One Photographer's Guide to The World of Social Media- Part 2

Curators’ Corner

One Photographer's Guide to The World of Social Media- Part 2

Last time I introduced myself and tried to give a little background into where I am coming from. Then I launched into using twitter by discussing setting up a new account. This time I am going to talk about what you might actually do with twitter and some things that will make your life easier.

In the beginning twitter is about sharing information so what I always advise people to do is remember that everyone comes from a different perspective but people are not actually all that unique. What I mean by that is that something you might think everyone knows is in reality only something a small number of people know about but many people would be interested in. So start sharing everything you look at online. If you think it’s interesting enough to look at so does someone else. The core of your twitter experience will always be sharing information but in the beginning it’s going to be about 80% of what you do with it with the other 20% being promoting yourself and interacting with people. The idea here is to set yourself as an expert in your field and gain people’s trust. Then when you have that trust you are going to use it to promote yourself without coming off as a jerk who only talks about themselves. At the same time you are enforcing your brand, you are your brand so the things that interest you are part of your brand, and letting people get to know you a bit.

Sharing the things you are looking at online is also going to make your life a bit easier because you can actually get work done at the same time as building your twitter presence. Your not going to copy and past into the twitter homepage every time though. You have things to do. So how does it all work? Your going to need some tools to make your life easier. First start off by heading over to bit.ly and signing up for an account. bit.ly is a service that will shorten urls for you as well as giving you stats on how many people are clicking on your stuff. It works with most of the twitter clients that you might use and it has a bookmarklet that is really going to make things easier. Once you are signed up with them click on tools and add the bookmarklet to your browser. Now anytime you are looking at a page that you would like to share just click it and you can compose your twitter message and post without much work.

The next thing you are going to need is a tool for handling your twitter stream and interacting with people. My recommendation is tweetdeck. It’s an Adobe Air app that will work on both OSX and Windows and it has pretty much every feature you could ever need in a twitter app including scheduling and bit.ly integration. Remember to customize the columns a little though. A notification every time anyone you are following posts something will drive you mad and that’s the default.

So you have a tool for managing your twitter stream, you have a way to easily post what you are looking at and you are posting stuff. Now what? You are probably getting some followers based on what you are posting but what about finding followers beyond that? The way you get followers is to interact with people and to follow other people. You can’t just go out and follow a thousand people though. You will look like a spammer and you no one will follow back. The goal is to have about the same number of followers as people you follow. So start with people you know and like. That could mean people you actually know offline but be careful about adding people you know offline who don’t really use twitter. If they are not following back you just end up following someone else who doesn’t contribute anything to what you are building. Another thing to do is think of people, or brands, who you like and see who they are following. If they are at all like you then the people they are following are probably people who you would be interested in as well.

Click on people and go to their profile. Look at their posts. Is there something interesting there? Great. Follow them then retweet what they are posting. Huh? A retweet is like an email forward except, hopefully, useful and it both shares the information from the other person you thought was interesting and puts you on the other persons radar because they see the RT in their stream. Don’t use the twitter default RT though. Copy and paste what they posted and add RT: @theirusername in front of the post. I am not going to get into why the twitter RT system sucks but if you are interested do a google search on it. Most clients, including tweetdeck, will have an option for which RT version you use. In tweetdeck it’s called the old style and that is what you want. When you do this try not to edit too much, nothing wrong with adding commentary on the end, but if you have to then don’t change the meaning. If you really want to share the link they posted but want to change the text that accompanied it substantially then just add (via @theirusername) to the end. That way you give them credit but it’s not putting words in their mouth. As well as giving them an RT see if there is an opportunity to actually interact with them via a reply. Did they ask any questions you can answer? Maybe there is something they said that you liked but it wasn’t really something to RT? It doesn’t matter really just see if you can start a conversation with them.

Now rinse and repeat for a good long while and this process of interacting with other people as well as sharing your own information will gradually gain you followers who trust and respect you and that is the point. Remember you have a reason for doing this. The reason is because you want to promote yourself/your business. So remember that 80/20 split I mention? It’s really 80/10/10. Spend about 10% of your time promoting yourself. Write a new blog article you want people to see? Post it and clearly say you wrote it. Got some new images? Post them and make sure people know that they were created by you. This 10% is your chance to cash in on all that goodwill. People like you, you are a nice person, and they will gladly look at and promote the things you do because they like you. The other 90% of the time isn’t lost either. All that posting and interacting is really advertising. Every time they see your name they are reminded of you and the fantastic work you do. Your brand is positively beaming with good will and people will fall all over themselves to help you because you are helping them.

Which brings us to the close of this post and the image. This is image is really a bit of a teaser for the next post. This was a wonderful piece of joint marketing that I did with someone on twitter. It built a stronger relationship, got me some goodwill, and opened my work up to a huge audience that I never had access too.

This article was written by Josh Ross, http://www.joshrosscreative.com, if you are interested in sharing your experiences, trials, tribulations, and information please contact connect@duggal.com for more information on how to do so.

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CHECK OUT PART 4