Social Media

The Flaw in the Social Media Consultant Concept…

Back in 2006, when I was in the process of selling the hosting business, I talked with a friend about working with her as a consultant. I knew what I wanted to do – I wanted to help people get their brands online and generate buzz from the community. I didn’t realize though that this was an emerging trend at the time of Social Media Consultants – I just thought it was a cool idea. I didn’t do it at the time because all of the sudden I was going through all the challenges of setting up a wedding photography business – and getting a workflow really flowing is hard, no matter how prepared you think you are.

To be honest, I still think it is a cool idea when you dig down to the core concept behind it. The problem is that there are so many people out there that will tell you that you can hire them as a Social Media Consultant … so they can tell you to start a blog, get on Twitter, and place some ads on Facebook.

That isn’t what Social Media is about. Well not the bulk of it. And they are turning it into a trendy buzz word. The flaw is in so much bad advice out there, be touted by people that don’t know much.

Social media is about getting people to talk about you. It is no different then marketing before the latest buzz term came along. You have a product, and you want people to know about it. You then find any avenue possible — and preferably narrow your target down to the best possible paths to follow — and start to get the word out. Same package, new label.

The key? You have to engage with the community.

And in this day and age, where transparency is becoming more and more important, it should be *you* doing the engaging if you’re a small business. It isn’t something you can really hire someone else to do for you – your tweets should come from you. Especially in the case of creatives. We’re marketing the experience of working with US. It is a very specific experience. It is what makes you unique, and it is what sells you.

There are fabulous Social Media Consultants out there, and they can definitely help you hone what you’re doing so it is excellent. But before you hire them, maybe just try going out there and being nice? Building relationships? Making friends? I love the internet because I can become friends with someone in London and someone just a mile down the road. It flattens everything – take advantage of that! Genuinely connect with people – you’ll be amazed at what happens!

Then if you need help building a campaign, go for it! Use these 10 tips for evaluating a social media expert as a good place to start to make sure you’re getting the right one! (I really love this article because it is so true!)

BlahBlahBabble Picture Time

I’m Famous on the Internet…

I’ve joked about being famous on the Internet for years now, and I’ve known many internet celebrities over time thanks to blogging. But when I took up photography full time, I thought I was leaving my “geek life” behind. It made me sort of sad.

Then, as time went on, my internet geek life and my photographer life started to overlap again. Only logical – there are some things that are so much a part of you you just can’t give them up. I started blogging on PhotoLoveCat last fall, which was a HUGE honor for me. I love giving back to the community what I can, and it was a blast getting to have my geek life (Twitter, blogging, facebook, etc.) to be a part of my photography life.

I was still caught off guard when Ron Dawson asked me to be on his podcast, F-Stop Beyond. I’ve listened to the show for ages, but honestly never expected to be a guest. I’ve had a podcast before, but I was still super nervous when we started the show – not because of the podcast, but dude! It is Ron Dawson! zOMG! (Yeah, I know. You’re rolling your eyes at me right now. Laugh. It is ok.)

As of today, you can now hear me talk about how I feel about things like Web 2.0 and how it all relates to photography. The world? It is changing. I’m looking forward to the ride! Listen to the show here, or subscribe to it in iTunes. And try not to mock me too much for my secret about Star Wars, ok?