Own A Strategy, Not Just A Social-Media PageBefore diving into specific strategies, it's important to emphasize that there's no one right way to make use of social-media websites to grow your business, just as there's no one right way to take a photo. Similar to photography, social-media marketing is a creative endeavor. With the right mind-set, you can find ways to creatively market your business and offerings in ways that would have been difficult, if not impossible, as recently as six years ago.
The three most notable social-media strategies are long-tail content, community-building and curation. You can employ one or all of these strategies to achieve your business goals, although I'd recommend pursuing and excelling at one before you aggressively try to juggle two or three of them. It's also important to note that all of the strategies discussed here aren't quick wins, but tactics that make notable differences over longer periods of time (six to 12 months and beyond). At first, this may be disheartening, but as you look at others you consider to be successful social-media marketers, you'll see they have been at this for some time, and it wasn't just a quick overnight development.
Long-Tail ContentThe premise of the "long tail" is that more can be found in a nonstandard probability distribution curves tail than its head (see the diagram). Examples were highlighted by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article and later in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. While Amazon and Apple's iTunes are often noted as examples to this theory with books and music (where surprisingly, to many, sales volume of the top 40 best sellers at any one time are dwarfed when compared to cumulative lower-volume sales of the remaining inventory), the same principles can apply to any company.
In the realm of a photography business, albeit on a much smaller scale, the long-tail effect is equally relevant as it relates to content. Rather than look solely for short-term gains with the production of your content where you might grab a lot of attention at once, continually and regularly add to a growing online portfolio of images, articles, blog posts and social updates. True to the core concept of the long-tail theory, the more you produce and place online, the more likely your audience will find you over time, and simultaneously, you'll find a larger audience. Long-tail-content strategies facilitate fan growth, increase website traffic, improve search-engine-result rankings, increase sales and business leads, and increase sales opportunities.