How to Use Social Media + Helpful Tips

January and February are traditionally slower months in the wedding world, so I've surrounded myself with piles of books in light of the extra time and I couldn't be happier. I'm a fiction lover, but recently spent time delving into business resources. Two books that have really impressed me were Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Guy Vaynerchuk and TRUST – Mastering the Art of Content Creation and Successful Blogging by Lawrence Chan. I read these books simultaneously and learned SO much about leveraging social media in my business.

I'm a huge proponent of social media (which may be an understatement), but reading about the reasons why it's important and how to do it are priceless. Chan writes, “Your focus to deliver content of consistent quality that will eventually convert readers into fans, fans into clients, and clients into evangelists.” I couldn't agree more.

While Chan's e-reader has a heavy emphasis on the photography world, Vaynerchuck outlines The Rules of Good Content for any business. I found this particularly insightful, so I'll share Vaynerchuk's points, but apply them to the photo industry as an example.

The Rules
1. It's Native
You can put out good content (a great status update), but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can fall flat. So often I see photographers sync their Facebook status to Twitter, but what appears on Twitter is an incomplete update that usually ends with “…couldn't believe he ……”. That fb link drives me crazy!! There are few people reading Twitter who will click back to your Facebook page to finish reading. It's a wasted update on Twitter and not native to its platform. Learn each media outlet. Learn what works best on Instagram, learn how to maximize your voice on Facebook, edit your tweets to fit in 140 characters…basically, respect each platform or else you'll fall flat in each.

2. It Doesn't Interrupt
The greatest appeal to social media is that people naturally gravitate to it. The micro-conversations are its greatest appeal, but it's important to not disturb the entertainment value social media provides. Unlike traditional marketing (like commercials), people prefer to consume marketing the same way they consume their entertainment: seamlessly. So often I see photographers using social media solely to promote their latest work (“Off to shoot an engagement session” or “Here's a sneak peek of last week's shoot” or “Just blogged a wedding”) begins to feel like a stream of commercials. And who subscribes to a channel of just commercials?

3. It Doesn't Make Demands – Often
As small business owners, the goal of social media is usually to create a sale or, at least, make prospective clients aware of our products or services, but this must be balanced with showing your human side. Be gracious. Be giving. Be funny. Be all the things we enjoy in others. Don't use social media as a tool just to talk about yourself…talk about your favorite movies, join The Bachelor conversation, share a moment together. The best thing a business can do is balance an emotional connection so when you do make a request or call to action (like, showcasing a new blog post), people are apt to follow through because they like you…as a person.

4. It Leverages Pop Culture
This is self-explanatory, but I can say that when someone posts a link to their favorite song and I like it too, I can't help but think they're extra awesome. With little to no effort at all, someone showcased his sensibilities and drew me closer to him because of our mutual tastes.

5. It's Micro
Social media is less about marketing and more about creating small conversations around your content (photos, updates, videos). Vaynerchuk writes, “It should be serving as the nexus connecting every other channel by which businesses talk to their customers.” By successfully telling micro stories, clients have a way to connect in a 24/7 online world.

6. It's Consistent and Self-Aware
Solid social media interactions showcase who you are not just what you do…and this is the best way to get noticed in a saturated market with businesses that offer the same services. If you content can make someone feel, she's more likely to share it with others and this is the best word of mouth endorsements you can get.

Whew, this was a doozey of a post…if you stayed with me until the end, I know it has nothing to do with me, but with the great content Chan and Vaynerchuk provided. If you're looking for ways to understand social media, definitely read Jab Jab Jab Right Hook and to find ways to leverage social media in relation to your blog, Chan's e-reader is great! Happy Reading!