You have a wide swath of options when it comes to getting your name out, creating a following, or otherwise marketing yourself. The problem is, you may not be marketing yourself in ways you want, or thought of, if you are not sensitive to the realities of todays' instant-access world. The key is to stay on the reservation - your reservation.
You are reading this blog, either on Blogspot, or via RSS, so you have a baseline of understanding. However, you may not be aware of how your presence on facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or your tweets on Twitter, could be having an adverse effect on you, and your business.
Rob Haggert over at A Photo Editor wrote awhile back "Facebook and Twitter Lost Me an Advertising Shoot" (4/22/09), while on the other hand, six days later, Photo Focus wrote "How Photographers Can Use Twitter as a Marketing Tool" (4/28/09), which illustrates the yin and yang of social networking.
Recognizing that you are a business - whom would you allow your employees to "friend" if you had employees? If your full-time office manager lists your most aggressive competition in your area as a "friend", would you be concerned? Would you allow your post-production/retoucher to tweet out things like "OMG, I have this fattie to slim down 50 lbs from a portrait shoot my boss did today"? How about the assistant who, mid-shoot, tweets "I am on this shoot for XYZ Company, and the client is a PITA!" Consider that before the shoot ends, a Google Alert for XYZ Company likely went to the PR department, and you could get a call, or worse yet, fired from the shoot, thanks to your assistant.
Stories abound about people not getting jobs because of what they wrote or photos of them on facebook, or MySpace, just as much as they are out there for people getting fired for the same reason.
Just as you would be blindsided by the responses to the above tweets or facebook status updates, you need to be very conscious about your social-networking presence, and how it reflects on you and your business. Are you tweeting "a photo a day", or maybe sending out an inspirational message, or are you just recounting the trials and tribulations of the day?
If you feel you just have to speak your mind, and If you have an account for "john smith" on twitter and EVERYONE knows you there, try an account that is not connected to you like "js12345abc" which you share only with a few friends you want to be frank with. Also, don't mention business names or other identifiers in your tweets/messages that could get indexed by Google/et al and be sent to that company's PR department. Having a separate, anonymous, twitter account for your closest friends could allow you the ability to be "yourself" without ruining your online reputation as it relates to your business.
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