This has been a hot topic in the photography community for some time now. How can one stay relevant and ahead of the algorithm on social media platforms? Honest truth is, you can’t. There are literally millions upon millions of people trying to grab attention in a sea of images and short form videos. While all social media companies are different, they are essentially the same. You just pay the Piper if you want to be at the relative top, through constant add revenue and bias algorithms. What does that do for us normal folks…buries our voices deep in the catacombs.
From a business perspective, I personally don’t love posting on multiple social media platforms. It’s just one more thing to do on my long list. But the sad truth is I have to in order to be seen and stay on peoples radar. The only joy I get out of it is sharing moments with people who know the subjects and connect on an emotional level. I do want to share my images with the world, not to brag but to show a different perspective of someone or something that no one has ever seen before. It was interesting enough for me to capture so maybe a few people will get some joy out of it as well. I just don’t like the “process” of posting and also the requirements to keep your posts above water. For this story, I’m going to focus on Instagram and a “new” contender in the photography social space.
A former photography platform
Yes, you read that right. Instagram was a social network actually created FOR photographers. Looking at it now it’s hardly recognizable, especially with the now CEO saying they are going to focus more on Reelz and short form video. I get why they are doing this because Tiktok is literally handing them their rears in viewership. I’d have more respect for them if they stuck to the roots of the app and kept doing Reelz alongside. But my respect doesn’t matter, how much revenue the company generates matters.
Expanding on the business perspective, there is really one main problem with social media. You don’t own your customer base. For example, I have close to 450 followers on Instagram but let’s say something happens to my account. It gets shut down, I get hacked or Instagram just simple goes away. All the years I’ve spent building up my following is gone in an instant. I have no way to reach out to my base and stay in their radar. This has got me thinking a lot lately about how I move forward as a business online. How I market myself and my work.
Yes, a term for the old. A decade or more ago blogs were the in thing because it gave people a platform, an outlet to write and share. A blog gave the owner control over their customer base and let them write freely. But as technology is ever changing, social media was a quick way to write and see others posting without having to read an article. In this fast paced world, people don’t have time for that. If you want to get down to it, social media is nothing more than a peek into someone’s personal life. It’s addicting and provides a dopamine spike for most people. I’m not going to touch on my thoughts about social media as a whole on here but you get the drift.
As I was saying, I have been thinking of a way to really connect with my audience in an organic way. A way to keep connections with my audience and clients. Therefore I have started to blog a little bit. For me, photography is an emotional connection and I feel that sharing more than a photo is important. Some of you may disagree, which is perfectly fine, but that is how I feel. Sometimes I want to talk about a shoot or an image and explain the process behind it. Maybe it inspires someone or makes their day better or it’s simply something they can enjoy. I think people require deeper understanding to topics in this passive world. We crave content, knowledge and consumption.
A “new” kid on the photography block
One app I recently ran across was Vero. This is a social media company that started back on 2015 but didn’t really get any traction until 2018. It is a beautifully crafted app that focuses on photography. Looking at it, you’ll be reminded of Instagram but the biggest difference is there are no algorithms. Posts are listed in the order they come in. No priority, no ads no BS. Now, there still is the problem of not owning your audience but it’s nice to see another option other than the 3 major outlets. Check it out at Vero.co and follow me if you wish at https://vero.co/jtmarshall
In closing, it really seems that no one has come up with an answer to truly keep your audience connected from a social platform. The existing companies don’t care, they just want your ad revenue. I’m not sure there will ever be an answer but if you’d like to follow me, please subscribe below.