how Social Media helps business

Case Study : Sara McConnell Photography

I’ve known Sara since before she started her photography business and watched as she fell naturally into the world of social media.  Since starting her business she has done amazing things to grow her business using social media… particularly with the use of her blog, Twitter and Facebook. And on a personal note, Sara is the one who took the stellar headshots of me features on this blog :)

About Sara’s business:

Sara McConnell Photography provides on-location and studio portrait sessions in Ottawa, Ontario, combining traditional portraiture with candid photojournalism.  I specialize in breastfeeding, child, couple, family, maternity, portrait, and newborn photography.

How actively involved are you in social media to promote your business?

Since I went into business in November 2010 I have actively used different social media channels to promote my business.  When I first got involved in social media in the spring of 2010 it was with the intent of connecting with other parents and bloggers in the Ottawa community; at the time, I wasn’t planning to go into business for myself.  When I launched my company last year I found an incredibly supportive network of people through Twitter and Facebook who were actively involved in sharing the news of my business venture.

On a daily basis I use my business blog, Facebook, and Twitter to interact with different communities of people around Ottawa.  On my blog I share images from sessions, promotions or contests, as well as posts (‘Around Town’) about places I’ve visited in Ottawa with my family.  Facebook has been a great way to quickly and easily share sneak peeks from recent sessions as well as solicit feedback from people about favourite places to take pictures, favourite props etc.  I also have a personal project, 365:Brothers, where I take a photo of my two boys together everyday for a year. I’ve been posting these images on Facebook and I love hearing from others about which of the photos are their favourites.

What has been the most successful tool in getting you more exposure or clients?

I’ve had equal success with my blog, Facebook, and Twitter when it comes to connecting with clients.  Clients will often forward the blog post link from the session sneak peak to friends and family and I often receive emails 24-48 hours after a post has gone live from individuals interested in booking sessions.  Clients whose images have been posted on Facebook often share the picture with others and enquiries about sessions often start with “A friend on Facebook…”.  What has surprised me the most is the number of people who have contacted me through Twitter about my services.  Over the course of the day I will tweet anywhere from 2-5 links or comments specific to my business but my account is mainly used for personal purposes and the majority of people who contact me have interacted with me related to some other topic (parenting, running etc) and not photography.

What would you tell other business owners about the value of using social media for their business?

Being an entrepreneur and working from home can be an isolating experience but thanks to the connections I’ve made through Twitter and Facebook I have a support system of other Ottawa-based entrepreneurs.  I have working relationships with several Ottawa businesses, which we cross promote using different social media channels, and I also have a support system that I can turn to when I’m faced with a challenge.

Sara has a contest (closes September 15) where you could win a Fall mini-session and also has a special promotion for her Fall mini-sessions.  If you’re looking for some great Fall/Holiday shots and you’re in the Ottawa area, I definitely recommend you check her out!

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Case Studies : Family Physiotherapy Centre (Orleans)

I first met Jason when my friend Vicky suddenly had her knee buckle out from under her last Fall.  A few tweets to figure out the urgency of having her injury treated and she had found a local physiotherapist to help her out (Jason, in case you hadn’t figured that out :))

Since then I’ve been to Jason to help me with my headaches (he solved it in two sessions when countless massages were just a bandaid to the tension headaches that had been plaguing me for months), and I can think of several others who have been to see him after meeting him online.

Jason is a great example of how twitter can help build a client base, but there’s more. Because of him, I have joined the Orleans Chamber of Commerce - an organization that has been helping tremendously with my business. I am now helping the Chamber get more active in social media and hopefully will get many of their members online as well.

All because Vicky hurt her knee and tweeted about it. Twitter is awesome. (and vicky’s knee is doing much better!)

Jason is the manager of the Orleans location of Family Physiotheraphy Centre and answered a few questions about how he’s been using social media.

About Jason’s business

Family Physiotherapy Centre is a dynamic forward thinking physiotherapy service provider that strives to help every client minimize their pain and maximize their mobility by delivering researched based Best Practice programs of care based on the complexity of every case that they treat. They’ve been providing outstanding professional service to patients in Eastern Ontario since 1999. They deliver their services in state of the art Wellness Centres which provides each client with an environment that promotes privacy and peace of mind.

The Orleans location is a 2200 sq.ft. Wellness Centre designed to offer clients a positive experience by providing them with an unmatched professional healthcare environment. Equipped with the most modern modalities and private treatment rooms coupled with professional staff that offer a variety of therapy options makes this Wellness Centre Orleans’s foremost multi-disciplinary rehabilitation centre. The centre opened in late fall 2010 and offers a variety of services such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, custom orthotics, senior’s fitness program and occupational therapy

How actively involved are you in social media to promote your business?

My business is not very active in social media, though I do have a Facebook page  and a business Twitter account for my clinic. However, I quickly realized that people want to make a connection with an actual person, not someone hidden behind a company name. I’ve had a personal Facebook page for years but never utilized it to it’s full potential. I created a personal profile on Twitter  early in the new year and not long after that I started making real connections that actually translated to increased business. Now I solely focus on my personal accounts, but I do make reference to the business accounts.


What has been the most successful tool in getting you more exposure or clients?

I would have to say that Twitter has been the most successful tool thus far. I’ve been able to connect with a number of business people that I would never have been able to with traditional business networking. This has also facilitated conversation when meeting someone in person who I have been following online with Twitter.

I’ve also been connected with people who were specifically looking for a physiotherapist or a health care professional that could help them with their pain or injuries. I’ve made a handful of clients not only for myself, but for other health professionals in my company or other therapists in my profession. The social media world seems to be very vast, but yet it’s a quite a tight-knit community, so positive experiences have led to a number of word of mouth referrals.

What would you tell other business owners about the value of using social media for their business?

It’s quite obvious that social media is another tool to help your business get exposure or clients. It doesn’t cost anything in terms of dollars or cents, but rather it’s the time you put into it. If you are willing to take the time to make connections and build relationships, people are more likely to think of you when they need something you sell or require a service you provide. Social media is new to a lot of people, but using social media can be helpful to learn new business strategies or discovering tools from people who may have more experience online.

What tip would you offer to others about social media?

Social media networking is exactly as the name indicates: social and networking. It’s a forum that allows us to network online, but it comes down to being social. It’s about making a connection with others, instead of trying hard sale tactics. Being too aggressive turns people away and that is no different then conventional networking events or opportunities. If you wouldn’t do it in face to face meeting, you shouldn’t do it online either.

Thank you Jason for taking the time to answer these questions. If you’re in Orleans and are having any chronic pains, or have an injury that needs taking care of - I highly recommend you go see him. They also do custom orthotics if that’s something you’re looking for.

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Case Studies: DeGrace Energetic & Little Lotus Yoga

I am starting a new series on my blog demonstrating how Social Media helps businesses.  Amanda is a great example of how I think social media grows your business best. She doesn’t push her business, but has made many contacts and gained many opportunities for her businesses through the connections she’s made online. I asked her a few questions and here are her answers:

About Amanda’s businesses:

“DeGrace Energetics is a wellness & lifestyle consulting company with emphasis on our Little Lotus Yoga programs.  Little Lotus Yoga was created with the whole family in mind, bringing yoga to all ages and stages of life.  We offer programs from Prenatal & Mom & Baby Yoga all the way to adult yoga programs.  Little Lotus was the very first company to offer “on your own” preschool yoga programs for 2-5 year olds in the Ottawa area.  DeGrace Energetics also offers personal training services, group fitness and holistic wellness programs.  Through my involvement within the industry I continue to be blessed with wonderful opportunities of presenting at fitness and wellness conferences across Canada and am involved in training many professionals.”

How actively involved are you in social media to promote your business?

“I would say that I am not really active in promoting my business through social media. I have a facebook fan page) and a business twitter account that I utilize but not near as much as my personal accounts.  I think its important that people actually “see” the face behind each business and find that I tend to communicate mostly through my personal accounts with references to the companies.  I don’t feel I “push” my business through different SM mediums.  I think you should build the conversation, create the networks and the business will follow through afterwards.”

What has been the most successful tool in getting you more exposure or clients? 

“Twitter! I have had the opportunity to meet so many fabulous people through Twitter.  I would never have had the time or ability to meet so many wonderful business owners, parents, bloggers, social media enthusiasts, people local to the Ottawa area and beyond!  The relationships I have developed are amazing.  I have created true friendships and have seen my business grow just through word of mouth on twitter.  I also love taking the online to offline through tweet ups, events and other activities.”

What would you tell other business owners about the value of using social media for their business?

Social Media has changed the way I do business!  My marketing has not had to be as active as most of my work has been coming through connections made online.  Through twitter and facebook I have built relationships with families, parents, and individuals within the Ottawa area and have seen many of these friends and acquaintances become clients or they have directly referred their friends and families to our programs.  There is great value within Social Media as long as you take the approach that building relationships and participating in conversations comes before any business marketing or info.

 Amanda has become a personal friend of mine through twitter and I highly recommend her yoga classes. Check out the Little Lotus Yoga schedule on their web site!

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