Hate it, ignore it or embrace it, you know it's there.... Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, Twitter and this blog you're reading now, plus thousands of other blogs continually trying to get in to our heads (and mobiles).

I spoke to a photographer a few weeks ago (yes I really did) and we were talking about where we get our work, now I don't know him that well so it was a short polite conversation and his response to me was that he gets all his work on social media and Facebook in particular. The conversation didn't go any further but I was interested in what he said so I looked him up on Facebook but couldn't see what he was doing to justify getting his all his wedding bookings through social media.

We're constantly being told by 'experts' we should be hash tagging, liking, sharing, blogging etc etc. Now if you do find the time to do all of that are you actually getting any real work from it, real bookings, work that you're getting paid for? Or are you measuring your success on the number of 'likes' and 'shares' of your posts?

With all the different social media platforms one question I have is finding out what the most valuable advertising platform for photographers and videographers is. Is it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a magazine advert or our website?

I'm not a big social media fan, I like some privacy, I don't have anything to hide but I don't feel the need to tell people what I'm having for breakfast, which restaurant I'm eating in or what a great time I'm having on a night out. So for starters I don't have any social media platform on my phone, I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for my business but only access these on a computer (apart from Instagram which one of my work colleagues updates on his phone).  

However the more I look at Facebook the more photographers I keep seeing and 'groups' that keep forming.  I recently joined a wedding networking group and wow.. I really wish I hadn't. The posts from other members were relentless, they were organising networking meetings, coffee mornings, wedding shows etc etc all in the hope that they would recommend one another.

So I looked at the group page last night after having ignored it for several weeks and they'd just had a network meeting and everyone was on a real high after such a great evening. Now I'd like to know if I've got it all wrong....am I missing something?...are these groups resulting in lots of bookings? Are bride and grooms queuing up to book these suppliers?

So I ask myself if I'm out of touch? Should I be joining, sharing, networking with these other suppliers?  I admit I have picked work up from Facebook, nowhere near enough to justify the amount of time I've spent on it but one or two enquiries have led to actual bookings.

Most of my weekends are full this year with weddings, my team and I have enough to cope with and numbers are looking good for next year so everything is ok isn't it? Particularly as it's been the same for the last 20 years; we're an established business.

But the market is changing, methods are changing, new ideas are constantly evolving and my wedding business has managed to keep up for over 20 years because we have constantly evolved. I do however feel that social media, advertising and therefore buying methods are changing; we're going through the biggest change as a business than ever before and we have to keep ourselves relevant.

Fake News can be related to anything, not just current affairs. Photographers blatantly embellish....actually lets use the right word here, LIE about what they're doing, how busy they are, how great they are. It's misleading and there's not a lot we can do about it. 

So do we play the social media game? The answer is a big yes, we most definitely need to be. We just need to use it effectively, sparingly and in the right way. Be honest, don't embellish, don't say you're busy when you're not and it's best to post useful information that you think may be of interest to someone out there.

When you reach 500, 1000, 10,000 likes, there's no need to say 'how humbled and proud you are to have reached 500 likes'; Apple don't do it, neither do Nike, Tiffany or any other we'll known companies; if they did then may be we should be. But really, nobody cares if you've reached 2000 likes, or do they? Are there celebration parties and drinks when you reach 1500 likes?

For me the strongest form of advertising is the main website; when I look to buy a product or service I always type what I'm looking for in Google and then look at websites. If on the website there is a Facebook link I will usually click on it to take a look and what I'm looking for is how active the company are and that's where social media is vital for us, it's showing potential customers we are out there, alive and kicking and relevant. If you're last social media post was over 6 months ago you may well lose new customers.

So from that point of view social media is important; it shows that you are open for business.

I'd be really interested to hear from other photographers and videographers on their thoughts, you may have the opposite view from me and pick up endless amounts of paid work from social media. If it works for you then I and countless other photographers want to know how?!

The final quote comes from a colleague of mine; Expert Retouching Master Rob Boud; "Nothing says dead business more than a dead Facebook page."