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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

One More Twitter Search Tip For Professional Photographers

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By Scott Bourne

In my first post about this, I shared with you the secret of using Twitter’s search tool to find prospects. The examples I gave were pretty simple. If you’re so inclined, there are more powerful things you can do with this tool. Below, you’ll find a complete list of the acceptable Twitter search operators. Use these in your search to really drill down into the Tweets to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Search Operators

You can type these search operators directly into the search box. (Alternatively, you can use the advanced search form to automatically construct your query.)

You can also use Twitter’s Advanced Search if you’re more comfortable drilling down using a form.  One of my favorites is to perform the search and check “Asking a question.” This is more likely to yield me a chance to be helpful.

The goal of these posts is simple. I want you to succeed at your photography business. I’m certain that Twitter can help you on some level. I hope this information has enlightened you as to how powerful this tool can be.

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC


Written by scottbourne

May 25, 2010 at 5:38 am

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More on Twitter as a Prospecting Tool For Professional Photographers

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By Scott Bourne

Prospecting is a lifetime job for professional photographers. You should always be on the lookout for new clients.

To extend the tip on using Twitter Search I gave last week is a short and sweet little add-on.

Perform the search and then notice: In the upper right corner of the search results page there is an option to create an RSS feed directly from the search results. You can add that feed to your favorite feedreader such as Bloglines or Newsgator and you end up with a constant stream of potential lead generation, all of it free, all of it automatic.

You also have the opportunity to search for Tweets in a specific language. Let’s say you specialize in weddings performed in the Hispanic community. Switch to “Tweets written in: Spanish.” Now, you’ll only see Spanish language Tweets.

Twitter’s search is amazing and powerful. I wish there were 10 other things this powerful that worked as well!

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

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How to Use Twitter as a Prospecting Tool

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You can use Twitter to get photography jobs. There – I said it. It’s that simple. You can. How do I know? I’ve done it. You can too. It’s just like panning for gold though. You might have to bend your knees and spend some time working at it. If you expect it to come easy, keep moving. There’s nothing for you to see here. But if you’re willing to do hard work, Twitter might just be a way that you can score lots of photography business. Here’s how.


Yep, search is the big deal for photographers who want to get business from Twitter. Yes, you can direct sell via Tweets on Twitter. I’ve done that too. But a better long-term strategy is to prospect for serious business.

Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer in Tacoma, WA. Go to – this is a website that lets you search Twitter. Now, type in:

Wedding near:98401 within:100km

NOTE: The operators that define the search must be typed in exactly as shown. The (:) follows the words near and within without a space as does the parameter (zip/postal code) and distance (km or mi in lower case letters.)

You must type in the sequence exactly as shown above. Also note the screen shot at the top of the post to see what this looks like.

If you do type in that search in real time, the results will obviously be different than when I did it, but right away you should see how this might yield a prospect. The first response comes from someone who has a question about wedding announcements. As a professional wedding photographer, you should know or be able to find the answer. Simply Tweet back a reply with the answer and you’re done. No need to say “Oh and by the way I’m a wedding photographer if you need one.” Instead, you’ll rely on the link in your profile or your properly chosen Twitter handle, i.e., TacomaWeddingShooter, etc., to get that message across. If your answer to their question is a good one, you will have earned a click on your profile, and if they still need a wedding photographer, you’ll get your portfolio looked at – i.e., you have a prospect.

See how simple that was?

You can apply this technique to many kinds of photography in any area of North America. Simply type in the subject that you find relevant to the type of photography you want to do and the postal or zip code along with a geographic limit – such as 100KM, depending on how far out you want to reach, and you’re done.

Here’s another example. If you want to photograph events such as little league soccer, find out the name of the league (or a local team if you really want to drill down,) and make that the subject of your search, narrow the geo area to 20KM and type…

soccer near:98401 within:20km

You’ll get all sorts of real-time results. Mine those results and see if there isn’t a way you can find out how to connect with some of the folks on Twitter who are talking about little league soccer in your area. These are your prospects. And you found them for free. If you can find a creative way to reach out to them; say in the case of the soccer team, you built a free newsletter or blog of interest to local soccer players, populated with your soccer photos of course – you should be able to generate some interest for your soccer photo business.

This post is intended to be both instructive and inspirational. Don’t get too caught up in the specifics. Think about the concept. Learn to use Twitter’s search feature well. Remember that the sky is the limit on what you can search for. Use your imagination. See what you can come up with. It very well may lead to new business. It did for me.

Written by scottbourne

May 13, 2010 at 7:29 am

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Five Things Photographers Can Do Right Now With Twitter To Grow Their Business

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By Scott Bourne

This is a simple post. It’s intended to help you see that Twitter can be a powerful business tool for photographers. Below, please find five things you could do right now, today, on Twitter which could potentially grow your business. Give it a try.

1. Tweet a link to your portfolio and ask for feedback.
2. Tweet a link to a recent photo shoot or event or image that you were paid for.
3. Tweet a link to a contest offering a free print or session or sitting in your studio.
4. Use to find prospects by searching for related topics such as weddings for wedding photographers.
5. Send a tweet answering someone’s photography questions.

This is a short quick list that should help you get started. But don’t stop here. Use these concepts to ask yourself what else you could do. Decide if there are other ways you could use Twitter or similar social networking sites. Then give it a try.

P.S. This week I’m also going to show you how to specifically prospect for clients on Twitter. I’ve never seen anyone else teach this so stay tuned. It works and you’ll see how in my next post.

Written by scottbourne

May 12, 2010 at 10:19 am

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The Case Against #Togs & A Caution About Hashtags

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photo of paradise falls by Scott Bourne

Copyright Scott Bourne 1997 - All Rights Reserved

By Scott Bourne

This post is most likely to interest photographers who use Twitter. If you don’t use Twitter, don’t care about Twitter, never plan to try Twitter, you can probably pass on the rest of what I have to say.

But if you do use Twitter, then I want to talk about hashtags. In case you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, you can read up on them before moving on through this post –

In their simplest form, hashtags are just another meta tagging system that’s designed to help people find interesting content on Twitter.

The hashtag #photo or #photography would be used to tag a Tweet that related to photography. Another popular photo-related hashtag is #photog.

Someone later decided to shorten this further to #tog or #togs. Here’s why I think this is a bad idea.

I’ve been talking with some engineers who work at two of the three largest search engines. They don’t want to be identified since they’re not supposed to discuss the internal workings of their products with the general public. But they’ve alerted me to the fact that the whole hashtag system, while making content easier to find on Twitter, may actually harm the ability of the major search engines to find and index that content. The hashtag throws off the search engine and is often the cause of the search engine deciding that the Tweet is spam or porn or something else.

To further complicate this, the tag #tog is nonsensical to the search engine. While in context, it’s easy to see where #tog fits nicely into #photography, the search engines aren’t as good as humans at context.

You can also lose searches on Twitter that are based around photography by using #tog. Try this. Go to and type in the following:


Now, open another browser and go to and on that browser and simply type in:


(Minus the hashtag.) Chances are that you will see some overlapping content. Try it three times in the next 24 hours and you absolutely will find some overlapping content. What this means is that if you want to reach Twitter audiences that don’t use hashtags, you at least have a chance with the word photography, with or without the hashtag.

Now try the experiment using #tog or #togs.

I ran the test 40 times over the last week and never found one case of overlapping content. So someone searching the word “photography” (minus the hashtag) would never see your content on Twitter’s search page if you use #tog instead.

While the use of the shorter hashtags seems to make sense when you’re in a 140-character limited environment, it  doesn’t make sense if it cuts you out of broader searches on the big search engines or for that matter, broader searches using Twitter’s own search product.

I’m advising photographers who want to use Twitter to expand their photography universe to avoid using #tog and instead organically includes the word photo or photography in the Tweet. I am still testing the use of the hashtag #photography to see how it scores with the big search engines. So far, the results are not good, and I am leaning toward abandoning hashtags altogether, unless or until the big search tools know what to do with it. This could change and if it does, I’ll update this post.

The notable exception to all this would be the case where I am primarily interested in reaching only my Twitter audience. In that case, I don’t care what the search engines see and the folks who use Twitter and who know how to use hashtags will find my post more quickly. But I still will never use #togs. And well-meaning as the person who dreamed that up may be, it shows a lack of understanding of how Twitter works.

Written by scottbourne

May 10, 2010 at 7:15 am

Posted in Marketing

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Photographers Using Twitter For Business

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By Scott Bourne

Photographers can and do use Twitter for business. And to make that easier, here’s a list of resources that photographers might use to enhance the value of twitter.

Twitter-related Tools to Improve the Power of Twitter


One of the big selling points of Twitter is the brevity of each tweet which is limited to 140 characters. Since traditional URLs take up lots of space, this tool enables you to use an abbreviated URL. It also keeps track off how many clicks are generated on this abbreviated URL thus providing useful feedback on what is working.


Twellow serves as the yellow pages directory for Twitter. It enables you to find people who live near you or share your interests. This means that you can conveniently follow them if you choose.

3. &

Create a personal brand. You need a Twitter background that suits the image that you want to project. Killertweets charges a price, but provides many striking backgrounds from which to choose. Twitbacks is free, but nowhere near as impressive.

4. Twi5

To check on spamming, Twitter has limits and you may only follow a total of 110% of the number of your followers. You need to quickly eliminate those who do not follow you back so that you can follow new prospects. This site allows you to “unfollow” the “unfollowers”.


This invaluable tool allows you to see all of the action in your account within one single application, enabling you to automate Twitter to run on autopilot.


Great service that helps you count followers over a period of time. Offers projections and all sorts of important data for those who are serious about Twitter.


A way to measure Twitter influence and informs you what sort of reach, demand, engagement, velocity and activity. You can use it to search for topics and find the influencers relative to that topic.


Grades your influence based on number of followers, power of those followers, updates, followers/following ratios. Also provides rankings.


This tool lets you use Twitter to post photos.


Measures audience engagement.

Written by scottbourne

March 17, 2010 at 6:50 am

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