Social media and online marketing is vital for small businesses – it’s free advertising! It takes time to build an effective online infrastructure, but it is worth it! Doing so pays off. Literally.
The Goal of Online Marketing
Two words: “brand domination.” People don’t usually search for a business by the business’s name; they search by keywords (i.e. “Commercial Photographer in Oklahoma City”) – and they usually don’t browse beyond the 3rd or 4th page of search results. Your success in those initial searches is driven by good metadata, which is a topic unto itself for a future post. So I will set that aside for now.
But, once potential clients conduct their initial keyword searches and find your business (on the first-fourth pages!), many will then conduct a second search using your business name to investigate you further. They want to see that you have a large body of consistently good work and that your business is credible and trustworthy. To successfully impress those people, a search for your name, or your business’s name, should generate 2-3 pages of links with content that you control. That way, you are aware of, and managing, what people learn about you; you are crafting your brand’s image.
Effective Online Branding Forums for Small Business
The following forums may help strengthen your online branding, while also generating lots of incoming links to your website and blog, which improve your primary/keyword search results:
- Website (Read More Photography Website Tips)
- Blog Posts
- Facebook (Personal)
- Facebook (Business Page)
- Twitter Account
- Linked In (Personal)
- Linked In (Business Page)
- Google +
- Flickr Stream
- YouTube Channel
- Professional Association Profiles (for togs, ASMP, PPA, etc.)
- Local Arts Organization Profiles (for OK togs, OVAC, etc.)
Each of these accounts should have obvious links to as many of the other accounts as possible. No one forum should be a dead-end. Rather, there should be a circular pattern among all of them, so that regardless of where a person lands, they can easily navigate to all of you other profiles.
How To Incorporate Online Marketing Into Your Workflow
Managing your content may seem daunting; however, if you use available tools to automate most of this content, online marketing and social media become a natural part of your workflow. Here are some concrete tips.
Use Lightroom Shortcuts
- Create a list of all of your online accounts. Include a link to the profile, login and password info, and specific image requirements (for example, length/width pixel dimensions, max file size in GB, etc.). Then create Lightroom export presets for each of those accounts according to those requirements.
- Use export plugins to publish to Flickr, Smugmug, your hard drive, etc. from inside Lightroom, without tying up your web browser.
- Flag, paint, or star your top 1-3 images for portfolio use, and export watermarked versions at 70ppi to a hard drive folder. Then, you can retrieve those “best of” images all in one place when needed for online portfolio updates.
Automate Blog Posting
- Write and schedule blog posts in advance.
- Use Networked Blogs to automatically post new blogs to Twitter and Facebook.
- Automatically add WordPress blog posts to your Linked In profile (go to Edit Profile/Add an Application).
- Read more Photography Blog Tips.
Post Updates to Multiple Forums at Once
- Use HootSuite to post updates, links, or blog posts on up to 5 accounts at the same time for free. My five accounts include Linked In, Twitter, Facebook Personal, Facebook Business (HBP and SMUG).
- Get the iPhone app for Hootsuite, too, and do this on the go!
- Automatically display Behance Projects and travel information (Tripit) on your Linked In by adding those applications on your profile.
Save Time on Online Portfolio Updates
- Post portfolio examples to your Facebook Page first, then use the “Share” button on those posts to send it to your personal profile (if desired) rather than uploading the images in both places.
- Put a reminder on your calendar to update online portfolios like PPA, ASMP, Google Places, Linked In Business, Behance, etc. quarterly or semi-annually. Since these particular types of profiles require more customization, spend a half day updating all of them in one sitting and add a large body of recent work, which is more efficient than logging on after each individual job.
What do you do to save time with social media and online marketing? I’d love to hear your ideas, too!