The whole subject of how to get followers and people liking our work seems to be a common question us new people have.
We are routinely told to make sure our keywords are appropriate, upload more images, and make sure of the quality of this images and those things make a lot of sense, but I don't think it explains it entirely. I have pretty good keywords and my photos are decent, but I am not attracting followers. I don't have most of my work online yet, but the people I've met (beyond my few kind followers) and who've seen my work don't seem interested in following me to see more.
I'm a little curious about why this is... I suspect there is more to it than having appropriate keywords. The people whose work I comment on, or whom I follow can find me without the use of keywords, but so far there doesn't seem to be a culture of reciprocation.
I know I need to upload more photos and drive people to my site through other means, but in the meantime, I wonder why most people whom I've met on here don't seem largely indifferent...
I'm used to the community over on Flickr and have lots of followers over there, and have made wonderful friends. We always comment on one another's photos and I look forward to seeing their new stuff. They seem to also look forward to seeing my new stuff and we always have a few seconds to type a comment to one another.
I don't follow everyone on Flickr who follows me, but I always have a look and as long as they aren't collecting followers and posting 100's of images, I usually reciprocate. I'm community minded that way. I try to take a little time to comment and fav photos and my followers do the same. I'm well received over there by some very talented photographers whose work I have a tremendous amount of respect for, so I'm not sure what it is I'm missing here. Is it just that there is too much photography? Or that what I'm shooting is too generic and uninteresting?
I have found people friendly and helpful on the forums, but for the most part, beyond that it feels very much more arm's reach than I'm used to. A couple of people have commented on my photos and I have a few followers, but I'm wondering if people here are too busy and focused on their own work to be bothered much with others... I wonder if when you add money to the equation, it changes everything. For example here the culture here seems to be more about promoting while over there it's more about sharing...
By far most people are here to sell. On Flickr a larger amount are there for social aspects. Although I like your work a lot, I just don't have time to comment and favorite others work. It's not a productive use of time.
There are groups you can join here that will do that as a requirement of being a member of the group.
That said, the big difference is this is a sales site and if I commented on and followed everyone following or commenting on me it would be a full time job. That is fine if it leads to sales BUT it generally doesn't. I appreciate every comment but the reality is that I simply do not have the time to recipricate.
Looks like you answered most of your own questions.
Flickr is an image sharing site. FAA is an image selling site. We're each busy operating our own storefronts -- just as we would with real-world brick and mortar businesses. Taking time away from that to socialize, vote, comment, etc. is a luxury -- one we don't always have time and/or attention for.
All of those things will increase with time; you'll pick up both friends and fans here, and your comments, votes, faves, etc., will rise accordingly.
Hang in there! :-)
As for keywords --- keywords have nothing to do with the social interaction of FAA members. (Other than the amazing number of discussion threads about them!) They're for visitors (potential buyers!). That person who might come in search of an 'oak tree' or something 'red' or a 'rusty tractor'.
That's why there's so much emphasis put on keywords; that's how buyers find us -- not how we find each other.
realize you've only been here for a month. people that follow you here, probably won't buy your work. and i'm not sure if it helps you in the search anyway. commenting on other people's work won't help you much, and you'll be stuck in a loop. commenting because they did, and so on. followers in general have to like your work because your stuff will show in their activity screen. so there should be something special about your work that will make people want to follow you. i'm guessing on flickr, people like things like they do on facebook. and to be fair, your not following that many people yourself.
I used to be on Flickr and was really into the community aspect of it. I posted regularly and commented frequently. My photography was also well received so it was very encouraging and good for the ego, but I don't care about that anymore. I made some friends over there along the way. I stopped posting over a year ago though. It's nice to share and sometimes I miss the community, but this is how I earn a living and I need to focus my attention on how to accomplish that. These days I feel completely swamped with all the things that are necessary to further my career. I feel a little like a hamster on a wheel when it comes to keeping up with social media. I often will drop in and comment on somebody's work when I happen to notice it (as I have with yours) but I really don't want to feel obligated like over on Flickr where the expectation is that if you comment on somebody's work, they should reciprocate.
I follow a handful of people, mostly if their work is fairly different from mine. I didn't even realize I could check a list to see who was following me until just now.
I dislike Flickr. I guess I'm not a social gabber. I got few comments there, found the groups cliquish, and didn't think my images were protected enough. Besides, as others have mentioned, no sale opportunities there, so a waste of valuable time.
I emphasize keywords, titles, descriptions, cross-links, and blogging. I promote like crazy on other websites, Facebook, Twitter, and even through local business networking. I enter local competitions and belong to photography and art groups.
I comment here on images I really do like, but it is not a high priority time-wise. When I am here, I look. When I vote in a contest, I look. But if I spend 1 hour a day at that, it is too much. :)
Well, my experience with Flickr is opposite to John, I joined flicker since 2005 and had many followers some comment on my works almost daily. I even meet some in person and became friends. So far, I sold original paintings ( more than here), had my images used as Toronto City hall Christmas card, magazines layout, government report and been offered gallery exhibitions. All from people searching on flickr. As today, I had almost 1.6 million views on flickr.
Because of Flickr, I also had some of my images go viral on the internet and used without my permission on countless sites. I'm talking hundreds of sites per image. The first time it happened, the photograph was picked up by Reddit. There are two versions of it on my Flickr site (because of Getty, it's a long story) ... one version has over 135,000 views and the other has over 4,000 views. My personal experience has been that number of views doesn't necessarily equal sales. I'm not sure how you find out your total number of views there.
I made some sales through Flickr but overall I think that people helping themselves was too much of a problem. We're not even allowed to advertise ourselves there so I think that's pretty screwy too.
I find it hard to keep up with more than two or maybe three communities at once, virtual or real life. You can find some good communities on Flicker around specific cameras or a technique, like "one studio light setups". But who has the time do all of this on a regular basis.
Peggy, when you sign in on flickr at the top banner click on "you" which shows a list of options if you, then click on stats will show your total views.
I actually think not allowed to advertise on flickr helped me because many art directors would search on flickr to look for images not found on photo agencies. I sold an image to an ad agency in Holland for an ad because of it.
Just had a look, Alfred...I don't see the Stats info on my account. Maybe because I don't pay for my account anymore? Do you pay for yours? I only see stats on my recent activity, which shows total views if a picture has been viewed since I last signed in. I used to be able to get more info when I was a paying customer but I let that lapse when they provided a free site if you had ads on it.
Here people are on the site to sell and make money much more so than on Flickr. Here you have a mall with a coffee shop attached (the forum). On Flickr you have a giant coffee shop with a shop down the street.
About the time thing, I guess for me, if I have time to spend an hour on the discussion forum, it costs me little in terms of time or effort to spend 30 seconds to help someone else out. As much as Iím able that is... If I make 2 or three comments a day, that takes less than five minutes and it gives someone else the recognition for their hard work that they deserve.
@ Mike: ďi'm guessing on flickr, people like things like they do on facebookĒ
I would disagree with that Mike... About 80-90 % of the people I follow because their work is excellent. There are some that I follow because they are following me and I feel obligated, but it doesnít hurt anything to follow them too.
Itís not about two people with snapshots commenting on one anotherís photos to make each other feel better. Most of the people I follow are very good. Better in fact than most of the stuff I see here. I have one person I follow who I think is the best landscape photographer I have ever seen. His images blow mine (and anyone elseís Iíve seen) away. When I get a comment from him on one of my images it means a lot.
I hear what you are saying John, as a lot of others have said about marketing outside of FAA. I'm not sure in what order to do things. I'm sidetracked by a painting I'm working on now, but I need to upload more photos, process more to upload, re-vamp my facebook page, learn more about Twitter and so on. It's a little overwhelming and it's hard to prioritize. I was also doing a Photodeck trial and considering building a website with them, but that's another monthly fee and I'm worried I won't have the time to put in and that it might be a waste of money.
I hear what you are saying about time and trying to keep up Peggy and Edward... I have not been on Flickr since I joined here and will probably leave. The only potential I've had over there for income was with Getty and I wasn't interested in that at the time...
Alfred I think it's fantastic that you made sales from your flickr site. Your work is gorgeous!
I like the analogy of the mall/coffee shop Adam :-)
Keywords etc will get your images found, but I doubt it will get you more followers. Simply because I don't think other FAA members are finding other peoples art that way. I think it's more a case of you leaving a comment on a piece, which in turn will get you a possible return visit, and maybe a like or a follow. Personally I've only followed a few people here, and their work has to really inspire me to do so. I usually won't give a courtesy follow just because someone has followed me either. Unless as I mentioned, the work is outstanding.
Lisa, I know exactly what you're talking about and have asked myself the same questions. I am a Flickr junky and have found what is popular over there and makes Explore does not sell here, generally speaking. Favorites on Flickr are different than Favorites on FAA. Yes, Keywords get you found by search, but commenting on others work also moves you up the search as well. When you follow sincerely the artist here on FAA that you admire and consistently comment on their work, eventually they will see the repetition and comment on your work ... it takes time. Learn more at my discussion thread here: http://pixels.com/showmessages.php?messageid=1723341
Hello Lisa, My two cents worth is to suggest that you redo your Bio . . . Your personal FAA website is viewed by the public not just the FAA community. Think Public & Marketing to obtain Saleswhen you create your Bio. If you present yourself as a hobbist (which is o.k) folks will stop by to see your work and most likely won't buy. Check out the Bio's of other FAA members to get some ideas. Please keep keep in mind the FAA is Print on Demand service where you must take responsibility for marketing your work to get sales. You may also want to set up your a separate website that you own the domain name and have sites like FAA feed to and from that site. Just my two cents . . . best wishes Joseph
There I have links to my other photography sites and I do see people from there visiting my other sites. So, I do think it is worth the effort to use Flicker.
As far as promotions here on FAA...I am not quite sure it is worth all the work? I do it to some extent, as I enjoy seeing what other people are doing and seeing their works. Is it worth it? I really don't know yet.