Sunday, June 16, 2013

marketing via social networks :: my approach

Recently, in the ole lands of facebook, Google + and Tumblr, where today's "in" crowds socialize, I had posted the first of a series of pop quizzes that had brought a bit of attention, a spike in the stats, to the pages in which I post. Responses weren't through the roof but the eyeballs sure were watching. Hey, I can't help but check stats from time to time.


Giving back. Today, with the humongous amounts of data being strewn across our laptops, iPads and mobile devices, it's hard to discern anything of value these days. Across the social networks people and businesses alike are whoring around, like the time your best friend was stalking his ex girlfriend. Why? Why else? C.R.E.A.M. Cash Rules Everything Around Me, dollar dollar bill ya'll.

Of course there are some pure people out there on the networks. In fact there are probably millions and millions of people cruising facebook or similar site, simply to connect with friends and family. The business minded obviously thought and rightfully so, that these platforms would be a marvelous way to advertise. I'm mean, come on, who the hell watches TV commercials anymore. I sure as hell don't. Social networks would be the new marketing stomping grounds. Hey, one way or another, the advertisers will get you. I promise. Now, this is not to say I'm ripping on these people or persons. Not at all. Hell, to some degree, I am that person.

We all need to grow our businesses or, well, we just won't progress. How can anyone grow their business without advertising/marketing? They can't. They may get lucky for a while. But eventually they will die.

Let's look at that view from a photographic viewpoint. You, Joe Schmo, finds a new DSLR that just happened to fall from the back of a truck. You look at this piece of technology. learn it and in no time, master it. You become one bad ass photographer. You create images like no other. You mind fuck yourself on a day to day basis. You decide you want turn your remarkable talent into a full time gig. But, you, Joe Schmo, have never shown your photographs to anyone, not even your new girlfriend who happens to be your best friend's ex.

Without getting eyeballs on your work, without marketing that is, without proper advertising, your brilliance will never go beyond the four walls in which you have locked your work. Shame on you.

Marketing works. Advertising works.

As for the consumer, nobody likes that street whore that just won't leave them alone. Pop up ads, banner ads, the sly pop under ads, all still flourish around the interwebs but do nothing but annoy the majority of consumers.

Marketing on the internet is a like a delicate flower, act too rough and it will be killed. Gary Vaynerchuk, marketing mastermind, says it best when it comes to marketing, "give give give give give...ask." This should be the straight business plan for all marketing professionals around the globe today. Genius.

If you are simply out there with the gimmie, gimmie, gimmie attitude, you will quickly be ignored like that street whore with crabs. On the other hand, if you, on these networks, decide to mingle a bit, discuss, socialize, interact, you can and will increase your business.

The bottom line....GIVE BACK. So much for shortened blogs like I promised a couple weeks ago. And that lens herein? I'm close, I promise.

Ok, where were we? Ah, giving back. Yes, the ultimate in marketing yourself in the social media playgrounds.

Guilty As Charged

I spend some time each day, mingling in the social networks. I like to see the photos people post, I like to see what others are doing that day. Bottom line, I like to be involved. Now, it is difficult as I have a million other things to do on a day to day basis but I make it a point, typically early evening, to check in on those networks.

More than check in on social networks, I stay active. As a photographer, people would clearly want to see my photographs. Never do I solicit money when posting my work. Hell no. I simply post an image and allow it to be enjoyed by the masses, never asking for anything. This may be hard to understand but by doing so, I have grown my photography business at an exponential rate. I cannot put a dollar figure on it but I will tell you that I, like most, doubted facebook and other networks. Today, I am forever grateful for the friends I have made and the business relationships and networks that have grown as a result of today's biggest cocktail party in the world.

Am I super innocent. Not at all. Sure, I want everyone to enjoy my photographs, my blog links and my witty (or not) remarks but I also post for one other gigantic reason, the eyeballs. I refuse to be Joe Schmo. Getting eyeballs on my work has, in return, brought me more clients. Amazing, if you ask me.

So Why A Pop Quiz?

While I post photographs almost on a daily basis, getting those eyeballs on my work, I also find it very helpful to get people to interact. I decided that more than interacting, giving back would be super duper awesome. This brings me to the lens that you see above.

I acquired this beautiful beast a couple weeks ago. I decided to do some product photography with the heavy brass glass. After completing the shoot, which I will discuss in a moment, I decided, rather than simply post on the networks, to make some fun out of it; a challenge and a reward. Pavlovian, I know but hey, we can't deny scientific evidence.

I offered to my connections to guess what lens this is, mount and purpose. As a reward, I offered a free headshot or creative portrait session if the winner lived in the Philadelphia region. The result? The eyeballs certainly were abundant. Answers? Although very creative, none have succeeded.

Besides getting eyeballs on my work, I feel that it's very rewarding to give back to the community that has undeniably given to me.

Before I get into the lens photograph, I want to share with you that the competition is still open. I will clarify a bit to simplify what I am asking of you.

1. Lens manufacturer
2. Focal distance
3. Mount
4. Usage

If you can answer these four items and you live in the Philadelphia region (oh, a 25 mile radius max will suffice) you will win a shoot with yours truly.


If I have not received a correct answer in one month, I will choose the closest to having all four parts.

Nerd File ::

This was a total run and gun styled shoot. I wanted to bang something out that looked awesome and do so in fast times. I decided to mount a speedlight ON CAMERA. Yes my friends, on camera. I rarely if ever do this. Fear not, I was not firing the strobe, on axis, at the subject. Instead, I angled the strobe upwards on a 45, zoomed to narrow the beam. While holding the camera with my right hand, I held a large piece of white poster board, over and behind the subject. The strobe was angled to hit the board while the board was angled to light the subject from above and behind.

Now, let's reverse engineer the light. The large soft light running furthest atop the lens is the modified, bounced strobe light. big and beautiful. You also see two very narrow beams of light running below the big soft light. Those are in fact two ambient sources that I simply left in there because it looked cool. One is from a tungsten source, the other a daylight fluorescent source. each were bare, creating that hard light running alongside the lens body.

That super awesome reflective surface? This, my friends, is a product photographer's secret weapon. That which gives beauty to so many products we see every single day.

A piece of glass (or plexiglass). So simple yet so wonderful.

In this instance, I used a table which had a glass top. Doesn't look like clear glass Michael. That's right. That effect is caused by a few things:

-Angle of camera to surface.
-Angle of light/mod to surface.
-Size of mod.

It's pretty simple and the results obviously speak for themselves. This looks as if it were shot in an expensive studio when in fact it was shot in my living room, on a not-so-big table.

aperture :: f/5.6
shutter :: 1/250
ISO :: 400
strobe :: 1/16

Post production, you know me, just a few minor adjusts. I know, I should detail a bit more of my post workflow. By this time my fingers are usually worn out from typing. You know what? I will dedicate an upcoming post to my exact digital workflow processes. And notice I said upcoming, not next week. Upcoming could be a year from now so don't go breakin' em for me.

Good luck my friends and I look forward to your emails!!!!

By the way, to see other people's guesses, my facebook page is linked at the top of the desktop site, if your mobile, you can find me [here].

Until next time...