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Is Your Photography Site Social-Media Optimized?

Posted By Paul Melcher On January 18, 2011 @ 12:29 am In Business of Photography | 10 Comments

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With 10 percent of Internet visits and 25 percent of page views going to Facebook these days, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has emerged as more powerful than even Google.

What are the implications of this? For starters, it means you should worry a little bit less about search engine optimization (SEO) and a little bit more about social media optimization (SMO).

Meaningless Clicks

Sure, you can spend your days optimizing your website for Google search results until you are blue in the face, or until Google tweaks its algorithm again and you have to start all over.

You can read or hire search gurus for thousands of dollars to show you the “hidden” tricks for SEO.

Thing is, since they show everyone else, including your competition, those tricks aren’t so secret anymore. It’s like everybody trying to climb the same ladder, at the same time, to be the first on top.

For what? Lots of clicks? And does that bring business?

Just because you throw your kite up in a lot of wind, that doesn’t mean it will fly.

Social Media Optimization

Google’s problem is what Google is: a search engine. It’s not a reference tool, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.

Every day, millions of people are on these networks sharing what they like, and dislike, on a huge scale. Friends, colleagues, and family are sharing links, telling each other, “Look at this.”

Why can’t the photographs on your website be among these links?

While your competition is still trying to climb the SEO ladder only to fall off a few weeks later, you’d be much better off focusing on SMO — social media optimization.

I’m not talking about starting a Twitter account and tweeting about what you’re having for dinner. Besides your mom, no one cares. I’m not talking about simply launching a Facebook page about your photography, either.

No, what I’m talking about is becoming the fuel of social media. Generating the links that people want to share.

If You Move Them, They Will Share

Yes, there are established techniques for SMO. Blogging, commenting on other blogs, posting relevant status updates, adding social news and sharing buttons to your site, and on and on.

All of these tools can stir up the wind, but like SEO, they can’t make your kite fly.

No, your photography has to do that. Your photography has to shock people, inspire people, anger people, touch people. It has to move them.

And when you move them, they will share.

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10 Comments To "Is Your Photography Site Social-Media Optimized?"

#1 Comment By Jean Labelle On January 18, 2011 @ 9:44 am

RE: "No, what I’m talking about is becoming the fuel of social media."

Agreed.

It's like the gold-rush days of years ago. It was not the prospectors themselves that prospered, although some did strike it rich, but the majority did not.
The real winners were those that sold the shovels and picks.

#2 Comment By ian campbell On January 18, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

I like this, and it makes a lot more sense than most of the other things I hear out in the ether.
Since the aim of pictures is to talk to people, and the conversation starts one at a time, how better to go about it than showing out to the first person who in the end will be expected to be the likely consumer?

#3 Comment By Daniel Kevorkian On January 18, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

A few days ago two different individuals, a client and a friend came up with a similar sentece:

"Your profile is quite visible on the internet, good SEO work!"

My thinking was: "SEO what?"

Beside from tagging my pictures, my videos and my webpages I have never done a lot more, but on the contrary, I had spent quite a lot reaching out through social networks, hence I verified they were paying back in terms of "clicks" on my website and blog a lot more.

All this to say ... yes it does work.

Does it mean business? not necessarily, this is just the first step, then you have to be able to do some following up, i.e. phone calls, visits to clients etc etc.

This last part is what has never changed in the trade, may there be social networks or not.

Thanks Paul!

#4 Comment By Paul Adams On January 19, 2011 @ 9:09 am

As always it is all down to hard work. No secrets or tricks. All the info you need is out there.

#5 Comment By Bjarte Edvardsen On January 20, 2011 @ 6:02 am

Agreed! I think it's important for every photographer to try to embrace/test as many techniques & channels they can to find out what works out best for them (and without it taking too much time & focus away from photographing).

I highly recommend using Google Analytics for what it's worth, so you can find out which sources are sending you the most visitors, and those quality visitors that doesn't leave your site after just one minute. After analyzing the different channels, you can adjust your future efforts according to what you found out.

#6 Comment By TJ McDowell On January 21, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

I don't really think it's an either or thing. SEO can help your photography business out BIG-TIME! So there's no reason to discount it. I think last year we had close to 30% of our new business from SEO. Do we invest a lot of time into SEO? Yep. Do we also do Facebook? Who wouldn't?

It's really for 2 different methods of marketing. Facebook is more viral marketing where friends tell friends what they like. SEO comes into play when the user is ready to book a session and they're looking for local photographers. Both are excellent marketing tools, and I don't think you have to ditch one to use the other.

#7 Comment By Thomas On January 22, 2011 @ 9:47 am

dear friends,

i like the "SEO what ?" comment above, because thats what i do mostly too.

SEO rating is mostly algorithm based (e.g. a machine judges), by way of smo i at least decide where, when and in which way i leave a trail of information for others to like, dislike, ignore, ... whatever.

For me it s also important who is recommending something, so real friends and real networking go a long way in sharing, giving and receiving.

in the long run smo will be more important than pure seo alone, social media more important than google search, still the best smo is good for nothing when people cant find you through a search engine.

i care for my smo personally and the google search spiders take care of my seo.

tracking is important !

so far for now

Thomas Wilden
Photo-Journalist (former Software Professional ;-)
Germany

#8 Comment By Mark On January 26, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

This is a great article. I've been trying to work on the Social Media promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Its very easy to set up a Facebook Page for your photography and with the help of friends you can quickly build up a large number of people who 'like' your page. I think your much more likely to get a response on facebook than you are if you directly emailed customers.

#9 Comment By Leon On February 7, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

Very well said, the idea is simple Marketing 101. The product has to be good. All else grows from that - once folk like your work and you regularly post they will come back time and again. After all, we are photographers, not journalists.

#10 Comment By Robert Gunter On April 12, 2011 @ 11:37 am

I employed the expert services of a good SEO company in December 2010 and they're efforts resulted in getting my website on the first page of Google in my area under different categories. I have received a number of email and telephone calls from people asking for my prices of my service. Unfortunately the people who are contacting me are looking for price only even though I engage them in a conversation concerning their request for images from me. I am paying a fairly large sum for the SEO service, but I will have to terminate it soon because I am not receiving business from my good placement on Google.
I use Facebook and will concentrate more of my marketing/social efforts in that area. I know SEO is important, but I need to generate revenue from it to pay for the SEO and pay my bills also.


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