A solid stock portfolio can be a gateway to new opportunities. Try these nine tips Shutterstock Contributors can use to power up their LinkedIn profile.
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We’ve covered the importance of SEO in your photography website, but did you know that LinkedIn pages consistently rank high in organic searches? Not only is LinkedIn frequently rated among the top five most important social networks in existence, but it’s also the number one in the world when it comes to lead generation ( 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter). With more than 550 million members, this platform can be a photographer’s best friend, if you use it correctly.
A dynamic web presence is a necessity for any creative person, but especially for people working in stock. While a conventional resume doesn’t give you the space to showcase your images and videos, your LinkedIn profile can serve as a window into your portfolio. Get the word out, and you could see a spike in sales. Here are just a few ways to use the site to your advantage and let all your colleagues and clients know that you’re a Shutterstock contributor.
Step 1: Write a Headline
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Your headline and summary are the first things anyone will read when they visit your LinkedIn page, so make them count. Put your credentials front and center by mentioning them here. An example of a clear and attention-grabbing headline could be something like “Stock photographer with 5 years of experience in the editorial field.”
Talk about your work as a professional photographer, videographer or illustrator, with a reference to creating stock as something you do within that role. For example, include “Freelance Shutterstock Contributor” on your LinkedIn and talk about the different types of content you can find on your Shutterstock portfolio.
Step 2: Complete Your Summary
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Before you get started on your summary, you might think about putting together a list of keywords. Put yourself in the mind of your ideal buyer and come up with some potential phrases they’d search when looking for stock imagery. Then incorporate them naturally into your summary, preferably close to the beginning, since Google will only preview about 156 characters .
In addition to touching on their skills, experience, and qualifications, many users will add in a bit about their career goals. Feel free to mention your aspirations in the stock industry. Taking the time to do so will show people you’re serious about learning and growing in your field. The summary is the perfect spot to include a general link to your main Shutterstock portfolio, advising people that they can view your independent photography work on the Shutterstock platform.
An example of what you could write: “I am a freelance photographer, who specializes in creating stock content. You can find my work on stock photography sites, including my portfolio at Shutterstock. Here is the link: [insert link].”
The summary is the perfect spot to include a general link to your main Shutterstock portfolio. As an extra step, customize your LinkedIn URL so it’s easy to share elsewhere. Aside from the headline and summary, make sure to fill out every section, and keep an eye on your Profile Strength Meter.
Step 3: Add Images
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Did you know that photographers, in general, have among the worst profile photos of any profession? Yikes. Never underestimate the importance of your profile picture and your background photo. The former should be a nice, professional-looking headshot, but you can have a little bit more fun with the background. Alex Rynne of LinkedIn suggests using this space to show off “miniature portfolios” or similar visuals. Create a montage of your best Shutterstock images, or focus on one single impactful photo. Feel free to switch it up from time to time to see what works best for you.
Step 4: Incorporate Rich Media
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Include photos, video, and other media in every section you can. These elements will help your profile pop off the screen and put you ahead of the competition. In fact, LinkedIn posts with images tend to generate 98% more comments than those that have none.
Of course, don’t forget to include links to your Shutterstock sets so everyone can see your work for themselves. If you’re not comfortable adding high-resolution images to your profile, feel free to use the watermarked versions you’ll find on Shutterstock.
The “Publications” section can be especially useful since it’s an ideal spot to show off where your work has appeared. If your images have been used in articles (especially for the Shutterstock blog), show off those web pages. If you gave a presentation about your photos, make sure it’s in there as well. See one of your photos in an advertisement? Plug it in there too, or add it to “Accomplishments.”
Step 5: Make Connections
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Follow people you admire, whether they’re editors, image-buyers, agents, curators, or fellow photographers. Once you’ve connected with the people in your immediate circle, it’s okay to ask them to introduce you to a wider network. That’s what LinkedIn is all about. Periodically check in with the “People you may know” list to see if there’s a new opportunity for a great contact, and use the Advanced Search option to find individuals who could offer you an extra boost.
This might go without saying, but most experts recommend connecting via LinkedIn immediately after you meet someone in person. If you’re at a Shutterstock event, make sure to get business cards, and then look people up on LinkedIn right away.
Pro Tip: Another great way to use your Shutterstock portfolio on LinkedIn, is to use your referral link. Did you know that you can earn money by having other photographers, videographers, and illustrators sign-up to Shutterstock? Click here to learn more about the Referral Program.
You don’t have to follow everyone you connect with on LinkedIn, so we recommend being selective about who you want to see every day in your feed. Follow companies and people who inspire you and consistently post information that’s useful and relevant to your work. Use the LinkedIn mobile app Pulse for access to news and events shaping the photo world. You’ll even find some expert tips here.
Step 6: Gather Endorsements
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Don’t overlook endorsements, either, as these will help you ace the LinkedIn algorithm. Endorse the skills of your collaborators and colleagues (including fellow stock contributors), and hopefully, they’ll do the same for you. Make sure all your clients have a great experience so they’ll want to hit that button too. You can also request written recommendations for added appeal.
Step 7: Join Groups
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If you aren’t using groups , you aren’t getting the most out of LinkedIn. You can browse groups using the Search Bar on your homepage, or you can see what LinkedIn recommends by peeking in “Discover” under the “Work” icon. Look for groups that align with your specific area of expertise, whether it be portraits or travel, and feel free to join marketing groups as well to see what kinds of images are on-trend.
A few popular groups include Photography Industry Professionals , the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Forum , and The Photography Marketing and Business Network , though we encourage you to also look for groups geared more towards stock if you’re looking to showcase your portfolio. Deborah Block of Photoshelter recommends joining groups that are about the business side of photography, as that’s where you’re likeliest to find potential customers.
Even if you’re not ready to comment on the group discussions yourself, keep tabs on what others are saying. These groups can be perfect for getting a feel of what successful photographers do to make their work stand out. To make sure you’re seeing the appropriate groups for you, it helps to have an in-depth and completed profile.
Step 8: Use LinkedIn Publisher
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Publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to get your portfolio out there. You can use their publisher to showcase and link to blog posts you’ve already written (or have been written about you), and you can also start writing brand new content just for the platform. If you’ve just uploaded a stunning set of images to Shutterstock, tell us about it with a detailed blog post, or provide an article full of tips for other photographers in the industry. Once you’ve published a piece, don’t forget to share it everywhere you can.
Step 9: Stay Active
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A fantastic profile is a start but it’s not the final destination. A Successful LinkedIn page requires consistent nurturing and updating. Post regularly so you stay at the top of your followers’ feeds; if you’ve uploaded a new set of images to Shutterstock, make sure people know about it! That way, they can “like” and “share” fresh content from your portfolio with others. If you’d like to establish even more of a rapport with your followers, consider sharing some behind-the-scenes shots to tease a new project.
Additionally, marketing expert Jason Miller encourages photographers to track their engagement to see what kinds of posts and images perform best. Put some thought into who is liking and sharing your work. Do other photographers engage with your posts, or is it mostly potential clients? Once you’ve checked your metrics, adjust your approach based on your intended audience. If you’re willing to pay, you can also start a campaign to reach exactly the right people.
Keep an eye out for posts from other photographers or marketers that perform well, and think about how you can create something similar of your own. If you notice the same topic popping up again and again in your feed, tap into that. Setting aside just ten to thirty minutes per week to work on your LinkedIn could produce fantastic results.
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