October 07 2011

social media groups for photographersToday’s post is very much a blanket guide intended to give you ideas that you can  implement in your social media marketing strategy.

It’s important to note that your business is individual and you may need to find what works best for you.  You have been hearing a lot about social media. “It’s the wave of the future! The new marketing frontier.”  While I for one certainly appreciate the enthusiasm,  I will tell you it’s not a magic wand that all of a sudden has business rushing to your door.  It’s just plain hard work.

I’ve found that one size does not fit all. This means where one business may have success with using Twitter, for example, another business may struggle.

That being said, here are three ways to promote your business online right now:

  1. Facebook Fan/Business Page
  2. YouTube
  3. Twitter

These three portals are not all strictly social media portals but they do have a lot of businesses and the general public, using them and they may like to know more about your company and what you do.

Let’s look at two scenarios:

Scenario one:

Bob lives in Schenectady, NY, but his sister Sally lives in Albany, NY (Not too far from each other, but even so they don’t see each other physically as much as they use to.  She’s needs to find someone rather fabulous and cost effective to shoot her wedding. With so many people offering this service she’s rather stumped at who to trust with this delicate matter.

In their weekly Skype catch-up chat she mentions this to Bob. He offers to go on the net and look about to see if he can find someone. He types into Google, his sister’s home town with the word ‘Wedding Photographer’.  At number one of Google he sees Andy who specialises in weddings and portrait photography and visits his site. He notices he has a video linked through YouTube on his website, which is an Animoto video showing off some of his work and talking about his services, offerings and also offering up a couple of tips that are valuable for brides to be.

Not only is Andy number one on Google for his keyword term but he has also put up a video to help explain his service further.  In a prospects mind this helps to instil a sense of trust and establishes Andy as an authority in his niche.

Bob sends the link to his sister and she decides that she likes what Andy is saying in the video. She’s feels connected because she can see Andy talking in the video too. Visually showcasing is very powerful. Very powerful!

Great Stuff!

Scenario Two:

But let’s take it one step further.

Bob has put off having a family portrait done, and thought that would be a great gift for his parents for Christmas.  He’d like to ask Andy a few questions to establish whether he can help him too.

He looks for a Facebook link – another way to connect.  Andy does not have a link to his Facebook Business Page. Not to worry he’ll go through to his YouTube channel and watch some more videos and possibly connect with him there….

But this does open up the possibility of Andy and other photographers to add social media links on their websites if they want to.  Doing this really helps people share who you are and what you do.

These two scenarios are completely fictitious but Andy does have a fabulous asset on his website which is video. If he then adds his Facebook business page and Twitter accounts,  then he has another way for his prospects to connect with him.

But wait there’s more…

What could also happen here is people who’ve done business with Andy could send out the YouTube link to their friends and family via the social media links that YouTube place on every video.

Building an Armysocial media groups for professional photographers

As business owners we meet up with other business owners florists, reception and banquet halls, salons, etc. and we are more than happy to refer and thank one another for business we’ve done with each other.

So let’s take this concept online.

Most people reading this may not have a newsletter list for their prospects and customers – it’s fine if you don’t but this method works very well in that environment so please just bear it in mind.

Andy, John, Alan, Scott and Janet all have businesses that complement each other but are not in direct competition.

They have a decent amount of Facebook fans between them so they decide they’re going to regularly promote each other’s products and services.

Here’s how they do it:

  1. They all ‘like’ each other’s Facebook Pages
  2. On Monday John posts on his FB wall using the @ symbol about Janet’s special offer. Like this: @Janet-salon your special offer looks great this week. When does it end? I would like my clients to know about this.
  3. That message shows up on Janet’s fan/business page wall because John has used the @ symbol (as well as his own.) She responds to him on her update wall and creates some interest.  Her fans may want to see who John is and may want to click on his name to find out more. They may ‘like’ his page.
    • There is a sense of trust in him to some degree because Janet has responded to him.
    • John’s Facebook followers may want to know who Martha is and what she does. They may choose to ‘like’ her page or better still take advantage of her offer.
    • At best we’d hope that John’s message will open up the door to more interest because Facebook fans tend to follow for a bit before they take action – unless the offer is super hot!
  4. On Tuesday John does the same thing for Alan
  5. On Wednesday Janet does the same thing for Scott

You get the picture…

Each one is strategically, and with permission, offering their Facebook followers a chance to see what one of the syndicate does. There is no hard sell here and no pressure.

In certain circumstances this basic plan would need a smaller group or a more targeted group – but either way it can be worked on many levels of internet marketing.  You could for instance, post a message on twitter about someone you’d like to recommend and they could do the same for you, thus building up your following easily and quickly.

The Slow Burn

Using any type of marketing online, including social media and YouTube can be a slow burn, meaning that potential customers and fellow business owners will take time to get to know who you are through these portals. They will study your messages with interest and it may be a while before they get into contact with you. Some won’t, but they may include you in their tweets and Facebook messages.  This has happened to me several times and this helps increase my following on both Twitter and Facebook.

My Experience

I’ve been online for a long time building my authority in a myriad of subjects through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and now Google+ and since my Social Media Boutique Agency started,  I’ve found people who have followed me for quite some time are now beginning to ask for my services.

  1. One person who’s followed me for two years or so recently requested my services for conducting webinars for his company.
  2. Another person hired me as his social media marketing coach and consultant. He’s never met me in person. However he’s followed me on Twitter and Facebook and decided I was the person he’d like to do business with.
  3. Several people recommended me for training and I will be teaching a full day social media bootcamp at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in January.

Sometimes it takes time, but once you’ve built your authority and showed you are approachable, the general public and other businesses alike will be more than happy to invest in you as a business and/or promote you.

What You Can Do Now

If your prospect funnel is full to the brim the sense of urgency to get new business may not be as much as someone else who is looking for new business. However, on your website you’d do well to have the following buttons available so people can share your site with people in their social networks.

LinkedIn – for B2B

Facebook – for everyone

Twitter – for everyone

And why not do a few videos explaining who you are and what you do (for a YouTube channel), and have a button for that?

There are tons of ways to use these online tools without them sucking into your time management and marketing budget.

social media tools for photographersHere’s a little list:

Extra Tools for Keywords for Your Business:

Further Reading

I could go on and on about this, but for now I let you digest all of this.

Working with each other to help each other promote your businesses online via social media is not that hard to do.

Take action and give it a go!

If you need any more help just drop me an email

Disclaimer:

Social media and the like are fantastic but nothing beats meeting face to face. Online marketing works in two ways:

  1. To showcase your business to the world (which still works on a local level if you have a Bob and Sally scenario)
  2. It also allows you to connect with local business owners and local prospects who may have since thrown away their Yellow Pages or do not attend the same business networking meetings as you.

Use both online and offline marketing to the full and reap the rewards! They are plentiful, my friends.

Guest Post by Georgia McCabe – As an author, speaker, trainer and social media and photography evangelist, her perspectives entitled “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Friends…or Enemies” appear in print in the book entitled The Relationship Age, with social media guru Mari Smith. Georgia is a frequent guest blogger for our professional photo lab.

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