Entrepreneurs, listen up! Every Jim, Jane and Nancy claims to be a social media expert. In this fast-paced world of ever-changing technology, the term “social media expert” is a little ridiculous. Sure, there are people who are crafted at leading others to powerful strategies. But, I highly doubt any of them would consider themselves to be actual experts. Because, you see, as soon as they’ve mastered everything from yesterday, a bunch of new stuff launches and they have to learn everything all over again. (So, please be skeptical if you meet someone who calls themselves an “expert” – at anything really. There is always something new to learn, and no one is an actual expert!)
What’s my point to all of this? That you are your own best teacher. Be proactive about staying up-to-date on current trends, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Also, figure out what works for YOU, specifically. Just because you have a business, you don’t necessarily need to invest hours into every single social media site out there. (In fact, don’t waste all of your marketing energy on solely social media.) And you don’t have to use it the same as everyone else does. In fact that’s my whole point in writing this post today – that you need to find out what works for YOU, and take anything said by others with a grain of salt. (That includes, what I’m going to tell ya.) Actually, that goes for all aspects of your business. Not just social media.
Today, I would like to share the different ways that I use social media to build my personal and professional brand, and what different social media means to me. (I say “brand” singular, because for me, personal and professional overlap.)
Facebook – Personal
Here I am referring to just my regular personal account, not my business page. I use Facebook to connect with my friends and family, support others, inspire, be inspired and really get quite a bit of socialization in. Because I actually engage with people more than the average Joe, I find that when I do mention my business, it doesn’t come across as spammy or inappropriate. Some “experts” will tell you not to promote your business on your personal Facebook, and I think in many cases that’s true. But for someone like me who contributes in so many ways on Facebook that have absolutely nothing to do with my business, it’s not a turn-off when I do, very occassionally, mention my business. I am very active on Facebook, I actually engage with other people, I give back to others, it’s not just about “me, me, me,” and only about 10% of my posts are business-related. And because my business and personal life are so well aligned, I think business posts come across as authentic and appropriate.
My personal page is in no way a reflection of who I am as a business. On my personal page, I do occasionally post strong opinions that are sometimes maybe even a little more controversial in nature, and I allow myself to share with like-minded individuals and people who accept me – differing beliefs and all. But would I want those opinions to be a direct reflection of my business? Hell no!… which is why I am very selective about who has access to my private Facebook page. Still, since everyone I know, via Facebook, could be a potential client, I do ask myself before every post, “Is this something that a potential client would be turned off by?” If the answer is yes, I usually don’t post it.
Now, let’s dive into my business page, Gina Mizzoni Photography. Here is where I stay 100% professional. It’s where I’ve spent three years building a community of sorts (in fact I started with a Facebook biz page BEFORE I created my website – a decision some “experts” may argue with, but it worked for ME). If you actively follow that page, then you’ve seen me post photos from shoots, behind-the-scenes shots, inspirational quotes, and general creative-ignition articles. I feel that every single one of us is an artist, whether we know it or not. We are all creative. And the someday bigger vision for my little, itty bitty rose bud of a company is to extend beyond just photography, to art healing and creative entrepreneur mentoring. I will always be a photographer, but I’d like to have a coaching aspect to what I do as well… but that is way down the road. I’ll cross that lil’ bridge when I come to it. 😉
Never will you see me post anything controversial on Gina Mizzoni Photography Facebook Page. I think it is extremely inappropriate when businesses share their political and religious beliefs, or just anything that could be misconstrued. Your business page is not the place for it – unless, of course, religion or politics are part of your brand. They certainly are NOT a part of mine.
And one more thing about business pages on Facebook, you may decide to start with this BEFORE you create your website. Many will disagree and say “No. You have to have a website before a Facebook business page.” For some lifestyle businesses, it’s totally okay to launch through Facebook, get to know your demographic and THEN create your website. Especially if your leads come from Facebook. Perfectly fine. (But just remember that can be tricky, and only works for certain types of businesses, and I hope you are not just relying on Facebook for marketing.) Just plan on having your website up and running as soon as possible.
People are constantly telling me that Instagram is great for photographers and I should be posting all my professional photos, and using it to promote my business and blah blah. Well, for me, personally, my Instagram is an outlet I use for sharing behind-the-scenes Gina. And, right now, my clients are more local based, and through Instragram, you connect with people from all over the world. (Down the road, that will come in handy for my business.) But right now, I use it for visual journaling. I believe that my business is an extension of myself and, thus, I share my personal story through Instragram. Sometimes this includes behind-the-scenes shots, and captures from my actual paid shoots. But most of the time, I just post smart-phone pics of my cooking, dogs, and glimpses into my everyday life. I want my friends and clients to know who I am. Instagram is for personal, but non-opinionated Gina to share. I’ve been receiving a few compliments on my Instagram account lately, which is really nice to hear and must mean I’m doing something right with it. 😉
The purpose of my Twitter account is one I am still trying to establish. For me, it’s kind of become more like Instagram, where I share more personal things. I think down the road, when my business extends beyond solely a location-based one, I will really use it to its full potential, connecting with potential clients from all over the world. For now, it is another place to share the personal Gina. I am a little more uncensored in Twitter, which is why I don’t actively promote it to followers.
So there ya have it! I have covered the biggest social media sites and how I use them to build my personal and professional brands. Just as my every aspect of business evolves, I’m sure the ways I use these tools will change as well. We’ll just have to see… I would love to hear from you in the comments below, and I invite you to “like” my business Facebook page, and if you’d like to get to know the behind-the-scenes Gina, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
__Post photo taken at Central Park in Rancho Cucamonga, CA by Gina Mizzoni. Exposure: F/3.5, 1/200 sec, ISO 100__
Gina Mizzoni Photography offers custom lifestyle photography services for men, women, businesses and families. Let Las Vegas photographer Gina capture your inner light, your most precious moments, your life. Contact us to book your appointment today. For more information about our many photography offerings, check out About, FAQs and Investment. (Psst! Gina is also a writer, so if you need rockin’ copy, she’s your chick.)