In one of the forums recently somebody asked the old question, "What do you shoot, Canon or Nikon?" If you're honestly worried about being in the Nikon/Canon Club, then you're not paying attention to all the changes on the gear landscape. I'm blown away by what Panasonic's brought to the party with the LUMIX family, but you've also got new products from Fujifilm, Sony and Samsung, just to name a few. The question should be, "What new cameras haven't you checked out yet?"
In the same way technology is expanding the quality of gear available today, marketing has done anything but stand still. The way we communicate today has actually changed more in the last year or two than the way we capture images. Think about it for just a second. Twenty years ago Dean Collins said you can’t be in business without a yellow pages ad. A couple of years ago I probably wrote somewhere, you can’t be in business today without a website.
This morning I’m reminding you that you can’t be in business without social media! While you can live without a blog, I believe that photographers who utilize their blog to compliment their website will do better than just those who are solo with one or the other.
You also have to take advantage of Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Google+ and Pinterest. You need to be creating slide shows and e-hybrid products in order to stay cutting edge with your clients. Can you be in business today without getting involved in social media? Of course you can, but you won’t see growth as quickly with new clients. And, sooner or later, your existing client base is going to be looking for you in those social media hang-outs and you won’t be there.
As I've written before, you can either be in the parade or stand on the sidelines and watch it go by. Don't underestimate the power of each platform in social media. For me Facebook, Twitter and this blog give me the reach I need to help aspiring and working professional photographers. YouTube is an amazing resource for educational material and Google+ is the venue for our "Mind Your Own Business" episodes. Then there's Pinterest and I'm a complete newbie just getting started.
For finding clients in the portrait/social categories Facebook and Pinterest are leading the way along with photographers utilizing their blog to show their heart and personality, while stronger websites show their products and services.
For the last few years we've all been caught in the perfect storm between the economy, technology and social media. Now you've got a chance to be a leader in your category and it's just as important to understand the marketing tools at your fingertips as it is lighting, exposure and composition. Work on your skill set to make it the very best and pay attention to the importance of every new tool in marketing.
What a kick these next few years are going to be for everyone who pays attention to building their reach in the community!
Illustration Credit: © Brian Jackson - Fotolia.com