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The New Grapevine - PPA Today

The New Grapevine

leslie_kitten_headshot.JPGAdd word-of-mouth marketing to social networking and what do you get? A powerful tool for photographers! (Well, it can be powerful if you handle it correctly.) Leslie Ann Kitten, CPP, of Savant Photography knows the possibilities and pitfalls of combining the two, and she'll share her insights via an upcoming webinar: "The New Grapevine: Word-of-Mouth Marketing Through Social Networks" (October 12, 2:00pm ET).

"I started using social networks long before they were used for business, or even open to the general public," Kitten notes about her social networking experience. "When I started on Facebook, you needed to be linked to one of the universities in their system. There was no advertising, no fan pages, not even frequent status updates!"

In fact, Kitten used to be bothered by those who used Facebook for business in the early days--she likens it to receiving your first spam e-mail. Of course, as she says, Facebook has evolved into probably the number-one place for viral marketing. Kitten also evolved and is now making the most of Facebook and other social networking sites in her business. "When I learned what I could do, I saw my business much so, that I quit my 60-hour-a-week 'pay the bills' job," she adds. "That is when I knew I was onto something great."

"Social networking helped me stay within my budget when I was trying to grow my business," Kitten explains. "I knew that if I could get my friends to easily tell their friends about me (costing them only 30 seconds of time), then referrals, the base of my business, could grow exponentially at almost no monetary cost to me. You can do so much within social networking that--if you put the correct time and energy into it--there is almost no reason to do anything else."

Again, it's how you handle the networking that really makes it work...just like any other form of marketing. Nothing is fool-proof, as Kitten reminds us: "You could network face to face and never receive any business if you were not saying the right things. This applies to social networking as well."

So what constitutes the "right things" to say? For one thing, you have to remember that the purpose of social networks is to be social. "Don't wear out your welcome with hard-selling or bragging about yourself," Kitten adds. "It's a two-way street. If you don't care about the people reading your stories, then they will stop."

Another pitfall she urges us all to avoid is the time drain. Social networking can suck you in, and you'll suddenly realize it's the wee hours of the morning and you haven't completed anything! Kitten advises the following: "Set a goal, set a time limit and be sure not to waste away your profits by spending too much time on your social sites."  

If you want to learn more from Kitten about better using these networks, register for her upcoming October 12th webinar. 

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on October 7, 2010 3:08 PM.

Vital Signs: Partnering with Other Businesses: Creating a Relationship was the previous entry in this blog.

Monday's Your Last Chance to Save & Learn is the next entry in this blog.

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