Social networking. Is it working?

I’ve been to seminars and I’ve read the opinions of experts. I’ve been to workshops and I have wasted time listening to gossip – and I still don’t really have a grasp of how I should be doing social media. I’m on Twitter and I am on Facebook but the one that I have put the most effort into is LinkedIn. Of course I could have been fooled by the ‘professional’ and ‘business’ tags that get applied to that particular on line network but, hallelujah, it has actually paid off and brought some work in. Great news, but then so has Twitter.

I’ve had a website – this website – for almost twelve years now and so I guess that you could say that I completely ‘get’ the need to be on line. On top of ‘getting it’ I also enjoy it and the ease with which we can all share information and network is amazing but I am finding it hard to break out of my comfort zone – talking with photographers about photography.

Where I need to concentrate my effort is in marketing myself to existing and potential customers but that’s the part of the business that I don’t enjoy. Spending a morning ringing Art Directors, Picture Editors and other buyers trying to get to see them with a portfolio used to be something that I endured because I always loved the bit that (hopefully) came next – meeting people, talking to them and showing them my work. These days the return on time invested in making calls is very poor. Eight calls this morning and nothing. Nobody wants to see my work.

There was a time when I thought that emailing people would work – based on the fact that just after I turned freelance again in 2008 I sent out twenty emails to potential customers and got six replies, three portfolio viewings and a good number of commissions. That day must have been a fluke because it has never worked again since.

Recently I have tried local business networking groups and one industry specific networking group. I met a lot of people, handed out a lot of business cards and it looks as if there will be some work coming from it.

So, back to the social media thing: I still have high hopes for it. I have started getting and giving recommendations on LinkedIn and I have started to join non-photographer discussion groups. My tweets are getting better and I seem to be getting more followers. I am a professional and I always advocate that people use a professional so that’s my next step. I’m going to get a pro’ in to sort out my on line profile so watch this space – and the many other spaces that I virtually hang-out in

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