Are you using social media correctly? Are you making any money by spending time on social networking sites? If you aren’t sure or if you have questions about your social media plan, take a look at these 5 ways you may be shouting to the wrong crowd.

1. Using a social site where your clients aren’t.
Are you still using MySpace? Are your clients? How about your potential clients?

If you photograph bands, musicians, actors, comedians, MySpace may be the Using Social Sites To Grow Your Photography Businessperfect place for you. But if you’re working with high school seniors, they aren’t there anymore. They are over on Facebook. No matter how much you promote yourself as a high school senior photographer, you will never capture a market share. Because they simply aren’t there.

2. Talking only to your greatest fans.
How many friends do you have on a social site? 10? 100? Who are they? I looked through one client’s Facebook account and found the following:

  • 25 family/personal friends
  • 17 clients
  • 43 business associates and other photographers

85 people following just won’t cut it. If you were to mail out a postcard, would you honestly mail 85 of them to the people on this list? You wouldn’t be in business for long.

3. Talking on an infrequent basis.
With your regular networking groups, how often do you participate? If they meet once per month, do you try and attend every meeting? Do you attend the extras they offer along the way, like baseball games and picnics?

When you are part of a group, the idea is to build a relationship. People refer people they know and love. So the deeper you build a relationship, the more you participate, the greater your chance of referrals.

Same online. You can’t add a quote once a week and expect to build relationships. You can’t head in once a month to make a few changes and see what’s happening. You have to know the frequency of the group, and participate on a level that gains you attention within that site.

4. Not having an end in mind.
What is your ultimate goal with people you connect with online? If you don’t know, how should they?

While you might be tempted to say bringing in clients, you have to think more specific. What is the first step you want them to take? Do you want them to fill out your contact us page on your site or blog? Do you want them to sign up using their email address for a free report from you?

That end purpose should be a part of everything you do. If you have a sign up box, why not build that into your Facebook page? Why not put it into the sidebar on every blog post you have?

While social sites aren’t about selling, you still have to have a purpose in mind.

5. Promoting too much.
Ever been hit by a drive-by seller on your social sites? They are the type that sign up as a friend, load up your wall with “buy this” and “buy that” links to sites trying to make money. Then they disappear. They are looking solely for the quick buck.

This is not the way to promote using social sites. Social networking is about relationships only. It’s about long term success. If you want to be in business 1 year, or 5 years from now, you can use this to build up your business over time. And create a very successful business over time.

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