While Dreamstime does a lot for promoting your images out there, there are still a few things you can do for yourself in order to get more exposure and, hopefully, more sales.
There are two ways of promoting your photos: with direct links or with referral links.
1. Direct links will help you sell more and will help Dreamstime too, by enhancing your visibility in search engines, as my colleague Clif previously explained here. We live in a digital world, powered by search engines, and direct links are more useful for your images in search engines' rankings than referral links.
2. Referral links may help you earn more, by referring users to Dreamstime, and getting 10% of what they spend or sell, for 3 years. It's also a good way of measuring the success of your promoting activity.
You may notice that, recently, our referral links have changed. While the old links are still working, now it's much easier to use our referral system. Just add #res12345 at the end of any Dreamstime link, where 12345 is replaced by your referral code.
I know it's hard to choose between these two ways, but my advice is to try both. Alternate referral links with direct links and you will certainly win, one way or another. You can even include both referral and direct links in the same place, using this method: if you plan to include a referral link somewhere on your own website or blog, you can make the referral link more visible (maybe using bold letters or even including a large button, something like "download image here") and still provide a credit line, using a direct link, somewhere at the end of the article or at the end of the gallery. I repeat, this works best on your own website or blog.
Where to promote your portfolio
1. Social media often proves to be a great promotion tool, if you're using it wisely. Don't send all your images in social media. Adapt to the platform and to your audience. Always embed visible credit lines or watermarks in your images you submit to social media.
For instance, I have a lot of friends from real life in my list on Facebook. So, I'm posting on Facebook only pictures from my Dreamstime portfolio that are related to me or my family, or Bucharest, the city I live in. I just made an album with my last trip to Paris, where I have lots of personal photos with me and my friends, but also the photos available for sale on Dreamstime.
Facebook is also a good place to raise awareness about copyright and educate your friends about what stock photography is. Follow Dreamstime accounts and other industry related blogs and post articles that may educate your friends. It's all about communication there, so you may want to communicate about your work too.
I have started a group for supporting authors' rights, not intended to promote my portfolio, but to make people aware of copyright and the fact that every work has an author (most people tend to forget about that lately).
On Twitter I don't have any friends in my followers list, I only have followers interested in photography, so I can post from time to time pictures or collections of various topics, using hashtags, without annoying anyone (hopefully).
Google Plus and Pinterest are also doing a great job in promoting my pictures. Pinterest is more viral, while Google Plus provides faster indexing.
Not only does this get your images in front of people who may purchase or share them, but like direct links, search engines pick up on these so called “social signals” and it may help your visibility in search engines.
And don't forget, if you're an exclusive photographer, to connect your Dreamstime account with your Google Plus profile. Providing authorship to your photos makes wonders in the search placements.
Just to recap, on all these social media platforms, the procedure should be pretty much the same. Post a (watermarked) photo together with a direct or referral link to that photo on Dreamstime.
2. Photography sites like 500px, Flickr, etc can be very helpful in getting more exposure for your pictures, but you'll have to be very selective with your posts there. Only post a few of your best shots, together with a link. When you're in a photography environment, you can focus on referring photographers and buyers to Dreamstime, but only the very best photos will stand out from the crowd, so don't bother posting regular, everyday pictures, they won't get noticed unless they're special.
If you participate in forums, add your portfolio into your forum signature. Most of them accept a link, so you should take a chance.
3. Your online portfolio could help you gain exposure and also will make you look more professional. I'm still working on mine, so I don't have anything to brag about yet, but I'm sure you can do better. If you're not into web design, get help from a professional designer, or use a template (some of them are free).
romanian, but you get the picture. If you're not much of a writer, you can still keep a photoblog, where you can post just photos from recent shootings, but usually an article illustrated with pictures weights more than just the pictures with no article.
I'm using the Wordpress platform, self hosted, it seems to be the best option out there. You can also keep a blog on Dreamstime, I'm having both, as you can see.
5. Word of mouth - you won't believe how valuable and how trustworthy people find direct discussions. Keep mentioning your activity on Dreamstime whenever possible. It's not easy to measure the results, but word of mouth is always a good promoting.
It's ok to promote your portfolio. However, be very careful and try not to spam. Promoting your portfolio will help you earn more, while spamming will get you penalized and eventually you will earn less. So don't turn a possibility of earning in a possibility of losing.
Remember, having success in stock depends on many factors. Quality of your pictures, fresh ideas, good keywording, promoting your portfolio, they all contribute to your success. It's only up to you how you master and combine these skills.