Ever wondered what all the social media hype is all about, but you’re too embarrassed to admit it?
Are you the only one of your friends that isn’t on Twitter and you can’t figure out why they’re all wasting their time?
Do you end up scratching your head when you hear of some people making money from social media?
Let me tell you a secret (ssshhhh – don’t tell anyone) – you’re not the only one that feels that way. In fact, I’d venture to bet that 80% of the people that are “taking advantage” of the social media buzz don’t know what the heck they’re doing.
Truthfully, they’re wasting their time. They’re messing around on these social media sites “because everyone else is doing it”, or because a marketing consultant told them to, or because they think having lots of online friends makes them cool (maybe they never had any friends in real life. who knows.)
If you want to watch a hilarious depiction of what Twitter is all about – you’ve gotta see this video: Twouble With Twitters
When you get done laughing, let me show you how you can leverage a social media strategy for the benefit of your photography business. Its really not hard, you just have to know what to do.
Here are the 3 steps to success:
- Define Your Goals – You wouldn’t go spend your marketing budget without having a plan. And, you wouldn’t go into a photo shoot without having goals. So, why would you go create accounts at all the social networking sites without goals and a plan.
So, first define what you want to get out of the social media experience and how much time you’re willing to put into it. If you’re just starting, I’d recommend 30 minutes a day.
Your goals may vary – but I’d suggest you keep them grounded in reality. If you think you’re going to hop on twitter and be flooded with new business within a week, you’re going to be disappointed with social media really fast.
As you define your goals, also define where you will spend your efforts. Don’t leave this one open-ended. The social media world can suck you in and waste your time. Set some limits. Tell yourself, “I’m going to spend 30 minutes a day on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog. Nothing else”.
Choose which of the social media outlets you desire to utilize and stick with those. You may be wondering what kind of goals you should be setting. Here are some suggestions to get you going, but you’ll definitely want to tailor them for yourself.
One person might say, “I’d like to establish myself as an expert in my photography niche within 6 months. I want to have 2,000 followers and/or active blog readers. And, I plan to leverage that following for an extra $5,000 per month of income.” Those are specific goals that are achievable.
Another person may decide, “I only want to engage in social media to learn. I will spend 30 minutes a day reading blogs written by experts to hone my lighting skills as well as my marketing skills.”. Your goals may be different. Actually, make sure they’re different. They should reflect your desires for your business.
- Follow First: The most annoying person at a party is the loudmouth that doesn’t know anything but blurts out about everything. No one likes a loudmouth – especially one they don’t know.Social media is social – that means you develop relationships. Online relationships, just like offline relationships start with introductions and grow over time.
When you’re in a live group setting, its natural to listen to a conversation for a while before you decide where & how you fit in. Then at the appropriate time, you throw in your two cents.
Its the same online. Don’t jump in shouting about your products & services. Everyone will hate you. You get email spam in your inbox, right? You hate it, right? Well spamming in social media is the same. No one likes a spammer. So, get in and listen first. Get a feel for the conversation, who the major players are, and how you can add value to the conversation. And that leads us to the last step….
- Provide The Value of You: We live in a completely selfish world. Everyone is out to get what they want and that’s it. Modern day conveniences have made us desire instant gratification and self-comfort in all we do.
Go watch T.V. for a minute (be careful – you will fry your brain), but you’ll see that 90% of what comes across is urging you to go do something for YOU. STOP! RIGHT NOW STOP allowing yourself to think that’s ok. If you can stop this one destructive cycle you will be more successful and happy in everything you do.
Here’s the key, forget your own desires and go feed other people’s selfishness. I know it sounds weird, but if you can be selfless (forget yourself) and go provide tons of value to others (give them the instant gratification to feed their selfishness) they will love you and follow you anywhere.
In a way, its counterintuitive, but its completely true. If you want success, don’t seek success. Seek first to serve others. Your prospects & clients will love you and buy more from you if you selflessly serve them.
That doesn’t mean give your stuff away free. The social media world is FULL of selfish, texting, tweeting, zoned out, heads down in the Android, self-absorbed people.
Feed them with value and they will mindlessly follow. This may sound a little depressing and manipulative. Its not. People will not do want they don’t want to do. Since you’re giving them what they want, they’ll give you want you ultimately want – their money in exchange for your photography skills. So, as you embark into social media, seek only to meet your attainable goals and to serve the community.