What do you need to succeed as a photographer? A better camera? More equipment? More clients?

Every photographer has a different answer because every photographer is at a different point of the business game. A photographer with a brand new studio will answer differently than a photographer with 30 years of business experience.

Yet there are certain things every photographer needs in order to make it as a successful photographer. It goes beyond the equipment or the experience.

When we were first starting your photography business, we met an incredible artist. Our friend had amazing ideas, and his images had true genius written all over them. Yet he was an artist through and through. He held a small space on Main Street, and only sold his work (at way too low of a price) to people that walked through his door. Or came to him through referral based on his reputation. He survived, but never thrived. Today he is working other jobs around his photography in order to survive.

I see and hear stories like that all the time. They don’t fail because of talent; they fail because of lack of business experience. They fail because of lack of marketing and sales skills. A mediocre photographer with great sales and marketing skills will always do better than an outstanding photographer with few skills.

As a photographer, what do you need to succeed in 2011?

Blogging

Want to know the best tool available to you today? Yep, it’s a blog. Websites are a thing of the past because of limitations they have. They are created using a hodgepodge of coding that simply isn’t attracting the attention of Google. They rely on programming knowledge, which means the average person needs help to make changes and additions.  And they allow you to stay active in the social media arena. Traditional marketing is dead – if you aren’t using social in today’s world, you are missing out on huge opportunity.

Facebook

What’s the number one search engine? Google. What’s number two? Facebook

Surprising? With over 500 million people using Facebook on a regular basis, its definitely the place to be. Yet most people head on and “friend” the people they know, and wonder why they can’t survive in business. Or worse, they sign up incorrectly as a business, risk being kicked off the Facebook system, and approach it with traditional marketing ideas. If you approach it with old-world marketing strategies, you’ll fail quicker than ever. One of the keys to Facebook is the power of like. It has the potential of bringing in more traffic than you’ve ever thought possible.

Twitter

What’s for lunch? If you think that’s all there is to Twitter, you’re losing out on potential. Twitter has the capability of running contests, gaining interest and creating expertise. It can drive traffic anywhere you choose, and connect all your other social media tools together. And it can bring in sales.

YouTube

How many times do you watch YouTube videos each month? Probably more than you imagine. If you want to do something in Lightroom, find a video and watch how to do it. If you want to see your favorite band, their videos are right there. Looking for new talent? There are amazing things to discover. Or even if you have a simple question like “how do I unclog my drain?”, yep, YouTube has it. Which makes it one of the most powerful search engines online for the “how to” world. If you have a question, YouTube won’t just answer it, it will show you how to do it.

The System

Even reading this post, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. How do you take all of this new technology and put it to use? That’s where most people head in the wrong direction. They head to Facebook an hour a day just to keep track of what’s happening with friends – they don’t go with a purpose of building a business. Or they open a Twitter account with no clue as to how to work it – so it sits there and does nothing for your photography business.

The only way to make anything succeed is to build a system around it. Systems work. People fail.

I just created a brand new ebook – The Roadmap To Winning The Social Game – and it will help you see how social is impacting our lives. I’ve also included three free videos for you to watch to better explain social media. This ebook and videos have all been developed after countless hours of research and conversations I’ve had with people from around the world.  I teach regularly on social media. I know what works and what doesn’t. And while this technology is still knew enough to have a wide array of approaches, I’m going to share what’s working for me, and has doubled my business over the past few months.

I’d love to hear what you think – leave a comment below.

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