Social Media, as defined by Wikipedia:
Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences
Social media (and social media marketing) isn't specifically about the internet -- it is all about having conversations with your clients, your peers, your community! The internet is the vehicle for this conversation to take place.
Magazines and other types of marketing only let you talk to people. It doesn't allow for the back & forth interaction of the internet. Social media is about blogs, forums, podcasts, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, RSS feeds, anything online that helps you communicate your message to others - and anything that allows the people listen to you to engage in a conversation with you easily online.
You never know who might be a part of your social media circle. It can be between you, potential clients, other photographers, magazine editors - you name it! It is a conversation that isn't organized, controlled, and doesn't always even have to be a business related message. You're a lot more likely to be heard if the messages you put out there are vibrant and fun, business related and even personal things. The key is to create value for the people you reach.
There is a lot of media out there. We are bombarded by it all, all the time. Social media helps you connect by having a conversation. It is a way for you to stand out among the crowd. Bonus? It doesn't cost anything. All it takes is time.
How should you use social media?
Lets start with the basics. (I'll get into different types of social media outlets in later posts.) Think of it like one big mix and mingle type of party. Everyone is sharing, talking about whatever they want. Work, friends, their life in general. The party is fun, and you want to meet a lot of people. Sometimes, they are people you can help and that can help you.
Now imagine if over in the corner there is one person, always saying "Look at me! Look at me!" They are only asking for your attention, but they aren't a part of the conversation. They are just talking about themselves. Do you really want to listen to them? NO. You would much rather go over and talk to someone that wants to have a conversation.
It is just like at a party, and sometimes you might find someone really fascinating when you don't expect it. Mingle. Get your word out there -- but be sure to listen too! Be a part of the conversation, and you'll be surprised where social media can take you!
Don't talk to us as if you've forgotten how to speak. Don't make us feel small. Remind us to be larger. Get a little of the human touch. - The Cluetrain Manifesto
Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.