My Experience with Social Media Marketing

Over the past 6 monLEK-Photo-Logo-20121015-4ths, 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.

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Website Activity and Junk Mail

I’ve often marveled at the fact that I get 6K-10K visits to my website each month (www.earthwatcher.us). I’ve also suspected that much of that traffic is from web crawlers. If you aren’t aware of web crawlers, they are programs that constantly search the internet to glean information they can use for various purposes. Sites like Google and Bing use them to populate their search engines with web sites with which they can link keywords to speed their search results. I’ve recently begun using Google Analytics to analyze the traffic to my site. This week was a slow week because I haven’t posted any new images. So, it was a good week to examine the traffic. Interestingly, about 80% of my traffic originated in Russia. Every one of those visits hit my homepage then dropped off; they didn’t look at images. They hit my site daily looking for something. I get more than 100 junk emails every day, many from hot young Russian women looking for love. I suspect these searches are how they found my email address so they can provide me with so many opportunities. I’ll be analyzing my traffic further. Maybe I can find some other interesting tidbits to share.

Regards

Larry

All images posted on this site, my website, http://www.earthwatcher.us, and other sites are available for sale by contacting me at larry@earthwatcher.us or directly through my website.

Keywords

You are looking for an image of Half Dome at Yosemite.  You use a search engine like Google or Bing or even Pinterest.  You key “Half Dome image” for your search and up pops a search result with hundreds, if not thousands, of images for you to view.   You may not be aware that you just asked your search engine to go through its database to find websites that have the key words Half Dome and image embedded then display them in the search results.  Search engines employ web crawlers, sometimes referred to as bots, which continuously move through the internet hitting web site after web site finding and cataloging key words and linking those keywords to the site so that search results are quickly displayed.  So, as you can see, having some well-crafted keywords in your website is very important.

So, how do you craft keywords to be useful?  You need to make them specific.  This morning, a search on Yosemite yielded 52.6 million results, Half Dome yielded 5.7 million results and half dome images yielded 7.5 million results.    When I narrowed my search to Half Dome images sunset, it whittled the list to 270,000 results.  If you are posting a sunset image of Half Dome, those words should be used as keywords.  If you are posting a watercolor, you need to say that too.   If it is location specific, it also helps to tag your image with a location.  Another important consideration is phrasing,  Here you try to guess what someone might enter as a search request and create keywords that are phrases; something like “Half Dome images”.  So you might use this set of keywords: Half Dome, Half Dome images, Half Dome sunset, Half Dome sunset images, sunset images.  The list needs to be accurate and meaningful.

Are keywords going to bring you to the top of the search results?  No!  What industry experts call Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is a mysterious technology that is closely guarded by each search provider.  Many people claim to be experts at SEO but what I have read is that no one has really cracked the code.  Still, keywords are still important.  They are the method that gets you on the search result list.  After getting your keywords in order, find some big name celebrity like Jennifer Lopez to recommend your site to her followers so you can trend and get to the top of the results.

Good luck with keywords.

Larry