Top 5 lies about social media

(Last Updated On: March 20, 2013)

by Pascal Depuhl, Miami

1) Social media gets you no work.

Lie. My biggest clients come from social media. My wife had seen a model colleague of hers featured in a photo story on Facebook, that a large Yacht company had put out and had friended the marketing director, telling him that her husband – that’s me – was a photographer. (Full disclosure: I totally thought ‘Her connecting to him on social media will get me no work.’) Well a few month’s later my wife gets an email, saying he’s looking for a photographer to create a single image for one of his boat catalogs, if she could please have me contact him. We friend each other on facebook, he sees that we have a mutual friend, Hugo. The marketing director reaches out to Hugo, asks if I can pull this job off – Hugo tells him that I have been working with him in photographing for Mars and I got booked. A few weeks later I created a time-lapse video for the boat company on the Miami International Boatshow; then a series of videos, that tie into their QR codes on the boats, a behind the scenes documentary on the development of a brand new boat design, …

2) Social media get you lots of work.

Lie. If you’re a photographer, that can not pull off a commercial photo shoot effectively and efficiently, you won’t. Maybe a couple first time clients, but no repeat customers and the word that you can’t deliver, will spread faster that your initial post, comments and tweets. Have you ever heard someone say: “I’m not on ___________________” (fill in your favorite social media network), “no one cares what I had for lunch.” they’re right – unless you’re a chef that makes awesome things for lunch, no one cares.

But they do care about your last photo shoot, especially if you explain how you solved a specific problem and they do care about you most recent motion project, especially if you share how you pulled off a specific shot – that’s why I started writing a series on my blog called “How did you get that shot?” and they do care, if you found a piece of equipment, a piece of software, a website, a service that makes you better at your job.

3) Social media is fast.

Lie. Even though your tweet is all over the world, as soon as you hit that return key, building a strong social media network is by no means fast. Case in point:

3 1/2 years ago, on November 9th, 2010 Nino Leitner began following me on twitter. The following spring he tweeted, that he was going to Florida on a little vacation after going to NAB. So I invited him and his girlfriend to breakfast in Miami. July 2011 I offered to help him produce a Filmmaking Masterclass in the US, if there was ever any interest.

FMMC US possible

No mind you this was a long shot, but in the fall of that year, Nino send me an email, asking if I where still interested in helping himself, Philip Bloom and Sebastian Weingärtner in putting together 2 Filmmaking Masterclasses in 2012 in the States. Last year those classes took place in Las Vegas and Key West and the relationships I build with not only Nino and Philip, but the participants of those classes are invaluable today. Social media is not fast, but you get out of it what you put into it. The result? I can pick up the phone and call Nino and ask if I can write a blog post about my upcoming documentary film “On Wings of Hope” with his followers. Guess what he’s gonna say?

4) Social media is easy.

Lie. And truth. Social media is incredibly accessible. Even the teens have Facebook accounts, twitter, foursquare, instagram, vibe, … the list goes on and on – and by the way, if you think the competition is social media is stiff now, wait for these kids to enter the job market and be your competition. They don’t know a world without social media, it’s like breathing to them. Anyway.

Doing social media well and effectively is hard. And takes time. And effort. It comes back down to relationships you’re building. (Remember the social part in social media?) So how do you build those relationships, ’cause in the end social media is about sharing great content with your followers. Did you catch that? Keyword: great content. If you only talk about yourself and have nothing to offer, why on earth would anybody talk about that? But if you share great content you’ve discovered and – even better – create great content yourself, then you have something to offer. It took tenacity to develop the relationship I have with the boat brand. It took time to build the relationship with Nino. I takes time to write good blog posts, create great visual content for others to share.

Let me give you another example: When I was starting out in shooting motion, I was looking for equipment that allows me to work like I work. I found a versatile slider by a Canadian company called Cinevate. Their Pegasus fits how I produce my motion work. It can be taken apart quickly, travels well, offers me a variety of ways to move the camera, while I’m filming. What do a couple of carbon fiber rods and some aluminum parts have to do with social media? Well I’m glad you asked. I need to build relationships to be successful in social media, and I know how to do that with an individual, but how do I do that with a company? (Hint: great content) They are just as eager to share with their audience as you are. So what should you talk about? Them and their stuff. And how awesome it is – if it’s not, don’t talk about it (see point #2). So I put together a little video that features me filming with the Cinevate Pegasus on a job, then I asked them to showcase it on their website. The result? If you call them today and happen to speak with Jeremy (he’s a great guy up there) ask him about Pascal in Miami. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.) See, he knows who I am – so when I called him a few weeks ago, to ask if Cinevate would sponsor my upcoming Move2Motion seminar, guess who was in my corner when pitching this idea to their marketing department? Today they are one of my sponsors. Along with Zacuto, Sachtler, Letus, Ikan, ioSafe, ThinkTank, Calumet Photographic, … all of which by the way are relationships I build via social media.

5) Social media is free.

Lie. I guess by this point you already have gathered that I’m not necessarily talking about money, because technically social media is free – there’s no subscription to Facebook and no monthly fee from twitter. But it does take time. And thoughtfulness. And stick-to-it-iveness (which actually is a word – I looked it up.)

It is however, invaluable. It is the only vehicle that I have been using to promote an online release on a short documentary I filmed in Afghanistan last year, which is happening in a few weeks. You can check out the trailer at and click through to get a sneak peak of the film.


Trailer for "On Wings of Hope" - the short documentary I filmed in Afghanistan.
Trailer for “On Wings of Hope” – the short documentary I filmed in Afghanistan.


Miami based photographer and cinematographer.
Miami based photographer and cinematographer.

Pascal Depuhl is a Miami based professional photographer and cinematographer, who is working hard to create a social media campaign to facilitate the première of “On Wings of Hope” in April. The film will be screened with the actual airplane featured in the movie parked next to the screen, in a 20,000 sqft hangar. For behind the scenes posts, VIP invitations, and other great content click through the any of the social media links on “On Wings of Hope“.

Pascal Depuhl

reel: movies by depuhl
email: [email protected]

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