Social Media: Can a Picture Sell a Thousand Words?

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To promote his DJ business, Dave Stephenson of A Time For Music & Memories often posts photos on social media outlets, and is amazed at how many people he can reach to promote his availability in the Douglassville, Pa., area.

“You can show what your venue looks like, and you’d be amazed as to how many people it can reach,” says Stephenson. “I’ve posted vlogs—mostly private for my customers and venues—with table ideas and views outside, plus I can even tag or mention the site where I’m at and other vendors I work with.

“I get great feedback from bridal shows, as when I sit down with clients they can visualize what they want and we can incorporate that into the event they picture. I’ve done casino nights and even holiday theme events, and when I show pictures to brides or when I do an event at a local venue, I send pictures out to my clients from the event if I have them on my list for that site. I’ve been able to upsell a lot just from sending that information out.”

Of course, using images on social media when there’s the opportunity of a resulting financial gain can result in legal issues.
Says Stephenson: “When I send out my contract, I have them sign a model waiver, if they want to allow pictures and videos.”
We contacted mobile DJs from around the country to find out how they’re using imagery, be it on their web sites or on social media—including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and vlogs—in the 21st Century.

How are we getting our clients to agree to have their images used? Are we making agreements with our photo vendors to use their images online? How are we using imagery to sell our products, and to differentiate our businesses from our competitors?
In short, does a picture actually sell a thousand words?

Greg Nauman in Dubuque, Iowa, is a professional photographer who has been in business for over 35 years, ever since he was in high school.

“First of all, you need to use professional images, because you only have a short time to make a first impression,” Nauman explains. “If you want to promote yourself, you should use the best photos available. There’s just too much junk out there. It’s the good, clean, professional images that will catch the consumer’s eye.”

Legally, Nauman says a DJ can potentially face a lawsuit and resulting serious financial setbacks for using images online without written expressed permission.

“Depending on whatever you’re using a photo for, whether it be promoting a DJ service or wedding service, you have to have a copyright release,” he says. “Just because you take a shot of these folks, if you’re going to use it for personal gain then you have to have a copyright release.

“You can’t just take someone’s image, even though you’re hired to do it, and use it for financial gain. You’d have to reimburse them for the use of the image if you don’t have a release signed—otherwise they can come back and sue you.”

Mark Maloney of M&M Entertainment in South Portland, Maine, says he typically does precious little when it comes to social media, but does have a few ideas related to using images that may be helpful to others.

Similar to Dave Stephenson in Pennsylvania, Maloney includes a statement regarding the use of images in social media in all his contracts: “M&M Entertainment reserves the right to use any photo or video footage taken during your event for promotional purposes.”

Says Maloney: “Clients may opt out, and kids’ events are handled differently. I never post kids events on social media. However, I do have the parents sign a waiver agreement, letting them know photos will be taken for promotional purposes.

“It’s rare for someone to refuse, but it does happen, and the child who does opt out becomes a chaperone’s helper. This helps me know who the child is who doesn’t want to be photographed, plus it makes the child feel better because they’re still actively participating.”

Meanwhile, for camp events, Maloney says he typically makes two announcements—one at the beginning of an event and another in the middle of the scheduled time—letting everyone know that photos and video will be taken during the event for promotional purposes, and that participation in the event is “by default” permission to use this footage.

“If anyone has concerns,” Maloney informs the guests, “please see me after the event.”

For photos at any other events, Maloney says he typically takes pictures of his setup, and then when the dancefloor is full he take photos and posts a congratulations to the bride and groom.

“I’ve never had a complaint, and in fact I’ve gotten compliments and thank-yous,” he says.

“I don’t use anything other than Facebook, as far as social media is concerned. I know that makes me a dinosaur in this day and age, but I’m busy as I can be and what I’m doing is working just for me.”

Ten years ago, Carl Williams of DJCarl.com Entertainment in New York City said pictures were great for selling a product or service online. Nowadays, he says business owners need to take things a step further if they desire to see a profitable result.

“Today, I believe one has to incorporate short videos with a clear message and call-to-action to sell any type of service or product to stand out from the competition,” DJ Carl says. “When I’m looking to purchase, I want to see and hear about the benefits and value of a product and service.

“I would think educated consumers would be interested in benefits and also value, too. For the future, short videos will be the norm to sell one’s benefits, in order to connect with people emotionally to buy.”

Williams says he unfortunately cannot post photos of his clients online, mostly due to these celebrities’ requests for privacy.

“Many of the images and videos that I use on www.DJCarl.com come from the photo/video vendors,” he explains. “I’m only able to show the vendors how I use past photos and videos to market the site, and then assure them that I’ll give them photo credit with an optimized link that will help market their services, too.”

Basically, DJ Carl says he’s taking everything to the next level, which essentially is an expectation of his high-end clients.

“As the content director for the website, I try to provide a variety of rich-media content for diverse, high-end clients,” he explains. “My strategy is to provide beautiful images, but also to include links, great music mixes and voice-overs which help to differentiate me from not only local competition, but from national competition to travel throughout the country.

“The optimized, rich-media, content on the website has allowed me to perform in Atlanta, Denver, California, Florida, Houston, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and even half-way around the world in Tokyo, Japan.

“Many of my past clients, in fact, have said, ‘I have never seen a DJ website like this!’”