This blog will take you through a lot of the key things that you need to know for keeping a good online presence, especially if you are looking at starting your own business or running professional accounts to promote yourself and what you do.
I will be discussing my experience and knowledge of what things I did to enhance and make my online presence better. It is still a working progress for me, however, with the little things I did to improve on making me more present online, I started seeing the positives out of it and I hope you do too.
For me, social media has been a part of my life for a long time now, probably looking at 10/11 years old when I started using social media. I started on Twitter because I liked how you could follow celebrities, voice your opinion on the types of discussions on tweets and become a part of a community there. Then, I started taking a liking to Instagram and how you could upload stories of your life through visuals and catchy captions.
There is a lot of say around whether social media is more bad than good, however, I never really negatively used social media because I was always taught to think about what I say, and if I haven't got anything to say then don't say it and another thing was thinking about what I am posting and how that can have an effect on others. I also tried to educate myself on the pros and cons of social media and to be honest If I kept doing what I was doing and using social media in the right ways, then it would bring me the confidence to be able to gain a lot of experience in discovering what benefits it has and will have in my future. At the end of the day, social media and online presences are starting to become part of our lives a lot nowadays, and it's a way to put ourselves out there to connect, promote and expose ourselves to the world of the internet.
When I went to Plymouth College of Art to study photography, by then I was pretty much into social media and had my personal accounts that I would interact with regularly by posting content based on my hobbies and interests. I knew that with studying photography, I was going to need some sort of separate account to purely focus on my photography work, so I set up an Instagram account for that. That way I was keeping my professional side separate from my personal life, which is what I wanted at the time.
Leaving college to go to University, I was at a level where I could confidently respectfully use social media and used it more to network and engage with other people's work, making myself more present and part of the community. I was posting regularly as I was producing more content to sustain my online presence. I think where I came from, I have definitely learned more about how I use social media and how to keep improving on it from a professional perspective. I pretty much use my professional social media weekly and I am getting more of a structure of when to post and how to reach out to my target audiences in different ways of attracting attention. Furthermore, I post content that I like to post and that I am satisfied with, I engage with other creative's work by commenting, liking, sharing, and retweeting.
Throughout university, I learn how to connect up to people and use a professional tone in my writing as well as learning about different platforms and what kind of audiences you get on them, but also the purposes of each platform. Instagram is quite a popular one for posting content and following people with similar interests. Twitter, I would say is more of a discussion platform for sharing and commenting on tweets. Pinterest on the other hand, it's not so popular, however, I use it regularly for gathering a lot of inspiration and pinning what I like which may help me at times for use in the future with gathering ideas and methodology of the things I come across. I recently started up a Behance and that platform I like for targeting and being within a community that is purely creatives based and I get ideas of specific projects there as well.
Then we come onto the last year of my university studies, and I wanted to do something that I have always had in the back of my mind and that was blogging. I used to blog a lot when going on family holidays and taken so many photos out and about. I still am very much like this now, but recently, I wanted to take this seriously and work hard for this. My freelance photography will always be there for me, but I wanted to extend on from that and bring something extra into what I am passionate about doing.
So this year, I started taking my personal Instagram more seriously and producing more engaging content. It was still having that personal touch to it because I was creating content based on lifestyle, food, and travel, but you would get to see more of me going on a journey to finding myself and the unique lifestyle that I aspire to live.
Below are some key elements to think about when creating and uploading content because at the end of the day, you can go through that hard effort and make something amazing, but it would be such a shame if you didn't get the exposure that you fully well deserve.
Key things to note to make your online presence better:
The following things will take time and happen gradually. It's all about taking those steps and analyzing how you have done at the time and what you could do to improve and move forward with great progression.
One thing is to not compare yourself to others because this is your journey, and you will get to where you aspire to be in your own time. It is about setting your own goals and what you want to get out of the strategy that you put in place.
1. Have specific accounts if you want to keep your professional and personal sides separate. With me, I have made a separate one for my architecture & travel photography and then my personal one is pretty much my lifestyle content creating page. I kept these separate because they both have slightly different aesthetics to them that I want to keep on different pages, but they do link up to one another.
2. Use your accounts regularly. People will only want to interact with accounts that are consistent on social media and with the Instagram algorithm, they apparently don't tend to show accounts that much if they aren't showing enough engagement. That doesn't mean that you have to post every day, but keep a consistent schedule of posting and engaging with content as you want to be online when your target audiences are and increase your reach.
3. Engage with people's accounts such as liking, retweeting, commenting, and sharing. I find that by doing this now and again, it'll become part of a routine to do this often and you will find many benefits from doing this. It's also quite easy to do, so why not start now. You show yourself to be a part of the community of people, people from their followings may look at your work and what you do, you could get engagement back from the people you engaged with, and many more. I discovered more accounts that inspired my growth in the type of content I was creating and this helped me to find more of my niche.
4. Promote yourself in many ways. Every time I uploaded content to my photography Instagram as an example, I would share that to my other platforms to attract attention to my work and also post it on my Instagram stories to let people know that I've recently posted. Showing not just your final polished photos, but behind-the-scenes and setups are a good way to show more of the process which people like to see. That may make people go to your work to see the process right through to the end and continue from that. Getting your friends and family to share your profession and specialisation with other people online, it's all about branching out there because you may find that you could get to your dream goal through the contacts of people that you come across and who follow you on your journey.
5. Having your own unique style to your content will draw more people that have similar aesthetics and interest to your social media channels. For example, on my Instagram, my aesthetics are very warm because I find warm tones to be very cosy and express happiness. The main aim of my lifestyle content is to create these bright, colourful visuals that make people feel good about doing the little things in life and really appreciating every aspect of their life.
6. Make use of hashtags. You want to have a good handful of specific hashtags for your niche. I would say around 5-10 strong hashtags, both small and big will increase engagement and put you on feeds that are specifically directed towards other accounts similar to yours. You will also find other people on these pages that you can follow and see what kind of hashtags they follow and use on their posts. Using hashtags such as locations, brands/companies, hashtags specific to your niche, and many more, so I would search around for hashtags that suit your type of content and note them down.
Feel free to follow or have a look at any of my social media platforms to get ideas and inspiration:
Instagram: @Jasfitzephoto - https://www.instagram.com/jasfitzephoto
@JasmineFitze - https://www.instagram.com/jasminefitze
Twitter: @Jasfitzephoto - https://twitter.com/Jasfitzephoto
Pinterest: @Jasmine_Fitze - https://www.pinterest.co.uk/Jasmine_Fitze/
Behance: @Jasminefitzephoto - https://www.behance.net/Jasminefitzephoto
I am still developing on my online presence to make it even better and to make that progress to where I want to be with regards to my career aspirations of freelancing photography and lifestyle content creating.
If any of you have any strategies that you want to share, feel free to comment under this blog post as it may not only help me, but it'll help others too and you can keep referring back to this blog post for guidance.