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Getting ‘Some’ Links from Instagram Posts with Flow and Padgram

17 July

As you may have inferred from my last post, I’m getting pretty into Instagram. I love it so much. In fact, you should follow me. I’m @williambahiabay.
As mentioned in the previous article, I use Latergramme to schedule my posts at the beginning of the week and then just acknowledge them as they come up on my phone. That’s still working fantastic.

But to view other people’s Instagram posts, I prefer to use my iPad with an app called Flow. The pictures are much larger and I can sit back, see more in a bigger grid. It’s easier to comment and like as well. So interaction with other Instagram-ers is easier too.

Yesterday morning, while I was perusing through my Instagram feed (which consists of lots of Surfers, Cafe Racer motorcycles and fine art black and white photographers), something gave me a bit of a shock. I saw on Kelly Slater’s latest post about his new clothing line OuterKnown that he included a link. AND IT WAS A LIVE LINK!

Instagram Live Link

In the Flow app on iPad, you can actually see live links in an Instagram post.

Well, most folks familiar with Instagram know that the links you post, don’t work. But in Flow, the app is set to actually show them as live. You can click through and it will open Safari and take you right there.

I confirmed this with Padgram as well. Although you have to click the text area first, and then you can see the live link.

Live link in Instagram on the Padgram App.

Live link in Instagram on the Padgram App.

So what does this mean for Instagramers?

Well, I wouldn’t shy away from adding your links to your posts anymore. They could be showing up to certain people. But I would add them judiciously and not get too link crazy, as it is Instagram’s policy not to display them. If you are adding links en mass, I do believe they have the right to shut down your account.

I also think that you’re dealing with a very small group of people that would be using Flow or Padgram, and while a little extra traffic is great, it’s nothing to get crazy over.

So it looks like for some people, they can see your links. But be selective with what posts you are putting those links into.

Update: Analytics

direct-traffic-instagramI did some testing on my own to see how the referral source came up in Google Analytics. Knowing if it was a specific referrer would help to measure how effective putting your links in for Flow and Padgram users.

Unfortunately, what I found is that there is no Referrer or even Social source. So the traffic is likely to be lumped in with all Direct traffic, and it’ll be near impossible to track the effectiveness of posting links. But this shouldn’t be a deterrent to doing so.


Likes for Likes Sake

10 February

Illustration credit Sam Michel

What is a Like on Facebook?

Well, not literally “What is a Like on Facebook.” I’m going to assume you know what they actually are. But what value do they bring to your business and are they really worth the effort to actively try to get them? Wouldn’t you be better off treating each Like as a special thing?

Natural Growth vs Steroids

I’ve always been a major proponent of growing your business organically. Find clients, then those clients will tell people, and your business will grow. This applies for website clients as much as it does to people in your life.
Treat those clients amazing and some will Like you, some will refer you, less will talk about you to everyone they know that need a photographer, and even less will be your shouting billboard for how amazing you are at everything. That’s just the progression of Word Of Mouth. Not everyone spends the time to tout you. Some just needed the service you provided and were happy.

Not all your clients will like you on Facebook. That means a Like is a special thing. Let’s start treating them that way. Treat them as an endorsement, rather than just a collection that needs to be bigger than the other persons.

If a Like is special, why invite everyone and their mothers to Like your page on Facebook? Why buy ads to get people to like you?

Screw Likes. Engagement is where it’s at!

“What?!?! You just said Likes are special?”
Well, yes. They are and I believe we need to retrain our thinking to un-commoditize the idea of Liking.

But it all starts with knowing who your target audience is, and who will engage with your page. The Likes are kinda surface. To grow your business and develop the kind of people that will be those rare few that are shouting billboards for you, you’re looking for more than Likes, you’re looking for people to engage on your page.
But you can’t do that when you’ve invited everyone in the universe to Like your page (or paid for Likes) just to get your numbers up. In fact when people don’t engage with your posts, it decreases the reach your posts get.

Trying to get as many likes as you can actually hurts you.

Facebook Fraud!

I’ve seen people raising these points lately. But this video is just starting to make the rounds on Facebook today. Hopefully this puts pressure on Facebook to start being accountable. It’s worth watching all 9 minutes.

And I think it reinforces the idea that Likes for Likes Sake is pointless, and you should really be focusing on real Likes and Engagement.

And… don’t forget to Like Flaunt Your Site!

But only if you really want to. 😉

Two Bright Lights Partnership

25 January

I’m very pleased to announce that Two Bright Lights, have generously offered all Flaunt Your Site SEO clients a 20% discount on their services. It’s essentially 2 free months of Two Bright Lights.

If you’re not familiar with them, you totally should be. Two Bright Lights takes all the heavy work out of submitting to all the great blogs out there like Style Me Pretty, June Bug, Grey Likes, and all the other popular wedding blogs out there. In addition, they are constantly working to get other photo blogs in the mix, like maternity, baby, and lifestyles.

We all know that getting great links from editorial blog posts from high authority sites like these will skyrocket your sites in search rankings. That’s exactly why we created this partnership.

If you’re a current client, we’ll be delivering a coupon code, and for new clients the code will be in your SEO Action Plan.

10 Marketing Techniques for Photographers

27 October

Note: This article was originally published on William Bay Photography in 2009 for my own wedding photography business. Since Flaunt Your Site is about getting your photography businesses noticed, I felt it was appropriate to move it here. And I believe the information still holds true today.

I’ve been doing a lot of meditating, brainstorming and reading about effective marketing and promotion for my wedding photography business. What I’ve concluded is that it all boils down to relationships. This is a bit of a revelation for me, as I have spent the majority of my 20′s burning bridges, and stubbornly thinking I could do everything on my own, while hiding behind my computer.

I agree with Seth Godin‘s marketing mantra of “You can’t buy attention.” And since all print advertising is doing is shouting “Look at me, look at me,” you have as much a chance of becoming a big name photographer as a five year old. So first, here is what I personally will not participate in*:

  • Print ads in local, or national wedding magazines. (You will fall through the cracks, while making the magazine richer, as you are drained of your hard earned resources).
  • Paid ads in online places such as The Knot, again, unless you are in an untapped region, you will be a drop in the bucket with a plethora of other photographers all competing for the same brides as you, save your money.
  • Mailings? Even worse. If you are lucky, you get 1/2% response rate from everyone you mail to. Assuming a run of 500, theoretically you would end up with 2.5 inquires. I have done this before and have not received one.

*Perhaps when I feel I’m ready to launch nationally, I may begin advertising, (but probably not).

OK, Let’s look at the things you could do that would be more efficient:

  1. Make lots of new friends and be generous:
    Like I said before, I spent most of my 20′s burning bridges. Now, I find that I am repairing the old, and building brand new ones. The people that I meet now, I make it a point to find out what interests them, what their passions are, what resources do I have that could benefit them.
    I rarely turn down a conversation anymore, you never know who is a person of influence, or where your relationship will go.
  2. Begin relationships with Wedding Coordinators and Venues:
    While Coordinators and Venues will more than likely already have some photographers they have worked with before, if you want to make a splash in your town and want to have your name/studio name permeate and be well known, you are going to have to hit the pavement and do the “dog and pony” show with your work. Show them you are interested in their work or facility. They are more than happy to meet with other industry people.
    It’s important to note while you are meeting these people, that you aren’t selling your photography, you are selling you and your personality. So turn on the charm.
  3. Bridal shows:
    I am slowly changing my mind on this one. I have bought into the stories of low-budget brides just shopping for prices. But the more I think about it and discuss the notion with my confidant, the more it makes sense to do the more larger shows.
    I’ve been reassured that there are brides that range all kinds of budgets. And the key factor is that there are brides there, my target market! As someone that is swearing off advertising, it’s imperitive to be actively engaging with them, and obtaining information from those potential brides for consultations rather than just being a human brochure and spouting off prices and packages.
    –I’ll keep you with results from my first one, (which may be in June).
  4. Join PPA or other photographic networking group:
    “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member” – Groucho Marx
    Here is the ultimate sign that hell has frozen over – I’m joining a club… Yeah, It hurts a little bit.
    Trying to maintain an outcast image has hurt me in the business world. Now, I see that I can attempt to stand out in a targeted niche group.
    I was brought to a PPA meeting by a good friend of mine as a guest and met David Willis of Leather Craftsmen, and Ross Benton, a very well known wedding photographer from San Antonio. These relationships are just the beginning of what could be a significant boost to launch my career. I’m sure there will be more special speakers, but, I think the real juice lies in the potential referrals that could come by knowing your fellow members in the PPA (or whatever networking groups you decide to join).
  5. Teach:
    The more you are in the public eye the better. And teaching other photographers makes you generous, an expert, and your students can end up as your most loyal evangelists. Plus, if you have a deep knowledge base of one particular subject, imagine how powerfully you can affect the photographic community you belong to, which makes you an influential figure.
    I am working on putting together a Customer Service workshop. It may not be the most sexiest of workshops, but I believe it’s the most vital to growing a business.
  6. Cause a controversy:
    I was kicked out of the Tribeza Bridal Show. It may not be a big deal in the local news or anything, (I did rather wish some police or security was involved for greater exposure), but it did raise a few eyebrows with photographers and vendors. As long as the name William Bay is on the lips of people in the wedding industry, I’m happy. And if the buzz is edgy and controversial, that’s even better. I want crazy rumors floating around about me. “Did you hear that a Bridesmaid at a wedding slipped William Bay a rufi?”
    It’s alleged that Ozzy Osbourne bit off the head of a bat! Crazy, huh? It never happened, but look at the buzz that he has around him.
    What can you personally stir up in your photographic community. Is it as extreme as me?
    No? OK how about challenging the most well known photographer in your area. If he says one thing, say the complete opposite (as long as you believe it). Say you could outshoot them blindfolded, then back it up. Make sure there are lots of witnesses.
  7. Blockparty:
    Remember the postcard mailers I discussed earlier, in the what not to do section. The postcards would have run you about $80 for 500 at Overnight Prints. The postage would have been about $150. That totals $230 to have people quickly glance at your well designed card before they toss it in their recycle bin.
    Instead, take that $230 (this may run you some more actually), and go to Costco, pick up enough food to feed 50 people and hold yourself a blockparty. Run flyers 3 weeks out and make sure people RSVP. People love free food and good music.
    Spend your time meeting your neighbors, getting to know them, letting them know that you are a photographer, and take pictures of everybody. Post them on your website for everyone to download. (Yes, I said download).
  8. Find an office:
    Since I have moved in to my tiny little office in the back of my friends floral shop, I have met a ton of people. So the networking possibilities are endless. At $300/month, the expense is not bad, and having a legitimate place to meet clients, an area that I can work semi-uninterrupted, access to potential clientele, and the loyalty of the shop owner by providing free photos of her floral arrangments is truly priceless.
  9. Get published:
    I’m working on this one right now. I swung for the fence, by trying to get into Grace Ormonde – Wedding Style. If I get in, I will be truly stoked, if not I will keep trying. I already have my next shoots lined up and the ideas are just bursting at the seams ready to jump out and into the camera.
    The important thing is to get into real publications, not the ones where you have to advertise to get some editorial work.
  10. Top Secret:
    Yeah, I know… I tricked you. Hey, I’ve got to keep some trade secrets.

I do hope you got some value out of this. And remember the general rule of thumb in marketing is that all your efforts will provide you with about 5% returns.
You must be prepared to put forth a great deal of energy and effort to obtain each and every customer. Keep it in perspective too, this should not be about getting clients quick, it should be about building your future.

Be relentless, be positive, and always be thinking about the future, not the next booking.