Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

Social Media Monitoring for Photographers

With the growing popularity of online social networking / chatter / media whatever you want to call it, information has never been more readily available for photographers. If you want to know what any particular demographic is looking for or talking about then there are software applications out there that help you do this research. For a marketer this is information that companies paid millions in research for in the past. For you and I, the small business owner, it costs nothing.

Take Twitter for example, which is characterized by it’s fast-paced speed of updates. Mainstream news outlets like broadcast news, newspapers and the radio aren’t even the first to break stories these days. Often times the story has spread virally via Twitter before any mainstream media outlets catch wind of it. Now imagine being able to listen in on any subject of discussion on the Internet like Superman. You don’t need a stock agency wants list anymore. Those will be outdated by the time they are published. The information is already out there for the taking. Experienced photographers should be able to gather a lot of useful information from adopting these new methods if they embrace the technology. Be creative. Think creatively.

There are applications out there such as TweetDeck that allow you to not only interact with your friends on Twitter, but you can customize searches around specific terms and see what people on Twitter are talking about in real-time. Keep one column active for the search term “stock photography” and it is fairly obvious that many people (especially photographers) out there are woefully uninformed about the photo licensing industry. Even more telling is the amount of people who expect to find great photography for little to no money. If you can stomach this type of dialogue for long enough you will also find gems in there such as a photo buyer who tweets about having difficulties while looking for a specific image. Maybe you are that person who can help them out. Be sure to know what you are talking about though. Know the value of your work to the end user. If you have the right image at the right time then the buyer should be willing to pay what’s necessary for it. A twist on the old saying, you get paid only what you ask for.

TweetDeck Social Monitoring Example

TweetDeck Social Monitoring Example

Market research is just one of the many other uses for social media monitoring which includes PR activities such as reputation management but that is a huge topic all on its own.

Updated 5/11/09: As requested, here are some other apps you might want to try for social media monitoring –



April 30, 2009 - Posted by | Marketing, stock photography, Technology, Web | , , , ,


  1. Using Twitter (really, Twitter search) and Tweetdeck is only scratching the surface of how photographers can monitor and listen for opportunities popping up in social media; there are many, many more tools out there available for free that will allow people to refine their searches much better.

    Comment by Taylor Davidson | May 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. That is true but TweetDeck is the most popular Twitter app and fairly easy to use for someone that might be dipping their toes into this sort of thing for the first time.

    Comment by Richard Wong | May 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. Do Tell Taylor – rather than dissing on this post perhaps you could opine further and actually share with us what those additional tools are?

    Comment by Scott Bourne | May 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hi Scott. Yes, Tweet Deck was an example that I put out there rather than going through a laundry list of software that changes on a weekly basis. If anyone has better suggestions then by all means add it into the comments but saying that TweetDeck isn’t as comprehensive as others doesn’t help anyone if no specific examples are offered.

    Comment by Richard Wong | May 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. How about a list of useful links to some of the best tools?

    Comment by Greg Bumatay | May 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Greg. I have added a few more sites onto the post.

      Comment by Richard Wong | May 11, 2009 | Reply

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