Expert Advice: LinkedIn for Photographers
by Wonderful Machine
As a commercial photographer, networking on social media should be part of your daily routine. Growing rapidly over the last couple of years — two people join every second! — LinkedIn has become a major social media platform and is now one of the best resources for sharing content and making connections available to photographers. Since LinkedIn is the only social media platform devoted to business to business (B2B) networking, it’s a natural place for photographers to find clients and for them to find you. Not only is LinkedIn ideal for creating connections, it is also an excellent way to cultivate relationships and promote your brand.
Most people in our industry have a profile, making now the perfect time to update your existing profile or create a brand new one. In fact, if you’re like many photographers, you already have a LinkedIn page. But perhaps you aren’t sure how to use it in your marketing efforts.
We'll show you how to make your profile stand out to get those desired connections and market your brand!
CREATING OR UPDATING YOUR PROFILE
LinkedIn is an online résumé that allows you to share your experience, skills, and interests. While it's a professional platform, a strong profile means showing off your unique personality and story as well.
To create a basic profile, LinkedIn will ask for your name, job title, location (like the nearest big city), industry, and work history. After taking care of these basics, create a custom URL. The site will assign you a URL based on your name plus some random numbers, like linkedin.com/in/janedoe-2334234. But LinkedIn gives you the ability to edit that and you should. Remember, this is part of your branding effort. Can you use your Instagram handle? Facebook URL? When it comes to branding, consistency is key. For example, it would be better to have linkedin.com/in/janedoe-photography than the URL above. Instructions describing the process can be found on LinkedIn's help page.
Your headline counts. Instead of writing “Photographer” or “Freelance Photographer,” make it specific. Try “Photographer Specializing in Corporate and Architecture Photography.” Potential clients want to know who you are quickly and if it’s the right fit for them, so it's important that your profile is thoughtful and complete.
Make sure your profile picture is a good one! Keep it professional and consistent with the rest of your branding — preferably one without a camera hiding your face and the same one as your Instagram and website pictures.
You are missing out on an excellent branding opportunity if you do not have a banner. If you're a photographer, you can upload a picture or a series of images to help bring out your personality and make your profile unique. Fill this space in a way that reflects your current work, and consider changing your banner image on a regular basis so as to highlight your most recent projects.
Use your About area to share your background and tell your story. Be personable and speak directly to the reader. Engage them, so they’re interested in learning more about you. Treat this overview like an elevator pitch of who you are as a photographer. Keep it short and straightforward. If you need help figuring out how to write this summary, read our How to Write a Photographer Bio expert advice article.
Make sure to add Volunteer Experience, Skills & Endorsements, and Accomplishments, drawing on personal interests, hobbies, certifications, causes that you’re interested in, and volunteer work you’ve done, even if it was years ago. Sometimes, those details can make it easier for others to relate to you.
Once you’ve set up your Basic profile, you may want to consider upgrading to a Premium account. LinkedIn currently offers three levels that would be useful to you.
Premium Career is $29.99 per month and allows you to see who's viewed your profile, direct message other members, and access exclusive educational content through LinkedIn Learning.
You can also apply to teach a course via LinkedIn learning. Include this link: https://learning.linkedin.com/instructors
Premium Business is $59.99 per month and gives you 15 InMail messages per month and business insights. InMails are messages that are sent directly to other LinkedIn members, even if you're not connected to them. With a Business membership, you can also view an unlimited number of profiles on the site, see who's viewed your profile, get career insights, and access LinkedIn Learning.
Premium Sales is $79.99 per month and gives you access to all the features of Career and Business plus the Sales Navigator feature and 20 InMail messages per month. You also get sales-specific insights, lead recommendations and advanced searches with a lead-builder.
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PUBLISHING TO THE FEED
To get the most out of your new connections you can share your photography in the feed. Regular updates will keep you on your connections' radars and allow them to engage with you. As a photographer, you have a particular advantage, since when your connections like or share your pictures they will spread awareness of your brand throughout their network.
Examples of things you can share are new images additions to your portfolio, new blog posts, and trending topics in your industry. It’s a good way to get people to your site; you can measure how the feed is working for you by using analytics. You should also take the opportunity to connect with people by commenting on or liking the things they are sharing on the feed.
Presently, “Stories,” the new stories feature, is only available to Premium members, if you are a paying member this is an opportunity to share BTS or new work and show that you are someone people would want to work with.
NETWORKING: FOLLOWING GROUPS AND COMPANIES
Being an active member of groups increases the visibility of your profile. The more groups you're in, the higher the chance your profile will show up in search results. Thankfully, you have a lot to choose from. You’ll want to focus on the industries you want to work in and any group that might help you develop your business.
Here are some examples of industry groups you might consider joining:
You can also follow companies that interest you. Once you follow a company, you’ll receive updates on your LinkedIn homepage, including job opportunities and other news about that company.
NETWORKING: FINDING CLIENTS
By creating a detailed profile, you'll be making it easy for clients and other industry professionals to find you. LinkedIn also provides a number of tools to help you find and cultivate a relationship with others.
With networking on LinkedIn, it’s all about who you know. Start by sending a connection request to people you already know and who are likely to accept your connection. Past clients and photographers who you already have a strong relationship with are ideal people to add. As a result of those connections, you'll be able to send out a request to others who have their privacy set so that you must share a common connection before you can request them. With each connection you add (these are your 1st connections), your 2nd and 3rd connections will also grow. You can ask someone in your immediate network for an introduction to a 2nd or 3rd connection if you see a connection that has good potential.
As your network expands, more people will see you and your searches will yield more results. Since LinkedIn uses this algorithm, we recommend connecting with clients in the industry who are going to hire you or introduce you to industry professionals that can help to advance your career. You want to only connect with photographers who can endorse or introduce you to a client.
To find clients you’d like to work with, look at the company profile page to see who holds the role of creative director, art buyer, photo editor, or other relevant job titles. Those are the most likely people within their companies to hire photographers. You can find a detailed explanation of job titles in our Expert Advice: Client Job Titles.
RECOMMENDATIONS & ENDORSEMENTS
While Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are great for building a following, showcasing your images, and casual interaction, clients may not be able to get a sense of what it will be like to work with you. LinkedIn serves as a recommendation letter. Users can easily endorse the skills and expertise you list on your page, and in turn, it’s an easy way to confirm what you can do. Even better, users you’ve worked with in the past can write a recommendation discussing their experience with you. No matter what your portfolio looks like, all businesses are “people” businesses. Having someone vouch for the fact that you’re dependable and enjoyable to work with can make the difference for some clients who might be taking a chance on you for the first time.
So, how do you get a recommendation? You can contact up to three connections at a time to ask them to recommend you. Try writing a thoughtful recommendation for some connections you had great experiences with — this feedback might inspire them to do the same! Recommendations double as a thoughtful way to say thank you and make an impression that will help you stay on someone’s mind. Not only will recommendations show up on your LinkedIn page, they will also be visible on the page of the user who wrote it for you, allowing all of their connections to see you shine as well.
To request recommendations from a particular person: Go to their profile, click on the drop-down menu under their name and select recommend. From here you can write a recommendation, or you can choose to Ask for a Recommendation.
Endorsements are important because you essentially get
to select the skills you’d like endorsed. Don’t forget to set up
these skills, making sure to add at least five to your page by
simply clicking add skill and typing your areas
LinkedIn is full of networking opportunities to help you find the right professionals. Think of LinkedIn just as you would Instagram and Facebook in regard to posting content. On the homepage, you can share an update, upload a photo, or write an article to keep your audience posted on new commissions, features, tearsheets, and pieces written on your work. These posts will show up directly in your connections and newsfeeds, and the content will permanently live on your LinkedIn profile page.
Wonderful Machine is an art production agency with a network of 600 photographers in 44 countries. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. This article was also published here. If you have any questions, or if you need help with your social media presence, you can reach out to Wonderful Machine via email.