Take Time to Smell the Roses – and Keep ’em Growing

social media for photographersCongratulations, everybody! We’re calling it a wrap on another year. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back, show appreciation to everybody for their contributions, and focus on all that’s right with your business. Admire your work!

Then use social media to thank your customers and show them where you shine. People are attracted to success. If you’ve got work you’re proud of (and releases), post it. Organize around a theme like events, seasons, or subject matter. Come up with a New Year promotion to celebrate with your customers.

Take stock of what’s going well with your social media and build on that. Did any promotions stand out? Did you put yourself out there in the Twitterverse as an expert and get some re-tweets? Team up with other small businesses?

Update your profiles. Now’s a great time to update your profiles and ensure consistency across all of your networks. Don’t underestimate LinkedIn, an emerging platform for sharing content. Use widgets and Company Pages to promote your social media. Use the Skills and Expertise Page to find keywords, groups to join, and influencers. Encourage your staff to set up their own LinkedIn profiles and link to your business page.

How to tell if your social media is working. A study published this fall by the Pew Research Center finds that 58% of small businesses report social media is improving their business, and they plan to expand its use. What evidence do you find for this year? 

  • Awareness = online mentions (reviews, Tweets, Facebook posts, blog ping-backs)
  • Leads/sales = conversions and also walk-ins or new customers who mention your social media
  • Retention = repeat visits
  • Customer service = issues or inquires resolved via social networks

Be a curator for your customers. Take a clue from the explosive growth of Pinterest, and leverage this idea in your social media marketing. Great Pinners are great curators of content for their audience. They glean the best into carefully organized collections that reflect audience aspirations, values and style. They become trusted authorities.

  • Curate your Pinboards: Audience focus first. Who are your customers? Where do they shop, what do they love? Publish your products and services, as well as fine photography or other art – your own? Yes, this can be risky. Before posting, filter through high standards and other people for feedback. Watermarks and legal releases – a must. Curate.
  • Curate your marketing: Become a trusted source of curated products and services for your customers. Be clear about your expertise and where you offer value. Less is more. Customers are overwhelmed by too many choices. By editing down how you present what you do, you open clear paths that are easy to take.

In retrospect, you may find you did not meet all of your goals this year. So what! Maybe something more important came up, and you did what it took to adapt to the most pressing demands. Good for you.

Do take time to smell the roses — then post a carefully curated collection on a Pinboard.

And please let me know what are you most proud of this year. Happy New Year!

Guest post by Georgia McCabe – As an author, speaker, trainer and social media and photography evangelist, her perspectives on social media appear in print in her newest book entitled “SocialMorphosis – Transforming Your Business through Social Media”. Georgia is also a co-author of the book “The Relationship Age”, with social media guru Mari Smith. Georgia is a frequent guest blogger for our professional photography lab.

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