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How to use Social Media/Networking to drive your business | CHATTANOOGA PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

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Let's face it times are a changin' and we must adapt to the best of our ability. I was born in 1986 and yes that makes me 24 years old (to save you the math you nosy people). This places me in the generation where computers were becoming more and more relevant and I basically grew up learning on computers. This doesn't make me a computer genius, but it does give me a learning curve when it comes to computers. I can get on a computer or anything electronic and figure it out without a manual. My mother on the other hand needs a little bit of help with figuring it all out.

I remember when I was in elementary school and everything was pretty much done in MS DOS lol! That beautiful black screen with the green analog font or orange in some cases. I think around the time Hanson was really popular I got the internet Dial-up of course. Hey don't judge Hanson is still AWESOME then and now!!! Social networking wasn't really prominent but we had email, online chat rooms and so on. How cool was it to be able to chat and just interact with people from all over the world? Now fast forward to 2011 and now we have Email, Skype, Intstant messangers, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Forums, linked in, Model Mayhem, Flickr and tons more Social Media Tools.  Social Networking is taking over!  It's not going anywhere soon and it's forever changing!  Photography is now all about getting yourself out there through social media!  Sure there is still the print ads and flyers and face to face word of mouth, but today people don't have time to mess with a lot of that stuff.  They want to get on the internet get the info quickly and move on.

Now what am I trying to really say? Simple if as a photographer you don't keep up with the times and the ever changing technology you are missing out on a BROAD spectrum of clients that you could be servicing. Ok that wasn't really exciting but really in today's market you have to be savvy with social networking. You have to use it well and you really should study it and learn what works.

Today's companies are now hiring Social Media Specialists to work solely on boosting sales and their market with social media. In fact I've actually applied for such a position.

Myspace used to be a HUGE, but has become so yesterday. lol! FACEBOOK however is a BIG deal right now. Probably one of the best social networking tools you can use for your photography.

Here is a list of the Social Networking sites I use and I find extremely important and helpful to my business:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. A blog (Blogger, Tumblr)
  4. Flickr
  5. I Heart Faces Forum
  6. Vimeo
Facebook
Let's talk about Facebook...  Probably one of the biggest and most crucial avenues I use to generate my business.  I have a personal page and a business page.  Now if you are going to use Facebook as a place for your business YOU MUST CREATE A BUSINESS PAGE "FAN PAGE"!!!  I understand to many that business pages are not really easy to keep up with, because you can have personal messages or you don't get notified when you get comments and tagging is a problem.  I know I have the same complaints, but Facebook can and WILL delete any personal page that is being used for business purposes.  Many photographers have had their accounts deleted!  Don't let it happen to you.  Now read on below for some tips on how to run your page.

  • Create a profile image that represents your company and leave it.  OK I'm guilty of changing it all the time and right now I have a valentine's profile photo up, but really don't change your picture often.  The reason is HOW can anyone recognize you if you change it constantly.  I suggest either a picture of you because you are the brand or something that represents your company...
  • Post based on your average client age.  What does this mean?  If your clients are generally wedding or older clients then post your posts during office hours or between 7pm-9pm.  These are the hours most adults view the computer and will likely see your post in their feed.  For teenagers I would say post after school hours 4pm-9pm and post multiple times a day...  Just watch your feeds and see how the pattern is for your friends that will help.
  • Create a welcome tab.  Use the Static FBML (Facebook Markup Language) application.  A landing page is a great way to have a professional look and brand yourself on facebook.  There are tons of tutorials out there and free templates for you to use.  This is a free tab and is NOT the welcome tab that you have to pay to have.  You can even add code to make people like your page to get special content or downloads.  Great way to get more "likers" on your page.  Check out my new welcome page http://www.facebook.com/goldygatesphotography?v=app_4949752878&ref=ts for an idea.
  • Treat it as a portfolio...  Only post the best of the sessions...  I'm guilty of putting up whole sessions I can't help it, but have decided to only post the best as most people don't look at EVERY photo...  They get bored.
  • Make sure you keep the page updated at least 2-3 times a week.  People need to know you're alive! lol!  Even if you don't have any sessions to post just post something.
  • Hold a contest that makes people share your page with friends.  Great way to drum up business.  
  • Have people tag themselves in photos if you can't tag them.  Makes them interact with your page.
  • When you post on your Facebook Business page wait a day and then post on your personal page if you must.  This way the people that are linked to both pages aren't overwhelmed with your posts and just start to ignore them.
  • Post the link to your website on all of your pictures!!!  SEO people.  The more link backs to your site the higher you will rank in the search engines.  
  • Fill out all the information on your page in the description box include keywords pertaining to your business such as Chattanooga portrait photographer.  SEO people!!!
These are just a few things that you can do to boost your "likers"

Twitter
Now Twitter is something a lot of people don't quite understand yet.  Twitter is basically the status updates on Facebook.  You can only post 140 characters, but this is an essential tool.  Not only does this help you network with other industry professionals, but you CAN find local people who are potential clients.  
  • Be personable! Talk about your personal life mixed with business.  Twitter is a good way to limit what your audience knows about you, but still give them a piece of yourself and show off your personality.  
  • Make or have a custom background made with your picture and your info.  Best way to brand yourself on twitter.  You are the face of your brand show yourself.  Check out the backgrounds on my twitter pages for ideas.  Goldygates Photography Twitter Modern Star Photography Twitter.  
  • Make sure to list your website on twitter so people can find you.  
  • Link your twitter page to your blog and Facebook.
  • Chat with other photographers and potential clients.  Word of mouth can spread quickly and if someone sees them respond to you they can and will click on your name and ahh haaa FOLLOW YOU!
  • One thing that is great about twitter is Contests and Discounts.  Follow your labs or favorite resource sites on twitter.  They always do contests and give discount codes out for twitter only!  Great way to save money!
  • Use twitter as a way to ask questions for your business.  It a great way to get an instant response!
Now this post has went on for wayyyyyy too long!  So I'm going to stop here.  I will possibly expand more on this subject later is another Tuesday Tip.  I just wanted to touch on the two biggest networking sites out there that I find the most useful!


So with that said Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!!!!  I will follow back and will like your page as well just let me know what it is...

P.S. I can create all of the things I discussed in this post Welcome Tabs, twitter backgrounds, profile images, and more just email me at bridget@goldygates-photography.com for a quote.  Let me help you brand your business!

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