One Step at a Time – Step 15:  Are You Social Enough for Social Media?

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“Social Media” – two words that just a few years ago had absolutely no meaning to any of us. Today most of us have a love/hate relationship with it, but done right the only “hate” you should feel is that you didn’t get involved sooner! Don’t kid yourself though, you’ve got to have a foundation for communication or at least a desire to maintain contact with people.

I’ve been really fortunate in my career because of the experts who have come into my life each step of the way in so many different areas of photography. With Twitter, I’ve learned so much from good buddy, Scott Bourne. He had 25,000 followers when we first starting working on projects together just four years ago – today he’s approaching 150,000.

There’s isn’t enough room in a post like this to talk about everything you should be doing, but let’s hit some great basics.  I personally feel you should be using your blog, twitter and Facebook to work together. There are definitely other components, but lets just use these three to build your foundation. I’ve already hit blogging hard with two previous posts in this series, so for today we’re just hitting Twitter.

  • Stay relevant! It’s okay to stray now and then, but stay on point in terms of your core topics. Nobody cares what you just had for lunch, where you’re driving, etc.

  • Be consistent! Just for a starter, let’s assume you’re never going to tweet less than five times a day. Stick with that and tweet around the same times each day, before you start to experiment.

  • Remember relevance? Do your best to tweet helpful suggestions. Send people to other points of interest you know will be helpful to them. Use Twitter the same way the old town crier shouted out the news in the 1700’s.

  • When should you tweet? I can’t find anybody that agrees on when to tweet, but a few of the experts seem to like 1-3:00 pm EST for getting the most traffic. Personally, I tend to hit the first one around 7:30 – 8:00 am EST because I know have a bunch of followers who are early risers. While Monday is typically a weak day for traffic in a number of different businesses, that’s not necessarily true in photography.  A lot of studios are closed on Mondays and many photographers use the time to catch up on their reading.

  • Always leave 10-15 characters unused. Why? Because you’re hoping people are going to RT (Retweet) your information to their friends and you don’t want them to cut off your message.

  • Use a URL shortener – I’m amazed at how many photographers waste characters on long links.

  • Working with 140 characaters: I like to write out what I want to say and then I go back and fine tune it, removing punctuation, spacing and abbreviating words.

  • Proof-read! Okay, I feel like a hypocrite for suggesting this when so often I miss something, but at least looking at what you write and reading it out loud will help you catch those mistakes that simply make you feel stupid…and trust me, I seem to have more than my fair share lately.

  • If you’re using a URL shortener check your link before you tweet. You just want to make sure it’s working. It’s so embarrassing when somebody sends you back a message telling you the link is dead. You gave them a suggestion…they took it…but hit a wall because you had a mistake in the link. 

Don’t engage Trolls! You’ll never keep everybody happy. When you do get a troll use the block and remove features of twitter and just get rid of them. You’ll also get spammers – remember to track your

Last on this list – have fun with this. This is all about being helpful and generous with your time. It’s about sharing information and if you’re not having fun, then it’s time to back off and just take a break and review what you’re doing and why.

Illustration Credit: © Sepia100 – Fotolia.com


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