This question was posted in the PPA forum.
It’s a great question from Margaret. She posts:
” I’m seriously considering dumping social media for my business. In the last year and a half I’ve not really seen all the hours of stress and hard work in keeping up with my facebook and instagram pages garnish me much work at all. When I do receive contact from a potential client they usually tell me they found me on Google search. Most folks reaching out from social media are not very serious inquiries or simply price shoppers. So I keep wondering, is it REALLY necessary to put this much energy into social media? “
I feel the same way in many ways about social media. If it were not for the business side of things I very likely would can it all. Or, reduce drastically. Here’s why.
Facebook is a cesspool of narcissism. Twitter is a cesspool of hate. Ugh. Drives me nuts how people post intimate personal crap, pictures of them eating or bragging on about how virtuous they are. Like as if bleeding online for all to see is going to help. Truth is, it’s pure narcissism. And it’s human. I’m guilty myself, but I am trying my best to be self-aware.
BUT….FB, Instagram, Pinterest, etc are essential for business. It’s my opinion if you’re not ‘getting much from social media’, you’re not doing it right.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but this much I know. Attention, and acquiring attention from your market, and pitching these same folks, is key.
Few, if any, are immune. Gary Vaynerchuck understands this better than anyone. I recommend reading all his books and watching as many of his talks as possible.
For me, this plays out like this:
- I post on average three posts a day with the explicit goal of promoting my photography business on all my social media accounts including FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest….
- I do this in the same way I used to (and would still do to this day if I were younger and starting out) when I had multi-week displays at our local shopping mall. You know, on a good day, 30,000 shoppers walking by and seeing my booth.
- The main difference is I am not in a mall. Even though it’s virtual, it’s the same idea. I am putting myself out there for everyone too see me, over and over and over. I am asking for their attention
- Hard? Not sure why anyone thinks it’s hard work. Creating three posts a day takes my less than ten minutes. I do use HootSuite, which helps. There are other social media managers out there. Consider signing up for one and using it.
- Expecting direct results is expecting too much. A display, so to speak, is a way to build your brand in your community. In that respect, social media works gangbusters. And right now, it’s dirt cheap. You won’t get calls, emails, booking until you pitch a promotion. It’s a stepping stone, like a display in the mall. Keep reading….
- When I run a fairy day, or a pop up wedding event, we use FB and Instagram ads. They work like crazy. Last fall we ran a fairy day, in a new city, and we had to stop the ads three weeks before the event. Why? We sold out. Who knew? I didn’t expect this, but there you have it. Results. Sales. The bank is happy. FB ads work. If you have the right pitch. A photography business is ideal for branding on FB and running ads. For now, until things change. Which they likely will in time, Everything changes. For now, we’re cashing in.
- Social Media can and does reveal the ugly side of humanity. Quitting it is a bad idea, especially when you run a small business. You’re throwing out the baby with the bath water. What I do is limit the amount of time I spend online. It’s an addictive obsession like none other I’ve seen. Refuse to be a junkie. Use discipline. I also use the “Unfollow” feature in Facebook. I refuse to get or see posts from those who spend ridiculous amounts of time posting crap, personal opinions, hatred or political garbage. It’s simple really. It’s not real. Social Media is a make believe fantasy. We don’t have to get sucked in.
The great irony is it’s great for business. Be smart, use wisely. It works if your work it.
Hope this helps
P.S. I do get results from google organic searches. But this is a different animal. And a valuable strategy. I systematically and repeatedly post blogs, content and SEO within my website to ensure great search engine rankings. Social Media ads however is far more aggressive and effective given the right circumstances.