This week I attended a conference on Using Social Networking to promote businesses, and of course, I kept trying to think of ways it could benefit professional photographers. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the latest internet buzzwords, social networking refers to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, instant messaging and chat.
While social media is simple to use and free to implement, it will cost you time and diligence in order to make it work to promote your business.
When you think about ways to promote your business using the Internet, you usually think of websites and e-mail. While these are important, they are designed to “communicate with” a customer. You might tell a customer about your services or about a sale, for example.
In the last few years, marketers have discovered that people don’t want to use the Internet just to get information – they want to use it to make 2-way or social connections too. Instead of “communicating with” a customer, businesses use social networking to “build a community” with their customers.
Let me give you an example. A local pub in Flint advertised their St Patrick’s Day specials, then asked their friends “who is coming over after work?” Several dozen people I knew answered online. When I asked them why they went to that particular pub, they said it was because they saw on Facebook that all their friends planned to be there too.
Let me give you another example. Bob Fish, co-founder of Biggby Coffee in Michigan, uses social networking like Facebook and Twitter to let his customers know when he’s going to be visiting one of the over 100 franchises. If you meet Bob at a Biggby Coffee shop, he will buy you a free cup of coffee. This virtually free social networking is considered a critical part of Biggby Coffee’s success according to Entrepreneur Magazine.
Next week I’ll give you some specific steps that you can do to implement social networking as part of your marketing.