Having spent the past several months on Twitter tweeting and reading the tweets of the people I follow, I’ve gradually evolved a strategy for using this service to market my photography business without being too obvious about it.
I call it “The Mullet Strategy” — business in the front, party in the back.
Don’t Sound Like a Salesman
The Mullet Strategy is basically to balance your professional and personal tweets in a way that is authentic and engages your followers. You don’t want to sound like a salesman — or worse, a spambot.
The front of the mullet is all business — tweeting links to interesting photography-related articles, retweeting professional words of wisdom, and sharing information about the projects you’re working on.
The back of the mullet lets your hair hang down a bit. Go beyond purely business tweets to let your personality shine through. Post a family picture or two. Be a real person. This helps create a relationship with potential clients before they ever pick up the phone to call you.
But don’t get carried away — or you’ll end up in the TMI zone. The party stays in the back, remember?
Can you imagine calling a potential client — someone you’ve never met — on the phone and proclaiming, “I went to the hair-band concert last night and got wasted“?
Strike a Balance
You’re better off with tweets that establish intimacy with a professional tone, such as, “Just booked a fashion photo shoot for next week!” or “Grabbing coffee with a potential client this morning.”
In looking through my Twitter timeline, here are a few of my own recent tweets:
- “Off to the gym then headshots this afternoon. Client CDs going out today as well.”
- “Halfway into second day of teaching at the University of Kansas. Really enjoy being back in the Art & Design Building at my alma mater.”
- “Up early today, full day photo shoot for talent agency here in Kansas City. Jam-packed day from 8-6, each hour someone new is rolling in.”
I’m communicating my real feelings, activities and priorities, but I’m doing so in a way that shares my credentials and successes with prospective clients at the same time.
In addition to striking the right balance in your tweets, here are three other tips for making the most of Twitter:
1. Avoid sending out too many posts with “I” and “me” in them. Sure, you want to promote your business — but Twitter is a community. Make friends, share ideas, pass along helpful information. Retweets are a great way to spread interesting photography news — and to build relationships with other tweeters.
2. Post your photos. I like to tweet iPhone photos and video that I shoot throughout the day. It’s a great way to showcase my talents while also letting people know what I’m doing that day. I use Yfrog ; Twitpic  is also popular.
3. Brand yourself with your bio, background and avatar. Make sure to post a complete bio — as complete as 140 characters will allow — so photographers and prospects will know who you are and how to reach you. Customize your background with original photos or your business logo. And create a unique avatar that will help you to stand out from others. For example, having a camera in the avatar has become a bit clichéd among photographers — so try to come up with something different.
Twitter is an ongoing conversation with thousands of people talking all at once. The best way to stand out in the crowd — and build your photography business in the process — is to show off both your professionalism and your personality in your tweets.