When thinking about my social media presence I use a number of platforms for different purposes. As highlighted in the discussion with Anna-Maria, the idea of ‘creating villages’ is a line of thought that I particularly agree with. I currently have two instagram accounts, the first is directed at the wedding market. Here I post wedding images, usually something dramatic ensuring that I tag as many people as possible who I worked with on that particular wedding such as make up artists, specific venues, caterers and entertainment providers. This is a useful strategy as a rapport building mechanism, I also ensure that I personally thank suppliers, using names in addition to the names of the couple whose wedding I photographed. As a result, I am now quite well known within the local wedding community of the North West. I also use instagram to appeal to potential brides and grooms who book venues that I like to work at. To date, I probably get booked for the same ten venues as potential clients understand that I have already shot the venue in a fashion that appeals to them.
My second instagram account is one that I created to run concurrent with the MA. At present, this account has a much smaller following however it has had an equally important impact as I have made a number of contacts and embedded myself into a community which is currently based around my primary subject matter which is based around football culture.
Manovich (2019) argues that such platforms are a crucial part of a global ecosystem and represent an ‘aesthetic society’ and ‘Urban Tribes’. Sentiments that I completely agree and I have found that my subject matter has led to similar communities. The problem I currently have with this approach is that the content on my feed points in a direction that doesn’t necessarily represent the future of my work. Therefore I need to take my work in alternative directions in order to build rapport with broader communities. This will happen as I continue to create work and happen organically, from my experience, saturating my account with content may lead to higher volumes of followers, however I’d rather have higher quality connections. I could make work for influencers in return for exposure to larger audiences and I don’t rule out doing this in the future however this isn’t a short term priority at the moment.
As a wedding photographer facebook is an extremely useful platform. This is because the people who book me are not usually people with a great deal of photographic literacy. Most people have a facebook account, therefore I am able to target paid advertising at specific audiences such as ‘engaged females between the ages of twenty five and forty five’. This is successful tactic to get booked for weddings e.g. Spending £100 on a month long campaign may yield over 200 enquiries about my wedding photography services although the conversion rate is quite low between 1 in 7 and 1 in 10. The reason for this is due to client budget and knowing the market. I understand that I will be outside the price range for many seeking a photographer. This isn’t to say I am arrogant about my work but as soon as one drops the price, clients often ask for more and more and want to pay less and less. The overriding consideration with marketing is why do you want to get booked? Because one is competitively priced or because one has strong photographs? Therefore, price is very important as it protects against difficult clients who base judgements on a financial basis where people who book because of the quality of work are usually less concerned.
This is an excellent outlet for targeting content at specific venues. However I see this platform as more of a search engine as opposed to social media. When one makes a pin they are able to include a URL or website with the post. This points back to the photographers website and is useful for SEO purposes in addition to appealing to a female, engaged audience.
While I am portfolio and project building I will pursue with a personal Instagram account however I see the most pressing task is to create a personal website. I currently have a wedding website in addition to my MA blog whilst employed full time as a media and photography lecturer. While I am studying the MA I need to be careful about the tasks I take on board especially at present as I have a backlog of over twenty weddings to shoot in 2021, this whilst working full time and completing an FMP for the MA is slightly daunting however circumstances cannot be helped.
At the time of writing I am booked to shoot a wedding (12th Dec) and in doing this I am going to shoot a roll of 35mm film with the intention of embedding into this community on instagram in addition to adding an extra layer of capital to my work. This I anticipate will lead to a number of networking opportunities in addition to making my presence slightly different to my competitors.
Manovich, L. (2019) AI Aesthetics. Moscow: Strelka Press.