When it comes to using social media, many professionals think that more is better and that spending hundreds of dollars on ads and marketing campaigns is the key to success. While this may sometimes be the case, oftentimes just a single Facebook post can jumpstart your business — and it’ll be easy on your wallet as well.
At the Houston's Social Media Breakfast, our CEO Kami Huyse sat down with Eric Edward Schell, founder, and photographer of Pride Portraits, to share some tips on how social media can fuel a powerful and impactful campaign. He created a Facebook event to take free “Pride Portraits” in front of the rainbow-colored wall on Tuam Street near downtown Houston, and now, Schell has photographed and told the stories of thousands of members of the LGBT+ community, including notable public figures and celebrities.
Starting Your Social Media Campaign
Schell, a cisgender gay man, was bullied throughout his childhood and suffered from substance abuse issues due to his identity. Schell didn’t see himself represented in the media, and he transitioned from musical theater to photography and began partnering with equality organizations in Houston for his photoshoots. After the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, in which 49 members of the LGBT+ community were killed and many others were injured, Schell created his first Facebook event, which he titled “Pride Portraits.” It had a turnout of around 100 people, and his photographs quickly went viral.
The lesson learned here is to JUST DO IT when you’re inspired @Pride_Portraits #SMBHou— Loida Casares (@Shoegirl1970) January 11, 2019
While most of the content on social media at the time focused on the survivors of the shooting, Schell’s photographs captured the essence and joy of members of the LGBT+ community and brought unity to a community when it needed it most.
While your cause may not be the same as Schell’s, when it comes to your own social media campaign, anything can work if there’s a community behind it.
Connecting with others
Initially, Pride Portrait’s events were held outdoors during the day in the Houston summer heat. However, after meeting an artist at one of his events, they quickly bonded and he was able to move his events indoors with a pride backdrop for his future photographs.
He then went on to photograph and interact with many celebrities, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and partnered with multiple organizations, including GLSEN, receiving attention on both a local and national level. His photos were recognized by many media outlets and magazines, and they continued to go viral all over social media.
People on social media loved his photos, and Schell explained how they humanized the LGBT+ community and gave members a sense of visibility and unity. By providing something valuable to a community when it needs it the most, you can create an impactful campaign that reaches a range of audiences.
Learning so much from @Pride_Portraits at #SMBHou. Content goes viral when it inspires an existing community. https://t.co/xV3FNG4p6v pic.twitter.com/pWnfG6fSJ9— sarahshah (@sarahshah) January 11, 2019
From a Facebook Post to a Meaningful Movement
Schell emphasized the importance of networking and forming meaningful connections with the people that you meet in order to create an impactful movement. He also explained how his “pushiness” in giving people his business cards and featuring his own logo was helpful in spreading the word about his organization.
You can go from a simple Facebook post to a well-known movement without spending hundreds of dollars on ads and campaigns. Just focus on inspiring a pre-existing community, and success will follow.