Social Media Case Study: Adam Elmakias
In general, bands’ photographers aren’t usually known to their fans. They remain faceless and nameless to most music fans, an unknown force for the visualization of sound. However, most kids that are into bands like A Day to Remember, All Time Low, The Devil Wears Prada, or Bring Me the Horizon seem to know the name Adam Elmakias. While his career doesn’t necessarily depend on this, it has certainly allowed him to expand his business, giving him to opportunity to have his own line of merchandise and make a little extra money. But how was he able to get to this point? How was he able to not only photograph big bands, but also gain his own following?
Adam started taking photographs in 2005 as a Sophomore in High School. He was a troubled kid but enjoyed both music and photography. He started out taking pictures of bands at local shows, but in 2008 he started touring with bands (source). While he obviously sells prints of his photographs, he also sells lense bracelets (bracelets that look like camera lenses) as well as shirts and other novelties. On top of all this, Adam is a regular contributor on several social media sites, which really pushes his business. While he has a few accounts, his most popular accounts include YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Adam started his YouTube channel in 2006, about a year after he started getting into photography. He began by posting what could be considered vlogs, but gradually transitioned into posting things that were more relevant to what he was doing in the music industry. From there he expanded his YouTube content into videos from concerts he photographed, how-to’s about cameras and photoshop, and compilations of his work. As his following grew, he began to interact with the people who liked his videos by having fans suggest videos for him to do and making Q&A videos. He continues to make videos like this as well as occasionally respond to people’s comments.
Three years later, in 2009, Adam started using Twitter. He began using, and continues to use, twitter primarily as a way to interact with his followers. While he does tweet some of his photographs, videos, and tours he’s going on, he also tweets more personal things like his cat, what music he listens to, and what he’s doing. On top of this, he retweets pictures of people wearing his merch and answers questions.
One year after joining Twitter, in 2010, Adam created a Tumblr account. While he didn’t start using it actively until pretty close to 2011, he has always posted almost exclusively original content. This adds to the novelty of his blog and makes it more interesting. Users won’t find the things he posts on any other blogs before his. He posts his photographs and things from his daily life, along with reblogging pictures of people wearing his merchandise and answering “asks”.
While Adam doesn’t have time to respond to everyone, he clearly makes an effort to connect with the people who enjoy his work. Whether it be responding to questions and comments or re-posting pictures of people wearing his merchandise, he uses his business to create a community around a shared love for photography and music. This is really important because everyone wants to be part of a community, and people are much more likely to be passionate and tell people they know about something that they’re a part of.
Another point about Adam’s use of social media is that he really lets his personality shine through. He thinks of himself “as a cartoon character,” and uses this point of view to make himself memorable (source). He presents himself as a quirky guy with a good sense of humor while also maintaining a certain professionalism. He keeps a balance between appealing to his niche audience and being a businessman. If he swayed one way or the other he would either become a stuffy business guy that no one wants to work with because he’s no fun or a goofy guy that no one wants to work with because he can’t be serious. As with all things, balance is of utmost importance in social media.
Another important note that can be made about Adam’s use of social media is that he doesn’t post exclusively about business. He posts funny things and pictures of his cat, weird sayings and things that he enjoys. This makes it so that he isn’t constantly berating his followers with cries of “Check out my new work!” “Buy my merch!” “Tell everyone about me!”. Constantly telling people to support you wears everyone out and gets annoying quickly, so by letting people into his life, he creates a narrative and asks his followers to let him know what they enjoy by supporting him. He also posts videos that are more personal, like how he deals with having ADD or being depressed. These not only benefit his niche audience, it shows that he really cares about them, adding to the appeal of his brand.
In summary, Adam Elmakias’s savvy use of social media has allowed him to grow his business beyond a typical photographer’s. By creating a community based on a shared love of photography and music, letting his personality shine through in his business endeavors, and giving followers a glimpse into his life through his posts on social media, Adam has gained a following of incredibly passionate fans that allow him to have a successful and rewarding business.
Until Next Time,
Source, Page 1 Paragraph 2: http://elmakias.tumblr.com/faq
Adam’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/elmakias
Adam’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/elmakias
Adam’s Tumblr: http://elmakias.tumblr.com/
Source, Page 3 Paragraph 2: http://gig-photographer.com/interview-music-photographer-adam-elmakias/