Photo By Barry Schwartz
In Which I Write A Blog Post About Blogging
And The Symbiotic Spokes In The Wheel
That Is Social Media.
For the longest time I could not figure out what social media could do for me. So I did nothing. Or almost nothing: I had a mousy level of participation on Facebook which I joined only so people from my past could find me and everyone else would not think I was a total luddite, including my girlfriend, who was very active, staying in touch with her friends, family, colleagues, and several hundred thousand cat videos. I’m more into dog videos, myself.
It seemed like I should have a blog, everyone said so, but with what content and for what purpose? I have always read lots of blogs, following deep into the links social media sent me to, but was not able to imagine myself as an active, rather than passive, participant.
Then things got slow, business-wise. I knew well how social media could impact one’s business, specifically how a lack of social media participation could be linked to a lack of business. My mind became more focused.
Clients and employers use social media to research people they might hire: What is your personal work like? Who are you? Who are your friends, including professional colleagues? What kinds of hobbies or interests do you have? Are you obsessed with the Kardashians or Satanic practices or some combination of the two? Like that.
Getting a blog up-and-running is not enough in and of itself; a professional online presence has to connect with all the spokes of a social media wheel. I developed a semi-professional presence on Facebook, a thoroughly professional presence on Linkedin, put photos on Tumblr and Houzz, and got registered on Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and Pinterest without any other content than my contact information because…why not? It’s so easy. You never know where people will find you.
Professional blogs need a reason to exist: what’s it for? In addition to my primary gig as a photographer, I also write and teach college classes and workshops on professional practices for photographers. My photography website and Tumblr, along with Facebook, serve as outlets for my photography. The blog is focused on business issues and showing off my writing (and a little photography) in order to encourage people to hire me to teach and write in the same way my photography site is designed to get me hired to make photos. Every bit of my online presence links to every other bit of my online presence, my own little social media universe.
My blog (like my photo site) offers a way to track the comings-and-goings of viewers, and that’s no small thing when you’re trying to figure out why people hire you. Or don’t hire you. The blog and photo site feed and sustain each other in a symbiotic relationship. The spokes of the social media wheel serve as a way for photography clients who visit my website to see that I am a serious professional, someone they can trust to act correctly without adult supervision, and constitute proof I understand their own social media needs.
Since my classes and workshops are about the photography business, linking my blog to my photo website serves as proof I have professional grounds on which to base my teaching. Each post reappears automatically on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google +, and Tumblr, and I regularly re-post on Medium.
I do have a modest selection of cat and dog images on my photo website, so I’m covered as far as that goes, even though no one has ever hired me to photograph them. I really like cats and dogs – same as lots of my clients.