I'm obsessed with social media, probably more than I should be. But it's also part of my day job, so I take in as much as I can learn about the subject. I Google everything, I no longer own a phone book because if I need to find something I just go online. As time goes on I believe more and more people will get most of their information via the web be it Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Now, I also believe that positive word of mouth is huge too, so don't think that I put all my eggs in the social media basket, but I do believe it helps.
I signed up for my Twitter account 6 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes, 9 seconds ago. And in that time I've Tweeted just over 1,100 times. I talk about everything, not just my photography business. I'm currently doing Biggest Loser at my day job and Tuesday mornings you can check my page and see what I weigh in at (I know, bold move). I talk about meeting up with other people I'm friends with on Twitter, the weather, sports, and just life in general. I think to talk solely about your business is missing out on a big part of the Twitter experience. I've gained some cool local followers who also own small businesses, met some great photographers who live on the other side of the country or world for that matter and get my daily dish on the celebrities I follow. I get the chance to learn about new sales and promotions from the vendors I use and also read new blog posts from marketing gurus I follow.
I'm currently looking for some dog models for a pet photography project I would like to do in the spring. I've already photographed most of my friend's dogs and wanted to meet some new pups and people. I created a blog post about what I was looking for and how to apply, then I Tweeted about it. One of the local pet groomers saw my Tweet and re-tweeted it to their followers. In turn, I had 3 local people send in their information! So for my 10-15 minutes to write the blog post and link it to Twitter I made contact with 3 people who didn't know about me prior. And best of all, I didn't have to spend a dime on marketing my project. I think 3 new local connections is a big deal. These people may or may not participate in my project, but they now will think of me if anyone they know is interested in pet photography.
So, if you're not on Twitter (or Facebook or LinkedIn for that matter) I think you should take the time and set-up an account. But, just like anything on the internet, make sure you only allow x amount of time a day or week for social networking. I've been caught in the trap a many of times that I plan on sitting down and working on something and end up on Facebook or Twitter for the entire evening.
If you do jump into Twitter, make sure you follow me and say hello! My Twitter page is http://twitter.com/DanielleNeil.
And if you're totally confused about Twitter, Mashable has a great Twitter Guide Book that will give you the basics and more on building your Twitter page and all the do's and don'ts. The Mashable Guide Book is completely free and has tons of useful information! Happy Tweeting!!