Are Facebook and Twitter Really Free?

Facebook and Twitter are technically Free in that there is no charge for the actual service, but Social Media Marketing is far from Free. As you have heard, social media marketing takes time.  The basic idea behind social media marketing is that people like to do business with people they know and social media sites like twitter and Facebook give you an opportunity for potential clients to “get to know” you and your business.  A friendship can take a long time to develop, 3000 friends can take ever extra minute in your life if you don’t use social media correctly.

I use social media for my photography studio to market to my local high seniors.  While I would to think that I am so cool that all my 2300 local seniors that are my Facebook Friends would want to be my actual friends, in reality we are never going to hang out together, that would be a little creepy for all of us.  We are friends in same way a teacher or counselor is your friend and in my case that means my senior friends think my photography and photography studio are cool and they love having their pictures posted on Facebook as well as seeing their actual friends pictures on Facebook.  I say this not to make fun of the whole “friend” thing, but you have to realize that a high school senior has little interest in my daily activities, like when I am having coffee or picking up children up from school.  This means that I don’t personalize my posts with the mundane personal things that my actual friends and family would read through and at least pretend they were interested in.

This is a good thing however, personalizing your posts takes time, time that I really don’t have.  My seniors are very happy with our friendship.  I realize that when it comes to marketing everyone is tuned in to one radio station, wiifm (what’s in it for me!)  I post information and photos that pertain to them personally (and they will be interested in) and once in a while I post something more personal that allows them to see me more as a person/friend, but even then I tie it in to something that is a benefit or be of  interest to them. This is the fastest content to produce.  Top ten lists, how to prepare for a black and white session, how to apply your make-up, etc. are content rich posts that are fast to produce.  Which in turn reduces the cost of your marketing, since time is money.

I use Facebook, Twitter, My Space, YouTube and Gather.com to market my books.  These are people who are or could actually be my friends in the conventional sense of the word.  These are people closer to my age, who have the same interests as I do and that like the “social” part of social media.  I enjoy interacting with both my seniors and my photographer friends, but there is much more interaction with my photographer friends because we have much more in common.  I find when I am sitting at my computer that I check all my social media accounts.  I make comments on interesting posts, answer the many questions that photographers have and generally be a part of the conversation because it is enjoyable, but it takes up time and that increases the cost of your marketing.

It is important to account for your time and realize how much of your time on Social Media is spent marketing and how much time is spent socializing.  Many photographers that don’t use social media complain about the amount of time some photographers spend on their Facebook or twitter, but don’t account for how much of this time is spent socializing and not marketing.  The marketing of my books is done fairly quickly, but my interest in my photographer friends and my socializing with them is something I can’t add to the cost of my Social Media Marketing.  I do this to interact with my peers.

You have two problems here, one is that for social media to work, the people you market to must become at least familiar or friendly with you as a person to want to do business with you as a professional.  When marketing to groups that you have little in common with, you must force yourself to add “Social” content to better connect with those you want to market to.  Twitter is over run with business people that don’t understand this fact; every post has a link to a “free something” they are giving away to get you to buy what they are selling.  These people are strictly marketing on a social site, which most people (especially on twitter) resent.

The second problem is when you have too much in common with those you market to.  People will either share too much personal information and creep out their Social Friends or spend way too much time Socializing so they end up with no personal life that isn’t computer related.  When you find out what your husband, wife and/or children are doing from her twitter update, you might have a problem!  There has to be a balance and you have to account for the time you actually are marketing (as opposed to socializing) to keep track of your actual time spent/cost.

There are tools which can also help you keep up your social media presence without having to constantly monitor and update your Social Media Sites.  When I post this blog it updates my twitter account, which in turn updates my Facebook so I have saved time, as well as driving traffic to all my content.  YouTube and gather.com have one click sharing for my videos and articles which make updates on my twitter, Facebook and My Space with a single click.

To keep your time on Social Media from getting out of control, update you Social Media first thing in the morning and again at night, then go shopping on ebay or talk to your wife or children (offline). If you use Social Media to Socialize, keep that time to Socialize separate from your time to market to keep the perceived cost of Social Media from getting out of control.  Another way to cut the cost/time using Social Media is to create your online content in your down time and offline.  I have written 12 books and countless articles while waiting for sessions to show up, waiting for personal appointments, waiting for my wife to finish shoe shopping, etc.  When you have downtime don’t get on phone and post short boring messages from you I-Phone or Blackberry.  Pull out your laptop and create your planned content and save it to post later.  Then when you want to update you blog or Facebook just copy and paste.  Social Media is very new in the scheme of things and it will take us all some time to figure out the most effective ways to use.  Design your posts to fit your friends and keep the time you are marketing to a minimum.

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on January 10, 2010.

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