Over the past 6 months, I have been experimenting with social media marketing. Some people do phenomenally well. My experience hasn’t been so good. I have had my website (www.earthwatcher.us) and my business page on Facebook (Earthwatcher) for several years. I have 317 followers on Facebook but my posts reach only 100 – 150 viewers. Over the past month, I’ve had over 400 visits to my website. But that number is misleading – mostly phishing by web crawlers that drop off after opening the home page. I have an email mailing list of 60+ recipients. I’ve opened sites on Twitter (@EarthwatcherPho), Pinterest (Earthwatcher), Instagram (Earthwatcherphoto) and a blog site on WordPress (EarthwatcherPhoto).
Like traditional marketing, social media marketing is a tool to spread information about the product you have to sell and to spread it to as large an audience as possible. All with the hope that some of them will like and buy your product. Traditional marketing, TV and Radio Ads, Newspaper Ads, flyers in the mail, etc. pushes your ad to prospective buyers with the hope they will respond by purchasing and also will tell their friends who, in turn will do the same. I.e. it is a means of networking. Social media marketing is exactly the same approach but with a different means of delivery. Unlike traditional delivery methods, the internet gives us the ability to reach unprecedented numbers of potential buyers.
We’ve all heard of YouTube videos or Twitter Tweets that ”go viral”. Going viral is the internet version of a fast moving gossip chain. People share the news with friends who share with other friends and so on. The key to successful social media marketing is to create that gossip chain; have followers who will share your posts and encourage others to do so. That is the point where I struggle. I get views but few shares. I also find that most of my followers are friends, family and other photographers. I appreciate them all but they aren’t buyers.
I know that the answer is both deceptively simple and incredibly hard. You need a product that people want to buy and you have to find the people who want to buy it. Having good keywords, words that people will use when searching for a product, in your product description, is a very important ingredient. That helps you with search engines. But search engines also use the amount of activity, i.e. the number of searches, to position you in the results list. So, without activity, i.e. shares, you most likely end up hundreds of pages down the list. Following others, sharing their work, is important also. Helping others link to potential buyers by sharing encourages them to help you.
I certainly haven’t solved this problem. But, I keep trying.