How To Use Social Media To Win Friends And Influence People

As a photographer specializing in business and personal brands am I finding that more and more of my images are appearing on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin as well as small niche sites built using programs such as Ning. These sites are a great way to build your brand and expand your network for either business or personal purposes – if done right!

When I work on a personal brand I like to get to know my clients. It helps me paint a better story and really hone in on what their brand is all about – kind of like the marketing audits I used to do with companies only now for people. Here are some things you need to think about before you embark on your social media efforts. If you have already started you may want to think about areas you need to improve on or fine tune.

Tips For More Effective Social Networking

– Have a purpose in mind. This may sound simple and obvious but way too many people have no idea why they are engaging in social networking. It could be to position yourself as an authority, drive traffic to your website or blog, help others, promote a cause or just have a better social life. Decide on your purpose and stick to it.

– Target you audience or market. Once you have a purpose in mind, the targeting of your audience will probably only require some research on your part. Use the search function to find others and programs such as Twellow if you are in the Twitter world.

– Develop your profile. Take some time to plan and write your profile. Your profile should portray you as unique, authentic and someone worth connecting with. People will judge you after reading a few sentences or looking at your profile picture. You can look at your profile like an electronic version of your “60 Second Commercial” or “Elevator Speech”. You need to tailor your profile to match your purpose and target audience – something that says “I want to get to know that person better!” If you are on several social networking sites make sure that your profiles are consistent and I would argue they all be the same.

– Choose your friends or the people you follow carefully. A mistake many people make is to have as many friends or followers as possible. Your goal should be to have good friends not just a lot of friends. If you do it right, sooner or later you will have a lot of good friends. Besides what are you going to do with 80,000 friends or followers?

– Engage, interact and develop relationships. This is what the whole idea behind social networking and marketing is all about. You don’t need to report on every detail in your life. I know mine aren’t that interesting and I would be surprised if yours are either. You don’t need to endlessly pitch your product, service or yourself. If all you have to say is buy my product, buy my product, buy my product you will run out your welcome very quickly. Be genuine, authentic, helpful and all of those other things they taught you in Boy or Girl Scouts – they will position you as someone worthy of following.

– And my last tip is to get a great image for your profile picture. Your image should support or reinforce your profile and the interactions you have with others in your social networking world. When people I have met in the online world meet me for the first time more often than not they ask “Where is your hat?”

Being effective in the social networking world has a lot more to do with common sense and basic marketing principals. There is no “secret formula”. A couple of marketing quotes which are powerful in marketing are very appropriate in the world of social networking:

1. You can’t put 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag.

2. You can’t bore people into buying products of services from you.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto

2 thoughts on “How To Use Social Media To Win Friends And Influence People

  1. Pam Giordano

    Great common sense advice, especially the part about not boring people into buying from you. Another key point: in everything you do, focus on benefits for your readers. Too many people are stuck on “I” when they should be focusing on “you.”

    1. Neil McKenzie Post author

      Pam, great points! You are so right that people need to focus on the benefits to their readers and focus on “you” rather than “I”. Talking only about yourself is probably only effective in the realm of “celebrity” and most of us aren’t celebrities! Thank you for your comment.

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