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You know the social media lingo, where to find your prospects or clients, how to set a strategy and how to plan your posts. This week we're diving into the world of best practices!

Here are top 25 best practices for social media, ranging from the super technical (like where to place a link in a tweet) to general guide lines. 

Twitter
  1. Put links 25% way through the tweet. You'll gain more retweets that way!
  2. Share links to gain more retweets. Share your blog, share your Facebook page, Instagram feed or YouTube videos! Share interesting articles of what's happening in the photography world or new things in your area. Remember, you can't talk about yourself all the time or folks will stop paying attention.
  3. Tweet around 4 PM. Really. It's the magical hour that gets the most retweets! Use HootSuite (free!) to schedule your posts around that time and gain the most traction.
  4. Ask for the retweet! Including the phrase "Please Retweet" or "Please RT" in your tweets will dramatically increase how many of your followers will spread the news (but don't go overboard and use it on every single tweet. Nobody likes that guy.)
  5. Retweet regularly from folks you follow. Paying it forward that way improves your Twitter karma. It may sound like a joke, but it works. Just ensure you keep it relevant! 
  6. Participate in #FF. Find your top followers and throw them a solid by including them in the #FF every week or so. If you're included in a #FF, retweet it and say thank you (mind your manners!)
  7. If you get picked up in an aggregate paper, say thanks and retweet their link. They'll continue to showcase your stuff and you'll continue to expand your reach. 
  8. Use hashtags that are applicable to your business! #photography, #your city, #behindthescenes, etc.
  9. Use the bio section to your advantage. Use keywords (in a logical manner) to turn up higher in the search function! Its Twitter's special way to use SEO!

Facebook
  1. Use questions that start with "should", "would" or "which" for more comments and answers.  Ask questions for more comments and to get input from your clients and respond to them so they know you're listening. 
  2. Enable the "reply" feature to keep the stream of comments listed in an orderly fashion!
  3. Use Calls-to-Action on Facebook. Posts with the word "Like" in them are twice as likely to receive a like. We all love likes, but similar to asking for the retweet, do this sparingly.
  4. Take advantage of your skill set and often use a photo! Stats show that posts with a photo are nearly twice as likely to get more likes, and any page looks incomplete without a cover photo.
  5. Use Facebook as a medium for giveaways or promotions. Discounted sessions or free prints. Don't break your bank, but offer your fans something that makes them feel special. 
  6. Use the milestones to tell the story of your brand! Mark studio opening, major events

Google+
  1. Share the love and +1 other people's work. Ask questions and be a part of the conversation. There are hundreds of photography communities, get involved, even for just a few minutes a day.
  2. Link your Goolge+ page with your website and other social networks. Use the +1 or share button so your content can be easily spread throughout the interwebs!
  3. Share your work often and give details that entice a conversation: talk about your equipment, your lighting, your creative process to bring other photographers in on the conversation. 
  4. Be the author! Google+ will help you increase your SEO with AuthorRank! Not only will it help you get noticed on Google+, but that blog of yours will also get some major attention. (You can find out more here.) 

Instagram
  1. Utilize hashtags on Instagram in the same way you would on Twitter. They will get more engagement since people can actually find them. 
  2. Make behind the scenes videos of all your office fun, current projects and assignments! You can pack a lot of punch into 15 seconds!

LinkedIn
  1. Gain credibility with recommendations. Ask some of your best clients (not every client) to write a quick recommendation on LinkedIn and you'll be three times more likely to get inquiries through the LinkedIn searches! 
  2. Look for your next gig through the LinkedIn jobs search! This probably won't be your top lead generating tool, but it will add to your bottom line. 

General
  1. Stay positive. If you beg for business, complain about how it's a tough year or write anything that could be perceived as negative you will lose business. Your content helps define your value, and if you devalue your brand with less-than-positive posts, your clients will go elsewhere. 
  2. Respond to negative comments and don't delete them. If you delete them, you will look a little shady, no matter how crazy the comment is. Kill them with kindness, offer to talk to them offline and ask them to private message you their number (or if you already have their number, call them immediately). 

A bunch of new things to keep in mind as you navigate your social media plan, but soon they will seem like second nature (we promise!) courtesy of HubSpot, Photoshelter, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, SocialMedia Today, Webmarketing Group, Socially Stacked and Media Bistro. Next week we will talk about the things to avoid on social media - these are the things that will make your customers run for the hills (or at least to your competitor).

- Sarah

This is post 5 of 7 in the Be More...Social series. Read the other posts in the series using the links below:


Phone_Social.jpg
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:

  1. 27% of total U.S. internet time is spent on social networking sites. 
  2. Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or pay per click (PPC).
  3. Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rate. 
  4. 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook in 2013. 
  5. 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!

- Sarah




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