So I just got off the phone with one of our esteemed photographers (Eric Sutton) ericsuttonphotography.com and I am supremely annoyed. Not at Eric at all, but at the story he was imparting to me when were discussing our company's new social media strategy. He had just gone to a Periscope/Instagram talk by a fellow photographer (who's name shall be withheld to protect his fragile reputation). This photographer is successful and has built up a very nice and respectable 70K followers on Instagram. He now teaches other photographers how to increase their social media presence. Sounds great so far right? I mean we have what 300 some odd followers? So we can learn a lot from this guy. Everything was common sense that Eric was imparting to me from this talk until he got to the final 2 points.
5 Images PER DAY, REALLY!?
First off, this guy was saying that to be really effective on Instagram, and to build a respectable following, you need to post 5-10 photos PER DAY. And space those photos out from 8AM to 11PM so as to reach a large audience. At first blush, this SEEMS reasonable. However when you begin to apply some basic math to this strategy it begins to fall apart. Lets start at the low end, 5 images per day posted to Instagram. Follow along on the math train with me won't you?
5 images per day X 6 days per week (I mean even God takes a day off 4 days a month right?)
This comes out to 30 images per week?! Whoa. Ok.
So 30 images a week X 4 weeks in a month = 120 images a month.
120 images a month X 12 months = 1440 images a year.
Now, not to brag on ourselves, but...wait. Yeah give me a just a sec to brag on us. We have 4 photographers that work with us to provide your small business access to world class talent. We have a combined work experience of over 75 years of professional photography. We have photographers that have been published internationally and consistently win awards for their work all through the span of their careers. Now, given more talent and know how than you can shake a stick at, I am not sure that we even generate almost 1500 portfolio ready, amazingly conceived, created, shot, edited and published photos per year between the 4 OF US.
Maybe I just have really high standards. That is most likely my problem. After all my audience is primarily Art Directors, Art Buyers, Creative Directors, Small business owners, Marketing Directors and the like. So maybe I am thinking, like ACTUALLY GOOD images and not just snapping my lunch on Instagram and tagging the crap out of it. My mistake.
Maybe 2-3 images for a photographer or marketing company is enough 5 days a week. That's still a crazy amount, but it should be respectable.
Here is the Snake Oil part.
This is where this guy, selling spots in his seminar, really made me crazy. He was advocating that photographers must begin by hash tagging their work. Ok, that's standard practice. Then he was saying that once you get the burst of love on that photo, go back and delete all the hash tags so that you don't look desperate. Because somehow, someone using social media to gain exposure and have people actually SEE YOUR WORK is just desperate. No one wants to hire that photographer that is just hash tagging all the time, what a LOSER. (I can actually hear Donald Trump saying that last line in my head.)
So here is my main issue. Its not that this guy is advocating a practice that may or may not be an ethical way to build up your media, it is that he is doing so without A SCRAP OF DATA TO BACK IT UP. I mean look, the world is full of hucksters and scammers and all manner of shady people that are promising you something for nothing. If you are going out there and advocating a social media strategy based on nothing more than your silly opinion you have become one of them. This is not actually helpful. I have working in an around the advertising world for more than a decade. I can't think of a single conversation I have had or overheard that included not hiring a photographer based on the fact that he was using ADVERTISING to get their work in front of us because it smelled of desperation. As commercial and advertising photographers, WE WORK IN THE SAME INDUSTRY. Its not desperate to get your work out there. Its called business survival.
So in closing, you want a really solid Instagram strategy based on data and not someone's opinion? Check this link out:
As for new social strategies: I am all about hearing about new ones! I am not claiming any expertise in this world whatsoever. However, just because I am looking to be educated on a subject does not mean that I throw out all knowledge, experience and reason when it comes to something new.