Getting social: A freelancer's tips

Getting social: A freelancer's tips
Thursday, 07 August 2014 Written by Max Riley

Social media has transformed the way freelancers promote themselves and operate. We sat down with freelance photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind to talk about how she uses social media and the impact it has had on her work.

Anastasia's work has appeared in the Telegraph and National Geographic amongst many other publications. She is a member of VII photo agency, and has an active presence on social media, with over 56,000 followers on Instagram. Here's her top tips are for getting the most out of social media as a freelancer.

Use it to promote yourself and keep in touch with potential clients

Social media is very effective for promoting your work to commissioning editors, perhaps more so now than websites. “It allows you to network and interact with a community of peers”, says Anastasia, “and can update potential clients about your whereabouts. If you’re tweeting that you are working in a country, it’s likely that other editors will see that you’re there and could commission you for more work.”

Sites like Facebook and Twitter can also help you build your audience and reach more people who are interested in your work. However, be careful about making your feeds too self-promotional - otherwise people may be less inclined to follow you. Connect with other journalists, promote your colleagues work and share things that interest you to make sure your social media presence is varied.

Find help with the practicalities of your work

Facebook and Twitter are not only useful for promoting your work, they can also help you with the logistics of organising a project. Anastasia uses the network she has built up on social media to help her plan her reporting trips, find fixers, ask for travel advice and connect with other journalists travelling to the region. If you're just starting out as a freelancer, then joining media logistics groups can help you build up these networks.
 

Add an extra dimension to your work

Anastasia uses Instagram and Facebook to share the processes she undergoes whilst at work (e.g. behind the scenes shots, diary-style content). This adds something different that people are genuinely interested in, and also generates interest in your work once the final version has been published. Treat your social media feeds different to an editorial platform, and show a bit of your personality through them. 
 
 


Not just a marketing tool, but a creative tool

"For photographers, Instagram can be a good way to experiment with your craft", says Anastasia. "It's a good way to get feedback and responses to your work". She acknowledges that it has changed the way she takes photos. 

Organising your pictures around themes can be a good way to develop ideas at the same time as gaining followers. It gives your feeds structure, and allows you to tell stories. There are a number of high-profile photojournalists who do this on Instagram, including David Gutenfelder and Ashley Gilbertson

However, keep in mind that the most 'likes' you get isn't necessarily representative of the quality of your work. There are types of posts that people respond to more than others on social media, and often it is more dependent on what your posting about and the hashtags you're using than the actual content itself.

Here are Anastasia's top feeds to follow on Instagram:

Journalists:
 
Group projects:

How do you use social media in your work?

This post will be followed by others around the theme of "Marketing Yourself" for an upcoming resource the Trust is developing. We want your feedback, ideas and comments. How do you market your work? What would you like to know more about on the topic. Comment below, or contact us here.

Image: Anastasia at an exhibition of her latest project 'Maiden: Portraits from Black Square' (Instagram screenshot)

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