If you have read our prior blog post on 6 Qualities of Strong Social Media Content, you have a good understanding of what valuable content will look like. However, valuable content is subjective, and there are a few factors you’ll need to consider before you can begin sharing effectively. Today, we’ll detail how to create a social media plan that will serve as a guide as you post to each platform and ultimately help improve your broader photography marketing strategy.
The format of your plan can be whatever style works for you. If you prefer to jot the following points down in a notebook, go for it! If you’re more of a digital organizer, type away — a software like PowerPoint can help to make a visually appealing social media plan, or you can capture ideas in a mobile app that allows you to take notes, so you can access your notes on the go.
There are a few components to your social media strategy that you will need to consider, and you can make as many notes on these as you find helpful:
1. What do your current social media marketing efforts look like?
Some of you photographers may already have thriving social media pages, or you might be starting from scratch. If you don’t currently have an active social media platform, skip on to point #2. If you do have some form of social media presence, make a note of where you are at this moment. Jot down how many followers you currently have on each platform, how often you’re posting, and the sort of engagement you’re seeing (are your followers liking and commenting on your posts, or are they going seemingly unnoticed?). Are you getting referrals or booking more clients through your social media efforts?
2. Who is your target market?
Your target market will define every aspect of your social media marketing efforts. The content you share should be carefully selected to provide value to your target market, not only your current social media audience (if you have an established following). In this section, you’ll make notes about your ideal client—details about their age, family, location, lifestyle, and personality. Would you prefer your clients to want digital images provided to them or to place large print orders through you? What does their portrait budget look like? It is okay to be particular—in fact, you should be!
These are not the only clients you’ll accept, but your marketing efforts should be geared toward the type of client you hope to attract to your photography business.
Once you have narrowed down your dream client, get inside their head and answer a few questions:
What is their greatest hesitation in hiring you? Perhaps they are more comfortable with a word-of-mouth referral and need to see testimonials from your past clients. Or maybe your ideal clients are seniors and their parents are watching the budget as they prepare for college costs. Recognizing potential hesitations means you can address them subtly and show the client how well you understand them.
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What is the best way to engage with this client? Are they seeking a special experience (like a senior representative program)? Do they value an emotional appeal?
How does your target client use social media? Do they check social media daily? Which platforms do they use most frequently? Do they search for business recommendations via social media? Consider the ideal client you have described previously and how they are likely to be using social media. For instance, the Generation Z client you may be targeting for senior portraits is likely on Instagram, but the parents writing the check for your services are much more likely to frequent Facebook.
3. What other photographers are reaching your target market?
This is not a point you want to spend long on, but it’s good to be aware of your competitors. This should not be a list of every photographer in your area, but rather a couple of names of those who might meet the needs of your ideal client. In what ways are they using social media? Don’t be surprised to find that their grasp on social media marketing is not any more advanced than yours—implement the advice from this Social Media for Photographers Series and you’ll be ahead of the game!
4. What are your goals for social media use?
Would you like to build stronger relationships with current clients? Book more clients each month? Get more referrals? Showcase your favorite images? All of the above? If you’re going to justify devoting time to your social media efforts (on top of your many other business obligations), you need to know the “why.”
5. What is your social media brand?
Think about the experience you provide for your clients and how to translate that into your social media presence. There are four closely-connected aspects to your voice on social media that you’ll want to define: character, tone, language, and purpose. You can read a fantastic summary of each of these by clicking here. Below is a helpful graphic from the linked article offering examples of the four components of brand voice.
Once you have established your voice, you will want to be consistent with it across social media platforms and from day to day. Potential clients will form their opinions of you and what a photo shoot with you would be like from your voice—coming across as a friend one day and a salesperson the next is not building your brand.
6. How much time can you devote to social media?
Perhaps you have seen how crucial social media is for small businesses and you have blocked out a significant
amount of time each week for your efforts. If this is true of you, that’s great—but you’re in the minority! More likely, you’re juggling photography, editing, consultations, and a million other tasks daily and your social media posting will need to be quick and efficient. Either way, you can see great engagement and reach your target audience on social media; the keys here are consistency and quality.
We would argue that posting valuable content once per day every single day is much more preferable than posting five great articles one day and then nothing for a week, or sharing mediocre content multiple times a day. Each platform has its own nuances and the recommended posting frequency (referred to as “posting cadence”) will differ. Well discuss this more in the coming weeks. For now, try to come up with a reasonable amount of time you can spend on social media each day (both posting and responding to others’ posts) and write that number down as your goal.
If you answer each of the previous questions, you’ll have a strong backbone for your social media marketing plan that you can add on to as you read other articles in this series. Those additions will include goals and strategies for specific platforms, tips for engaging with commenters, and tools that can simplify social media for you.