Overwhelmed with Social Media? I am with you friend! Just when I think that I have everything under control, they change the whole darn game on me. I mean, who has the time to keep up with it all? Sometimes I feel like my head will explode and make a really big mess. Then I remember. I can do this. I can attack the problem with my sick Social Media Ninja skills. And you can too!
Why? We don’t really hate social media, do we? Nope. Not even Facebook. It is pretty freaking awesome. I mean, free advertising? A way to keep in touch with clients? A way to share information and beautiful imagery with thousands of people with a simple click of the mouse? The fact is, I love social media. And it’s a good thing I do, because it truly is the future of marketing for businesses of all kinds, no matter how large or small.
I know, I know. You’re saying, “but Heidi, Facebooks algorithms… everything has changed…. it is harder for small businesses.” Well, you’re correct. It is harder to reach our audience on Facebook than it used to be. But whether 100 people see my post, or 10,000, it is still FREE. Did I mention it is FREE? And, should you choose to pay to sponsor a post on Facebook, which I just started doing last week as a social experiment (results in another post), it is still WAY less expensive than traditional forms of advertising. If you’ve ever paid for print advertisement, you know how valuable advertising space is. Print ads run thousands of dollars. I’ve paid for them in the past with very little response. For many small-time entrepreneurs and start-ups, print advertising just isn’t in the budget. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on an awesome handbag that you will totally carry a lens in (*wink* *wink*) at least once?
Plus, there are plenty of free networks still out there and all it takes is a bit of a learning curve to use them to your advantage. Google+ is one of the fastest growing examples. Will Google+ one day find a way to leverage their business community into profits? Quite possibly, if they are smart (which last I checked, they kinda are). Should that discourage you? Not one bit! Enjoy the free ride while it lasts and keep one Karate Chop ahead of your competition!
Now that we have established that Social Media is awesome sauce and completely necessary to remaining competitive within your market, it begs the question:
“How do we do it all?”
Social Media can be a full time job. Whether you are just getting started or have a slew of accounts that need organizing, I’m here to help you! First, let me break down the major types of accounts and what I use them for. It is important to understand each platform, its unique voice, and what you should be using it for. Then, you can pin and share the fab little infographic below for a Social Media Workflow reminder! Print it out and hang it over your computer, or use it as a coaster, and instantly Karate Chop your daily Social Media to-do list!
Types of Social Media Accounts
Website/ blog: For photographers, this is our portfolio and home base. It is where clients can gather information, see our most recent work, and check out sneak previews. Each week we blog our client sneak previews at their request.
Our website: http://www.heidihope.com/blog
Facebook: Facebook is like the cocktail party of social media sites, so naturally it is where we hang out the most at HHP. It is based on building social relationships and is great for photo sharing and keeping in touch. The tone is casual and personal. Everyone is at the party from our grandmothers to our babysitters! This is where we get to know personalities and become a part of the everyday lives of others.
There are two main types of pages:
Personal Page: This is your personal profile, your online “you.” People can “friend” you to see your posts. You can upload and share photos, post updates of your status, and share meaningful content…. like this article! This is the page where I post more personal updates and occasionally share business happenings.
Business Page: This is the page representing your business that can be managed by your personal profile and any other managers you assign. People can follow you to keep up with your business posts. Your posts will only be seen by a percentage of your total number of followers based on Facebook’s algorithms (which are constantly changing, so good luck!) You can also sponsor posts from your business page and target an audience to increase the visibility of your posts and actively advertise.
Are we friends? We should be!
Twitter: Twitter is a copy heavy social media site where wit and humor prevail. You have to keep things short and sweet on Twitter, and since I’m not the queen of brevity, it has taken me a while to come around to the platform. It is also not the best platform for photo sharing, though it is making progress. Twitter’s language is the hashtag. Love em’ or hate em’, hashtags are a great business tool. They allow your message to be seen by thousands of people who otherwise would have never found you. I have previously used Twitter solely as an account to post from our Facebook Business page, but I’m changing that! Hollaaaaaaa! If you’re a Twitter lover, you can now breath a sigh of relief because you can find me there. And I’m funny. So you should follow me.
Pinterest: If you don’t know what Pinterest is, this discussion is over. Kidding! Beautiful photography is king of Pinterest, an online pinboard for organizing and sharing things you love. You can pin your own work to increase traffic to your website and pin the work of others. I pin everything from recipes to photo shoot ideas to DIY projects that I’ll never do. Ever. Pinterest helps people get to know me and my personal taste. Beware of addiction and distraction! I do not enter Pinterest unless I get all of my chores done first. Then I indulge in my guilty pleasure! Hashtags are great to include on Pinterest as well, but only include a few meaningful ones. 25 hashtags on any post looks like a SPAM sandwich!
Instagram: Instagram is a photo and video sharing site that started in 2010 and already has over 150 million users and over 55 million photos posted EVERY DAY! My Instagram account is more personal than business, but I’ve seen it used successfully both ways. In my stream you’re going to see a mash-up of my kids messy faces, behind the scenes at our studio, and a little of my favorite work sprinkled in. Unless it is labeled #notiphone, it was taken with my iPhone. I love using Instagram to share my unique view of the world in a quick and easy way… no editing necessary! (Though I wouldn’t mind if Instagram came up with a liquify filter…. anyone want to capitalize on that great idea???)
Google +: Oh I tried for so long to hold out on Google +. I was just so happy in my little Facebook universe of familiarity. But, alas, times change and my inner Social Media Ninja had to finally attack it. I’ve had a personal profile for a while on there, but I finally created a business page 2 weeks ago. You should too, and while you’re at it, add me to your circle! PS: no one sees your circles but you, so you can create some funny ones, like: “Social Media Ninjas” or “Annoying People I don’t want to see posts from.” Just put me in the former of the two, okay?
Google + is similar to Facebook in that you can create 2 types of pages; Personal and Business. Then there are also Communities which are similar to Facebook Groups. Communities are a great place to join and network with other Google+ peeps! Google + is a quickly growing community and hugely important to search engine relevancy, so it is officially a worthwhile endeavor. Sorry!
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the business lunch of the Social Media World. Its tone is professional and its main purpose is to connect people business to business. This is not a place to forward your Instagram Selfies! LinkedIn can work as your resumé, but it is also perfectly appropriate to post updates from your other business pages here. Keep it like a job interview over there. You never know who might be considering your services!
Photo Sharing Sites
Since we’re photographers here, I must at least give mention to two popular photo sharing sites for you to add to your social media arsenal. I’m not extremely active on either anymore, but back-in-the-day, Flickr was where the photography community was AT! Then some creepers started jacking images of my kids and I got scared over to Facebook. Someday I may return to the platform, so all is not lost. The two photo sharing sites that are currently most relative in my book are:
Post to them and you get bonus Ninja points!
Print it. Pin it. Share it.
Here is a handy little workflow chart to help you remember what you can do to share your posts with the world! I once feared sharing among too many media channels would be overload, but with only a small percentage of each audience actually seeing your posts, it is safe to spread them around to all of your platforms with cat-like reflexes. If you like my Ninja moves, go ahead and save this for later! And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for photographers at the bottom of this post. We’re sending out an awesome freebie only to our newsletter clients soon!
Do you like my sick Ninja moves? Is Social Media making your head spin? I want to hear from you below friend!
Do you like my sick Ninja moves? Is Social Media making your head spin? I want to hear from you friend!