Creative Director and Photographer, Keshav Chugh, shares his thoughts on social media and how has social media benefited his profession.
Social media is not rocket science but it sucks in a lot of dedicated hard work, requires patience and above all you need to respect the space of fans. Keshav has done all of that for more than a year now and results are showing in. His Facebook page: ‘Keshav Chugh Photography’ was created in the month of January 2011 and since then he has achieved more than 29,000 fans and the fans base has been growing at an average of about 3-4k fans a month. What is interesting to note is that all this growth has been purely organic.
“It’s all with my work. I never needed to invest in paid advertisements. I did use a 50$ coupon once that I got from my website hosting company for buying webspace. It did help, but not majorly.”
Keshav who has been on to social networks from the good old days of Orkut shares an interesting observation about Facebook fan growth here – “The more fans you get, the more stories it creates and hence even more fans. It’s all like a virus which spreads. Number of fans coming and visiting the page per day depends on the frequency at which I post new pictures. It’s like a chain reaction, all you need is a good starting push and catalyst (that would be the pictures)!”
Indeed Facebook is like a virus and it works only when your core objective remains intact. In the case of Keshav, it was his photography and with that intent he had decided to make a push in 2011. But the magic five figure numbers didn’t role out easily.
“Initially, it did take a lot of spamming, inviting and other ways (such as tagging photo-journal accounts), but slowly it did take off. The first thousand or two are always the most difficult. And its hard to get recognition for your work. But with time the page grew, and so did my work.”
Success tests your patience and it holds true for social media too. With time if you keep doing your work, people would definitely find it and would start talking about it, as it did for Audi and Naveen.
But success also brings responsibilities and expectation from fans. Keshav, who handles his own social media that is spread on Facebook and Twitter accepts that it is not an easy job but at the same time acknowledges that his fans are also one of the reasons of his success.
“It’s a little bit hard as I’ve to check for updates every few hours (sometimes minutes) and I get a lot of messages from the fans with queries regarding camera and equipment reviews, photo-shoot
Keshav does share a respite though in the form of apps and smart phones that have made his life easy and given him the flexibility of keeping a tab on everything. Indeed technology is a boon here but as a creative person how does he take negative comments from fans about his work. Keshav who hasn’t got lot of negative comments has no issue if his work is getting critiqued. However, he doesn’t encourage any kind of foul play on the page since his fans are quite close to his heart
“I don’t get a lot of negative comments, but if a fan wants to share his/her opinion, it’s a great thing. Getting critiqued always makes you better. I don’t accept any sort of abusive or rash language against me or any other fan. If so, the person is banned from posting. I think, my page is more of a community, for beginners to get some inspiration and help, if needed. I’ve guided many amateur photographers in improving their work and the viewership on social networks.”
A community meets its objective when fans carry the engagement forward. I am seeing it happening in Keshav’s Facebook page and Twitter too. But I couldn’t end this conversation without knowing whether social media has got him business too. Keshav doesn’t deny the fact that he gets a lot of work via social media but also adds that having a good community helps as people find it and also approach you.
“I post pictures for people to see and visualize what their products can look like. I get a lot of messages everyday from people wanting portfolio shoots/ fashion shoots and product shoots. The reason is – everyone who knows how to operate a computer is on Facebook. It’s a way to reach anyone and everyone. And people do see your work when you have such fan following. In short, it’s the best way to get business online! And it’s FREE!”
Very true Keshav social media is free but the onus is on us how we use it and I am aware that by now you have got the crux of social media. Good luck from our side Keshav!
And if you are inspired by Keshav’s social media presence and plan to start one then he has left some words of advice for you,
1. First Impression, is the last impression. Do not start a page just for the sake of it. Start it when you have something to show to the world. Basic pictures around the park or roads don’t attract audience. So, grow as a photographer/artist first and when you know you have something unique and class apart, then show it to the public.
2. If your work is good, people will like it and come back on the page. The more they come back and create stories on their walls by liking your posts, the more audience you will get.
3. Also, give your page a slightly personal touch. I like to share my personal achievements, new equipment and other stuff with my fans. People like to be addressed, and this is what makes them more affectionate towards you and your work.
4. Love your fans, they will love you back!”
Image Courtesy: Keshav Chugh Facebook page