We talk to a lot of photographers, and lately, we keep hearing the same concern again and again: Social media burnout.
Social media is becoming an increasingly challenging landscape to navigate, and photographers are feeling the burn. 🔥
And these feelings are completely valid and understandable.
With so much content to compete with, changing algorithms and trends, and new platforms popping up every year, using social media to market your photography business might not feel like it used to. Especially on platforms like Instagram—a really popular one for photographers—where growing a following and engaging your audience is harder than ever.
So if you feel like:
😰 you’re not able to keep up with the growing and changing demands of social media,
😵 you don’t know how to use social media to nurture your business,
🥱 you are burnt out of coming up with ideas for what to post on social media,
😓 social media feels like it’s taking up too much of your time and energy…
…you’re not alone, friend. We can assure you of that. In fact, what you’re feeling is extremely common.
And we’re here to tell you that there’s hope!
We aren’t saying you should ditch social media altogether because it can still be a great space to show up and promote your photography business.
But we are saying there are mindset shifts and tactics you can try to help you find the joy in social media marketing without feeling like you’re failing your business.
In the end, we’d say it comes down to two main things: Being strategic and doing what feels good. So let’s talk about how to do that.
How to avoid social media burnout as a photographer
Here are some ways to avoid social media burnout as a photographer and actually feel excited about marketing your business. 🤘
1. Don’t make coming up with social media post and caption ideas harder than it has to be
A more specific grievance we often hear is how hard it can be to come up with new ideas for social media posts and captions all the time. We feel you.
Here are some of our go-to tips for how to find social media caption and post ideas:
- Repurpose content you‘ve already shared elsewhere. If you have a blog, for example, take helpful tidbits from your blog and use it in your posts, Reels, TikToks, captions, etc.
- Check out what other people are sharing. We’re not saying you should copy them, but sometimes just scrolling through a few posts or Reels can inspire an idea of your own. The next time you find yourself endlessly scrolling for no reason, change your mindset and scroll with the intention of getting inspired.
- Ask yourself what your audience wants to hear. What intrigues them? What are their burning questions? What do they like to see?
- Check your analytics to see what has been performing well. Share more of that type of content, as long as it resonates with you.
- Use AI as a brainstorm buddy. AI tools like ChatGPT can be a great way to come up with ideas, just make sure you’re adding a personal touch to anything you share.
- Be yourself! We’ll dive more into this later, but we’re serious here. What makes you unique? What interesting perspectives do you have to share? Remember, it’s not about making everyone happy—it’s about connecting with the right audience for you.
- Try using social media prompts for photographers. If you’re really stuck, there’s no shame in using prompts! You can find our Instagram prompts for photographers here.
2. Schedule your social media posts ahead of time
If you’re not batch scheduling your social media posts ahead of time yet, you’re in for a real treat!
Dedicating one or two sessions per month to creating and scheduling content will save you a buttload of time and energy.
Not only do you not have to be constantly on top of posting, but you can really get into the creative zone and that’s often where the best ideas come from.
Depending on where you’re posting, we recommend using scheduling tools like Later, Planoly, Hootsuite, or Meta Business Suite.
3. Don’t live to appease the algorithm—focus on what feels right
While it’s good to have an idea of what the social media algorithms are up to, you don’t have to live and die by it.
That’s right. We’re giving you permission to create content without worrying so dang much about how well it will perform. Just be your effing self!
Remember when posting on social media used to be fun? It was for some of us, at least! Try to find that joy again. What do you actually enjoy sharing? What do you have to give to others? What makes you feel good? How do you connect?
Instead of viewing it as a marketing mountain to climb, try looking at social media as an opportunity to share who you are with others and connect with the people who are naturally drawn to you. Which brings us to our next point.
4. Focus on creating connections instead of on vanity metrics
It’s so easy to get caught up in vanity metrics on social media—that is, what the numbers are saying. How many followers do I have? How many likes did that post get?
And, when those numbers don’t feel high enough, it can be a fast-track to social media burnout.
Instead, come back to the real goal here. Was it to have a huge following and get tons of likes? What does that really help you achieve?
For most photographers, the purpose of social media is ultimately to attract potential clients and book more (and better) gigs.
And what’s the best way to do that?
By using social media as a space to create authentic connections that benefit your business.
So instead of worrying about how many likes you got, focus on engaging with the people who are already cheering you on. Network with other vendors and businesses that you want to connect with. Go cheer someone else on and make their day. Start a conversation about something that matters to you. You’ve got this.
5. Stop trying to please everyone
Let’s be honest, your services don’t appeal to everyone.
Even out of those looking for a photographer in your specific genre and area, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. If that were the case, we would be living in a pretty boring world.
So instead of trying to appeal to everyone (an impossible task), use social media to engage with your people. The people who love what you do. Who just jive with your vibe. Don’t hold back, go all-out with what makes you you and watch the real connections grow.
But what if people find you annoying? Honestly, some probably will. They might even unfollow you. But as long as you’re being real, that just means they’re not your people. And for each person who unfollows you for being “too yourself”, another person is feeling more connected to you than ever. Focus on that person instead.
6. Try different social media platforms to promote your photography biz
If you don’t mind using social media but you’ve been posting on Instagram non-stop and feeling frustrated with the results (or lack thereof), why not take a different platform out for a spin?
We don’t recommend spreading yourself too thin by using every social media platform on the web, but if you’re curious about one, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
For example, if you enjoy making video content, TikTok might be a great platform for you. If you prefer sharing links to blogs and articles or your own thought-leadership content, LinkedIn is less saturated and can be a great place to grow (especially if you offer B2B services or you want to connect with other businesses).
7. Use different types of marketing
Now we’re getting into some slightly more technical stuff. Because having the right processes and strategies in place is going to make your life so much easier.
Diversifying your marketing efforts is something we recommend to every photographer.
Why? Because if you’re relying solely on social media to advertise your photography business, that’s a heck of a lot of pressure to put on one thing.
What if your Instagram account was deactivated tomorrow? Obviously, we don’t want that to happen—but the truth is, it does happen. And it sucks big time no matter what, but if social media is the only place you promote your business, it can feel earth shattering. Kaboooom!
Social media is rented media. You don’t own it. You don’t have much control over it. You can decide what to post, but you don’t really get to decide who sees it or what might happen to it in the future.
Making sure you’re using several different marketing tactics—including some owned media tactics like a website, SEO, blog, and email list—offers some serious reassurance here. Plus, taking a more holistic approach to your marketing is going to help your business grow the way you want it to.
On the topic of burnout, using more than just social media to market your business helps take some of that pressure off. It means that it’s not the end of the world if you need to take a social media break for a few days.
Here are some ideas for ways to market your photography business that aren’t social media:
- Have a great website that incorporates SEO (search engine optimization)
- Write photography blogs (bonus points if you implement SEO for photographers)
- Create an email list and send newsletters (we love using Flodesk)
- Use Pinterest (Pinterest is actually a search engine, not a social media platform!)
- Optimize and update your Google Business Profile regularly
- Create photo submissions for other platforms and publications
We really can’t stress this point enough. It varies for each photographer, but if you’re not sure where to start, we recommend starting with making sure you have a kickass website and then creating photography blogs to help you attract your dream clients.
PS: You can learn how to create your own marketing strategy and implement any and all of the above tactics in the Pepper U Marketing Membership.
8. Focus on the marketing tactics you actually enjoy
Once you figure out which marketing tactics you want to use to promote your photography business, focus on the ones you actually enjoy!
If you decide that you love sharing newsletters but you can’t stand posting on social media, that’s okay. Spend more time building and engaging your email list, and create a plan to still keep a presence on social media without letting it take up too much energy. Find ways to move your most engaged people on social media over to your email list.
If you still have a love affair with Instagram but TikTok just doesn’t do it for you, that’s okay. Pepper’s CEO, Stacey, felt that way!
If you actually enjoy posting on social media but you just don’t have as much time for it as you’d like, that’s okay. What else can you give up? Is there something you can scrap from your days?
Or maybe it’s time to look at outsourcing.
9. Outsource the photography marketing tasks you don’t want to tackle
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Especially as an entrepreneur.
Photographers wear so many freaking hats—and we’re not talking about the wide-brimmed beauties that wedding and elopement photographers have become famous for. 👒
On top of actually taking and editing photos (which can be hella time consuming on its own), you also handle business admin, client care and communications, accounting, marketing—sometimes, it’s just too much.
Outsourcing social media can be tough because as a photographer, you really want it to feel like you. You want to be able to connect with your audience in a genuine way.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Or, you can outsource other stuff to free up more of your time and prevent burnout.
For example, if you’re interested in learning more about outsourcing blogging for photographers, check out the Pepper Blog Generator!
Take a deep breath
We know times are tough for many photographers right now. We know your time and energy are limited and valuable resources. And we want you to know you’re not alone and that someone has your back.
The Peppers are always here for you. Whether you want to connect with us on Instagram or TikTok, get some free tips from our newsletter, join our supportive marketing membership, or outsource some stuff to the pros—we’re here to help.
Shoot us a message and let us know what you could really use help with in your business! 🖤 We would love to chat.