Authors: Lindsay Adler and Rosh Sillars
Publisher: Course Technology
Review by Conrad J. Obregon
Over four hundred million people have accounts on Facebook. Thousands, if not millions, of tweets are sent each day. Personal web sites are common. With all this traffic flying over the Internet, its easy to see why some photographers believe that there has to be a way to turn all these electronics signals into dollars by selling their images online. The Linked Photographers’ Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media
attempts to tell photographers how to do this.
After a brief introduction to social networking on the Internet, the authors discuss some fundamentals of social network marketing, including preparation of a plan, branding, creation of websites and blogs, search engine optimization and analytics, and the use of ads. The third part of the book describes most of the major social media sites and the authors suggestions on how to use them. The book concludes with descriptions of how the authors and other photographers have used social networking for marketing.
My first impression of the book was that it seemed rather general and did not provide enough specifics on how to use particular social media sites. Then, when I went on line with the book in hand, I found that the authors had provided more information than I noticed at first. For example, while I was familiar with Google analytics, which allow you to examine the nature of the traffic to your website (presumably so that you can improve your marketing), I was unaware that Facebook also provided its own analytics until the book led me to them. On the other hand, you won’t learn how to design a good web site in this book.
Even though I recommend this book for those interested in online marketing, I do have some quibbles. For example in their discussion of web sites the authors ignore the capabilities of software like Photoshop and Lightroom to create web sites quickly. It is true that these web sites follow templates that are not designed for marketing, but photographers willing to spend a little time learning to use software like Dreamweaver can quickly customize the web sites created to make marketing web sites.
In the chapter on blogs the authors tell us that photographers blogs should be tailored to their audience, but then go on to describe blogs that discuss primarily photographic technique and activities. That makes sense for individuals trying to sell to photographers but not for those trying to market their photographs or services to the public.
One area that is ignored is the question of how effective online marketing actually is for most photographers. It seems to me that the biggest problem photographers trying to sell their work encounter is one of too much supply and too little demand. I realize that these economic questions are beyond the scope of this work, but photographers should be warned that even if you follow all of the advice in this book, there will still be more marketing to do.
For the photographer interested in marketing through social networking, this book will provide a good introduction. No one should expect that merely following the advice in this book will result in the sale of a single image.