Social media is a beast. It has so many wonderful features, but if you're new to the game, it can be overwhelming, confusing and at times, just plain terrifying.
We've heard your questions, comments and concerns about how to utilize social platforms to build your photography business (know you're not alone)! So we're starting a weekly blog series through August 20th called "Be More...Social" to help answer those questions and squash your concerns (and hopefully build your business along the way).
Social media is a great way to expand your business for relatively low costs, stay connected with your current customer base, expand your referral network and, when used effectively, can have a wonderful, positive impact on your business! If you're on the fence about learning the ins and outs of a new marketing platform, check out these five stats provided by HubSpot:
- 27% of total U.S. internet time is spent on social networking sites.
- Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or pay per click (PPC).
- Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate.
- 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013.
- 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others, compared to 60% of average users.
So where to start? Let's begin by defining key terms you'll come across in your social media adventures. Like any specialty, once you learn the terminology, it'll be a lot less overwhelming. Bookmark this blog for a handy reference when you're building your social media marketing plans (yes, there is planning involved).
Analytics - Analytics are the way you measure your social media impact. Always, always, always measure your data. How can you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? It's not difficult, and there are plenty of websites out there to help you. We'll dive in deeper in a later blog about how to measure analytics and what exactly do they mean.
Avatar - An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks. It's also known as your "profile picture" for your personal sites. Generally it's great to use your logo as long as it looks good in such a small space.
Blog - (You're already ahead of the game here - you're reading PPA's blog!) Blog is a word that was created from two words: web & log. Blogs are usually maintained with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog (like right now, I'm blogging!)
Circles - Circles are clusters of a user's friends on Google+, meaning you can group certain people you choose to connect with on your Google+ into a certain Circle, such as clients, friends, family, etc. When you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post's sharing options.
Comment - A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a social or blog post. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social web, so you can respond to whoever commented on your work. It' opens up the dialogue and starts to build the relationship between you and your clients
Engagement - Engagement is a bit of a buzz word. At its heart it means to interact and build relationships with your fans & followers on a personal level. This will lead to having advocates, company loyalists, and brand ambassadors. We'll get to all of that later, but know that if you interact, or engage, with your clients, it will lead to huge payoffs.
Follow Friday (#ff) - Follow Friday is a trend using the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter (what's a hashtag? See two down). Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users. People tweet at their favorite companies, friends, brands--you name it! It's customary to retweet this to your followers (We'll get to that too!).
Hangout - A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users at a time. If you and your clients don't have time for a face-to-face meeting, Google+ Hangouts are the next best thing!
Hashtag - A hashtag is a tag used on social networks as a way to sort the message by certain key words. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a "#." Hashtags are commonly used to show that a message is related to an event or conference, online or offline. Although they originated with Twitter, they are searchable through Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Google+. Imaging USA has a special hashtag every year - #IUSA14! You can create a hashtag out of anything, like #escalatorsarescary or #ilovecutepuppies, but it doesn't mean they'll be effective. Incorporate hashtags that are both applicable to your business (i.e. #photography, #seniorphotographer or #weddings) and specific to your event or location. When your clients search those key terms, you'll be more likely to show up.
Inbound Marketing - Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques that businesses can use to find potential customers, convert those prospects into leads and customers, and analyze the process along the way. It is in direct contrast to outbound marketing, which utilizes traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling. Think of inbound marketing as creating a conversation with your clients instead of the traditional one-way communication approach.
Like - A "Like" is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the "Like" button as a quick way to show approval and share the message. It also refers to how many people follow your business page.
Listen - Think of the act of listening like eaves dropping (but with your eyes, not your ears). The art of listening means you're staying on top of what's relevant in your community, your profession and with your clients. Listen to all of these sources (don't worry, it's not as overwhelming as it sounds) to make sure you're on the top of your game in every arena of business.
Lurker - A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion. They won't like, comment or share anything, but it doesn't mean they aren't paying attention.
Meme - (pronounced meem...rhymes with dream) A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea or joke to be shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the "I Can Has Cheezburger?" cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes.
News Feed - A news feed is literally a feed full of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of your account where you can see all the latest updates from your friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline (not to get confused with Facebook's new look, also called Timeline).
Retweet - A retweet (also known as an "RT") is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to share it with their followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer's name.
Search Engine Optimization - Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the traffic to a website from search engines like Google. The more relevant, keyword rich content you post on your blog and other social media outlets, the easier it is for Google (and other search engine sites) to find you for folks looking for your services. Google AdWords has a wonderful free keyword tool that you can utilize to see what words or phrases are driving the most traffic to your site, then utilize them appropriately. Not sure how to get started? We'll show you!
Social Media Monitoring - Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to interactions on the social web. There are many web services that can help with your monitoring and tracking of social engagements, such as likes, retweets, mentions, comments or shares. We'll dive in to that deeper in a later post.
Now when you see someone retweeted your #FF in your newsfeed, you know exactly what's happening (and why)! Next week we'll explore the various social media platforms, what each is best suited for and how that can help your target market!
Did this glossary spur additional questions? Leave them in the comments. We can incorporate them into a future blog post!
This is the post one of seven of the Be More...Social series. Read post two through six using the links below:
Be More...Social: Platforms and Purpose
Be More...Social: Social Media Strategy
Be More...Social: Planning Makes Perfect
Be More...Social: Best Practices
Be More...Social: 10 Social Media Fails to Learn From
Be More...Social: A Continuing Education