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Optimising marketing through social media

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I made my first sale on Alamy this year and it almost exceeded income this year from all my other agency portfolios. I'm obviously keen to sell more, and it just happened that I had tweeted a couple of pictures from my Alamy portfolio the previous day, also for the first time. It might be a coincidence, or it might not. Anyway, how can one best attract customers using Twitter or other media? What hashtags, for instance, attract the most traffic? And how do you go about putting a picture with a link to the portfolio?

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good question.  You do not appear to do live news so I am not sure how applicable my answer may be as this is what I do.


You may may wish to develop a social media strategy.  (I took the Google Squared course in social media marketing a few years ago).  It is all about who your potential customers are and how you engage them.  What Google calls “the customer journey”  You need to decide what social media you want to use.  I use Twitter more than anything else as it fits the news buyers profile.  Many of my twitter subscribers are journalists/picture buyers.  Many find Instagram to be an excellent marketing tool.  Even You Tube can be used.  Of course using multiple channels is optimal.  


You also may need to establish your own brand and brand values.  A consistent style and message is very important in social media marketing.   Being identified as an expert or “thought leader” is a great help.  In an ideal world become the go to for a particular type or style of imagery.   Look at (R)Ed Snapper as an excellent example.  


Using hashtags and and key words will lead to your messages being seen.  I scan trending hashtags on twitter and, if appropriate use them. For example, in my case “Gavin Williamson” “Penny Mordaunt” #londonmarathon2019. I also scan newspapers everyday to try to spot developing trends so I can focus my image production accordingly.  As an example, Laura Ashley results due next week, so I take some Laura Ashley stock photos. 


I nearly always find an increase in views when I tweet a relevant Alamy news picture with appropriate hashtags.  


Google also recommends A/B testing where you change one variable in your approach and see what changes in views, zooms, sales etc.


I could go on (and given the chance on and on and on).  Some will dismiss the above approaches’ but they work for me.  It does take a lot of work and often the results are not immediately visible.  But like we all say about Alamy sales, it is a long game....

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Hi, Ian, Thanks for the ideas. I'll follow some of those up very soon. My own problem, and one that is probably widely shared, is that I have a very large backlog . ultimately perhaps 20,000 useable shots - of non-news images. They are mainly landscape, nature and travel, with a few digital renderings thrown in. I tend to shoot a lot of landscapes on holiday and trips out in my region, which is basically Switzerland and the neighbouring countries. There are trends in holidays, and I am certainly close to the growth areas along the North Mediterranean, but a lot of what I have to offer is not really "current". I'd be interested in any further ideas from anyone about marketing landscapes and nature shots.


A long game it is. I'm only just through my first year.


All the best...


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  • 1 year later...

Hi Elliot 


I know this is a very old thread but I was interested to see whether you have continued using social media to promote your images on alamy. I am just starting to try to sell my images and know that as many of my images are landscape or flora there is a lot of competition here on alamy and so sales are likely to be low through the use of keywording only. As you were in a similar position last year I was wondering how it was going.

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I'm intrigued as well. I have shared my fine art images on twitter, and other social media to a lesser extent, and have seen sales increase seemingly as a result. I have not tried sharing images from Alamy since that is a different market but I'd be interested to know how that is going for you and others. Now that sales seem to be picking up, perhaps because vaccinations are here and hopefully by spring things will be improving, I'm thinking that sharing on social media could help improve my Alamy sales.


Recently, I've been trying to build a following on instagram, which I've had for while but to which I was simply adding content via buffer without interacting. Buffer or similar apps that let you schedule your posts across all social media weeks in advance are great, but I found that without the personal interaction that I had been so good about early on, you don't get as much traction. So, I'm planning to use buffer to really think out my branding (it's great to see all your potential posts in one place) but I realize this means a corresponding need to then go to the various social media sites and interact. 


I like twitter the best (I've got 7K+ followers) because interacting by retweeting and/or liking others' work is easy. I also have a lot of fine art photographer & painter friends on there whom I've met online and this group tends to help each other out sharing other's work even though we are in competition with each other, it gets our work in front of their followers, many of whom will then follow you and some will even buy your work. Facebook and instagram on the other hand require you to get more involved in responding, commenting, thanking people, etc and are much more time consuming. 


Even with pre-scheduling, it all takes a lot of time, and I sometimes wonder if the extra sales are worth all the work, but you need to have an online presence. 


I remember when a certain microstock site I no longer supply would automatically tweet and share to FB (using your account in both cases) one of the images that you sold that day. Whichever image was randomly chosen would inevitable sell the next day and these quickly became my best sellers, some as old as 2008 still selling as recently as May (I closed my account in June due to the change in the contract). I noticed a drop in sales when they stopped this process but by then I was starting to share my fine art work and concentrate more on sales on Alamy, so I did not tweet or share the work myself.  Competition was so much less when stock sites had a few million images, so I'm not sure if sharing work from Alamy will be as fruitful, but if you're willing to put in the time, I imagine it helps. It sounds like it's working for @IanDavidson 

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Thanks for such a thoughtful and comprehensive reply, Marianne. I am really struggling with how to sell my work and have started marketing on facebook, mainly because it is a platform I am familiar with. I have dabbled a little with twitter but as most of the people who reacted or shared my images were other photographers I did wonder whether this would attract people who would be interested in buying my work. However, it has obviously worked for you to some extent.


Yes I agree Alamy is a very different market but as people are very tech savvy now I wondered if selling downloads so that people can create their own product through print on demand maybe a way forward? Just trying to think of a different angle as competition is so strong in all photography markets at the moment.


Thanks for replying - it's good to hear other's experiences and thoughts.

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On 04/12/2020 at 09:21, haze said:

...now I wondered if selling downloads so that people can create their own product through print on demand maybe a way forward?


Print-on-Demand POD platforms such as Fine Art America and others are a tough way forward for most unless you are already a well known artist with a following.  You will be in competition with many thousands of other artists including big galleries and millions of art offerings.  You will need a large portfolio of distinctive offerings to have much of a chance.  POD sites require that you do all your own marketing which is a huge challenge to meaningful success.  


The big social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Twitter have algorithms that limit their viability as effective small artist marketing for POD portfolios.


Sorry to sound negative - but I've been on POD for several years and have seen all the above with others commenting likewise.  It can be done obviously as many have - but it can be a tough row to hoe.




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