Its easy to get caught up in the promise of big returns by using the latest social site – whatever that may be. Yet by jumping on the “latest and greatest” social networking site, you may be missing out on an opportunity that has been there all along.

Blogs are sometimes overlooked as the strong marketing tool they are. A recent study showed that blogs as sources of online buzz have increased over the last five years  from 36 million to 181 million. Yet why are blogs still so strong? Should you be using them? And is there a right way … and a wrong way … to use a blog for your photography business?

Blogs Are The Backbone Of Success

Sarah is a photographer. When she decided to start her photography business, she had been unemployed for several months and didn’t have a lot of funds to invest in her new business. So she did what any savvy business owner would do and did everything she could for free. She printed off business cards on her home printer. And she started designing a Facebook page to showcase her work. She spent several months adding posts and content to Facebook and gradually built up a pretty good following. She gained over 2,000 followers and had a steady line of prospects and customers – enough to keep a steady income coming in every month.

Then someone got a hold of her Facebook password and started posting spam from her account. Facebook received a number of complaints and shut her account down.

Sarah logged in one morning, only to find she couldn’t access Facebook. Panic struck as she tried again and again. She emailed Facebook support. She searched for answers throughout Google, forums and other help sites. She tried desperately for days to gain access to her account – to her business – without success.

After one week, Sarah was forced to realize her entire stream of traffic for her business was gone. She started over rebuilding her business from the ground up.

Think that story can’t happen to you? Think again. It happens every day. Facebook is a free account. Facebook’s sole concern is growing the company – not how it affects one little account out of millions.

If you don’t own your account, you risk the chance of losing it all.

By owning a blog, you control the look and feel of your site, you control the content you place on the site, and you direct where the content will go. When you create a post, it will be there forever working for you. You can then use that URL and direct it to whatever “free” social site you want, doubling and tripling the amount of exposure you receive for your content.

A few years down the road, you will own that content. It will work for you in Google, directing people back to a place where they can find out more about you. And you can have a solid business tool in place to use in any way you choose. If Facebook happens to be gone or directed in a new way, you won’t risk losing “everything” by hoping things stay the same.

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How Should You Use A Blog For Your Photography Business

Blogs have two purposes within your business.

1. They create a strong, effective marketing tool

2. They generate traffic

Why did you create your original website? Because you wanted a place to direct people to and give them more information about you. It was your online brochure. Websites were looked at in a static way – they simply existed to provide the basic information to whoever visited your site.

Yet a blog can take that concept to the next level because it gives you an easy way to create content any time you choose, helping you attract prospects and clients from all over the globe.

A blog isn’t an extension of a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. You don’t talk about what you had for lunch, or how your day is going. You don’t add short posts that don’t say much at all. Instead, a post is a way of educating your clients and prospects on one specific thing related to what you do. You don’t talk about wedding photography; you talk about the wedding you photographed in a specific location. You don’t talk about nature photography; you talk about a specific location and a specific subject matter. You let people find out more about you and your business by getting as specific as you can.

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How To Use Your Blog

When Sarah rebuilt her online presence after having her Page shut down on Facebook, she decided to do it the right way. Instead of jumping right back on Facebook and doing things the way she always had, she spent some time researching and educating herself on how to reduce her chances of having that same mistake happen again.

In her search, she discovered she needed to do three things.

1. Start with a base marketing tool

2. Spread her exposure to as many places as possible

3. Always remain true to her core plan

First, having a core marketing tool gave her what she needed to consistently bring in the right clientele. By having a blog in place, her site was always up and maintained, giving people the exact information she wanted them to have.

Second, with her core site in place, she could use that to market more effectively in more places. Instead of building standalone profiles on the free social sites, she could now link all of her social sites together in a variety of ways. If people like what they see, they can get more of it on her main site. And Sarah can focus all of her energy developing something she knows will be around forever.

And finally, with a stable base for her marketing structure in place, she knows she expand into many directions without losing her core audience. With profiles on a number of other “free” sites, and they all link back to her blog, she finds it easy to watch her traffic increase. If one “free” site disappears, she may see a blip in the system, but she can quickly recover. She knows everything she does is designed to provide the best information possible on her business. And the best place to do that is with her main marketing tool – her blog.

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