How to find clients in the new realities, when Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, has been recognized as an extremist organization, and Tik-Tok has restricted work in Russia? We have collected platforms and methods that are worth paying attention to in 2022.
Where to find clients for a novice photographer — which social networks to go to
Small businesses without huge advertising budgets find it easiest to promote on social media. Photography is no exception. Promotion on popular sites helps the photographer to find clients online, with a minimum of financial investment. The main principle here is to become familiar, to be everywhere so that as many people as possible learn about you. Don’t skimp on any platform.
We figure out which social networks a beginner should pay attention to in order to show their work.
The audience of VKontakte is 50 million people, which is more than a third of the population of Russia. This social network has many thematic communities where a photographer can send his work with a link to himself. At a minimum, this will bring likes and a sense of satisfaction, and, at a maximum, you will be remembered and signed up for the shoot.
This social network is considered outdated, but according to statistics for November 2021, it was used by 46.5 million users, and according to information for February 2022, Odnoklassniki is in 6th place in popularity among social networks in Russia. Perhaps those who shoot fashion will not find clients there, but family and children’s photographers will definitely fall into the target audience.
Not yet blocked social network, where educational content will go perfectly. Now monetization on YouTube is disabled for Russian users, but this platform will help you create a personal brand, increase your expertise in the eyes of potential customers.
The Russian replica of YouTube, into which the audience will flow if YouTube is blocked. Perhaps you should take care of creating a channel now, while there is low competition.
Social network and at the same time photo hosting, 10th most popular in Russia as of February 2022. It allows you to add themed boards with images to your page, share them with other users, or create private collections for yourself. This service is often used to find references for photo shoots, tattoos, drawings, and even repairs.
This is an international social network-photo hosting. It can also store videos. Social network is convenient to use as a portfolio. In addition, it allows you to upload full-sized jpeg files, so it can be used as storage. Photographers also praise Flickr for its lack of censorship — just check the box “adult content” so that the image is not banned.
An analogue of Tik-Tok, which allows you to record short videos with special effects. It is believed that they publish mainly content for children, but after the blocking of Tik-Tok, many million-plus TikTokers switched to it. This means that after them their older audience will also migrate there.
More recently, Instagram (banned in the Russian Federation; owned by the Meta Corporation, an extremist organization banned in the Russian Federation) was considered the best platform for promotion. For photographers, this is especially true, because this social network focuses on visual content. After blocking, the site works intermittently for users in Russia, you can freely get there only using a VPN (read how to set up a VPN here). This means that the social network will continue to be used. You can continue to publish there, attracting customers and using the network as one of the promotion channels.
Two “buts” are important:
- Do not post the Instagram logo (banned in the Russian Federation; owned by Meta Corporation, an extremist organization banned in the Russian Federation) in other social networks — this may be regarded as a public display of extremist symbols. The same applies to qr business cards.
- Buying advertising can be regarded as financing an extremist organization. So now there are only free ways of promotion — publications in thematic accounts, hashtags.
In March 2022, the use of this social network in Russia is limited. Russian users are not shown foreign content, and local tiktokers cannot publish videos and broadcast live. You can bypass the video ban.
As Tiktokers note, publishing content after blocking can give more results than before — Russian-language content is actively promoted by algorithms for the Russian-speaking population, which increases subscriptions. For a photographer who wants to find clients in Russia, in his city, this can only be beneficial.
How to find clients for a beginner photographer without using social networks
- Friends, TFP and word of mouth
Your first customers are your immediate environment. The more friends and loved ones you photograph, the more people in their social circles will learn about you. The main thing is to initially shoot what you want — if you are interested in love stories, you should not photograph the handmade soap that your friend makes, because clients will come to what you have in your portfolio.
Gradually, word of mouth begins to work — this is when your past clients recommend you to other people. To do this, you need to think about the quality of the picture, and about good service, respectful communication with the client — you will not be recommended if you work on the principle of “got the money and that’s it.”
In addition, it has been proven that old customers are more reliable than new ones, it is easier to attract them, to persuade them to use your services — try to keep people.
- Freelance sites, job exchanges and job search aggregators
There you can find customers, including for remote work. On these sites, as a rule, your personal rating and reviews are important. Be prepared that at the beginning you will have to make a certain number of orders for the minimum cost, by barter or even for free, in order to get the first rating points. This is suitable for food photographers, subjects, those who take off clothes.
A great option for wedding photographers is to partner with wedding planning agencies. In addition, there are catalog sites where you can upload your portfolio and leave contacts.
A personal website is a great way to present yourself and store your portfolio. It can also be used to create educational content there that can be clicked through search engines. The easiest way is to use free website builders. The goal is to cover as many venues as possible and be present everywhere.