This year has really been about building on last year in regards to my online presence with the use of social media. I started 2014 with possibly around 100 Twitter followers and I am now up to 420. While it's not a huge amount it's a start and I hope that it will only increase further.
The growth has really been down to interacting more with companies and associations that own or are involved with the photographs I take, for example when I visit a Nature Reserve owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust I share them and occasionally they will retweet them which generates interest around my work.
In my experience with social media is that it's a full time job. What I really need is to plan out a week's tweets ahead of time based around sharing my blog posts and schedule them to be posted automatically which should be far more effective than just posting the odd link or picture one a week.
There are tools such as Holosuite that can do them on a bulk upload which would be the ideal solution. Unfortunately these are not free and the basic unpaid version does not come with that feature. With my blogging and photography generating a very small income I am unable to justify paying £10 for a paid monthly subscription which seems to be the standard fee for most third party services.
I can of course use tweetdeck which is free but lacks any bulk uploading features, I will just have to enter them in manually for the time being.
Blogging works best when used along with social media to promote articles therefore drawing traffic into the website. Again the time issues with using social media also applies to blogging where my free time has become limited.
My idea for 2016 is to create a number of shorter articles based on a single image where I talk on what caught my eye and any stories behind taking the image along with the technical information for other photographers to learn from. Once I have a format created for these I should be able to write a few in one session that can be published and shared over the following week using social media to promote them.
I know from the camera club that the most interesting talks from visiting speakers are not necessarily their images but more of their story behind them and that is what I want to include with these articles.
This year I have launched my online store using Etsy which has been an interesting and time consuming experience. Over the 6 or so months I have redone the listings a couple of times and I will be doing so again over the next few weeks.
Over this Christmas break I have had the time to put together a comprehensive catalogue of images which I can manipulate for various purposes that gives me a list to work against for creating listings and what images to feature in my blog posts.
I have had some success in selling greeting cards that I have produced myself that have been in local shops which I hope to expand in 2016 now that I have tweaked the product that I can be proud of selling. At the retail price of £2.50 these are affordable and disposable which is why I think these have been selling much better than my larger prints which where I have only sold a couple of smaller 10x8.
Plans and ambitions for 2016
Despite trying on a number of occasions I still haven't seen a Swallowtail Butterflies which I intend to try again next spring.
Taking images of the night sky has been a new genre of photography which I want to continue with and capturing the Northern Light is right at the top of my wish list which can be seen along the North Norfolk Coast. Unfortunately these tend to occur at very short and often at inconvenient times.
Quite a few of my better images of 2015 were from London and I would like to visit the Capital more frequently.