for a shoot then sending me THEIR rates. My casting calls attract all kinds of strange replies and the forums are full of trolls, ego massaging and cliquey arguments. Rarely is there a useful conversation. They also seem to be a breeding ground for wanna-be adult stars and 'guys with cams'.
I always tell anybody new they should sign up there, and I do use the site. However I do advise people to be very careful with it as well.
In summary, I find facebook is still ruling the roost for actual networking with Pinterest and Instagram being my inspiration sources. I'd love to hear what you use and the pros and cons. Personally I have a love/hate relationship with facebook and would love for a fresh new interface to arrive.