Social media portals like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter can be a great way to promote your business and build up your network of contacts. Done the right way it gives you a very economic opportunity to stay in contact with your customers, inform them about recent news and keep them aware of your brand. Done the wrong way it might be just be a big waste of time and money.

Defining the context

As with all marketing channels the purpose of the use should be clearly defined, before starting to use this additional platform of communication. In the beginning you should think about what you want to achieve with your new channel and how you want to get there. Think about your target audience, what kind of information you want to share and what added value it provides to potential customers.

In a business with returning customers, e.g. a massage business, the aim could be to keep regular customers informed special discounts and promotions. As a portrait photographer with mainly one time clients the respective platform can be used to allow happy customers to share there photos easily with friends and give time a easy possibility to promote your business for you.

Also have a look what your competition does. It can help you to define what you want to do and inspire you for new ideas.

Specialization and dedication is the key

It is important not to overdo it. Social media marketing brings the most value when it is used as an active communication platform. In case you don’t have a dedicated person to work on it, limit it to one or two channels. Facebook or Google+ are great for general updates and share content of your site. For photographers e.g. Instagram is a fantastic way to promote your portfolio. But the list of services is long. Give it time to investigate what is the best on for you.

The main aim should be to get people involved by making your shared information personal and authentic. Social media are optimal for two way communication and allows you to get lots of valuable input from your clients. A great example is how Amy Little, a wedding photographer from the U.S. west coast, uses Instagram to promote places where she will go and gets in contact with future potential clients. Up to date she has over 11.000 followers looking on her portfolio on a regular base. Have a look at a very informative interview on Shoot to earn.