Twitter has become a major phenomenon this past year. But with everyone singing the praises of Twitter, most photographers are still questioning how to use it, and if it really is beneficial to your business. One of my readers, Michael sent me this email over the weekend, and summed it up quite nicely:
“…I signed up for Facebook and Twitter this past summer. But I guess I just don’t get why I need to be there. I’ve written a few things, but it’s never brought me a client. Is all this stuff really important to my business?”
Let’s look at 5 ways to use Twitter to help grow your business.
1. Have a desire to connect.
Do you attend networking events regularly? Why do you do it? Networking events work because you meet people face to face, and connect with them on a personal level. You attend meeting after meeting to establish a relationship, show people your true value, and make people comfortable being around you. People do business with friends. The same goes for online as well. You have to be there and be committed to making connections. Many people are “lurkers” – they watch what others say and rarely participate. I’ve had many lurkers become clients after following me for many months.
2. Develop your strategy.
Twitter is new, so nobody has a clear-cut strategy yet. Instead people try different things to find out what works. One thing that doesn’t work – selling all the time. People want to learn more about you, not hear your latest pitch. Your strategy should be about giving, not getting. As a photographer, figure out who your customers are, and give them information they are interested in. Open up the lines of communication, and connect with them daily.
3. It takes more than 25.
How many people are you following? How many are following you? If it’s under 100, chances are it’s a few friends and family members – people that are already clients and know about you anyway. You have to expand out and reach out to people that don’t know you. For some this may be several hundred followers; for others a few thousand. Get active. Visit directories like Twellow and find people in your industry or community to follow. Connect with them. If you find people you enjoy, look at their followers and start following and connecting.
4. Be reliable.
Have you ever sent out one batch of postcards, and wondered where the business was? Especially in today’s heavy media based times, it takes multiple steps to gain the attention of a new client. They have to notice you, see you again and again, rely on you, and then maybe they’ll call. The process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the service. If you tweet for a few weeks and then quit, you’ve just eliminated one channel of exposure. Even if someone was starting to notice you, that link is now gone. If you choose to advertise with postcards, do it every month. If you choose to advertise with Twitter, do it every day. The goal is continuity.
5.Add to the community.
I hear from photographers every day that want to know more about Twitter – it’s free and they simply can’t afford a huge marketing budget right now. So using Twitter seems to be the best way to attract a ton of business. I have to say it – Twitter isn’t the magic potion that will solve all your marketing problems. It’s simply one tool in a ton of other promotional tools. It isn’t Twitter that’s the magic potion – it’s the community. It’s the relationships you build by being involved. It’s the magic you find by building a strong community that gets what you do, and really wants to learn more about you.
It’s also about building a business that will last. You can’t jump on twitter and make thousands of dollars in one month. You have to plan on being in business years from now, and use this as a tool to generate traffic to your site, a following for your business, and repeat business again and again, month after month, for the life of your business.
Twitter may not be here five years from now. But if you learn the magic that it offers by building up your community, you’ll easily be able to transfer that to the next “magical tool” that comes along. You’ll have the dedication it takes to build a strong following. And you’ll have the following that makes your business successful.