Web Tools Objective

The tools that I am going to highlight in this portfolio are the tools that I believe will be useful for me in achieving my goals towards my digital photography business that I hope to have up and running soon. The first three tools that I will show are tools that I am already familiar with or am already using towards that goal. The last two web tools that I are tools that I would like to learn more about and use going forward.

Google Tools

Google Voice is another tool that I currently use, and will be a great tool for my business. I originally signed up for this service a few years ago when it was first offered, because we had eliminated our land-line and I did not want to have to put down my actual phone number when it was required for entering contests etc. since I did not want solicitor calls coming in on my cellphone.

"Google Voice is probably the best kept secret in modern day Internet 'telephony' (the convergence of traditional voice and Internet technology) mainly because it can come across as complicated, but it's well worth exploring. 

The best part is that unless you have very complicated needs, test-driving this free service is a no-brainer. The smaller the business, the more likely that Google Voice can provide value.  If you are like most small businesses with limited resources, you can use Google Voice to never miss a call because it can ring all of your telephones (cell, home, work, etc.) at the same time. It's sort of like a free digital assistant that can track you down wherever you are."  

When I signed up for Google Voice, I entered my area code, and then it listed several different phone numbers that I could choose from. While I have not explored all the many options that Google Voice offers, I do use it on my cell phone and I love it! This Google Voice number is the one that I plan on using for my advertising purposes, and will have it printed out on business cards. This way I do not have to pay for a business phone, nor do I have to worry about giving out my personal cell phone number. I can set the business calls up with a different ring tone, so I know right away when my phone rings, and can answer with a business greeting rather than 'hello'.

Since I had originally set this number up as a way to not give out my primary number, Google Voice gives me the option of changing my number (for a one time $10 fee) or adding a second number (for a one time $20 fee), but since I can log into my Google account and view the usage history on this account (bonus points for record keeping!) I see that I have only received a handful of calls to this number since I signed up for it, so I know it will be OK to keep this number active.

To read the rest of the very informative article quoted above, click on this link:  http://www.abc15.com/dpp/money/consumer/data_doctor/what-is-google-voice-should-i-use-it#ixzz2SR9oQCO4

Social Bookmarks

The 1st tool that I would like to become more familiar with and use for the "make" portion of my digital photography business is StumbleUpon.com. I wrote about in my web tools blog so I won't focus this on what it is, rather than what it can do for my business. (http://mywebtoolsblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/social-bookmarks/

If you have spent any time at all on Facebook, you have seen the memes (an image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another) that are circulated throughout the site. The "make" example from above would make an excellent meme just by throwing some words on it, and posting it. 

So what does this have to do with StumbleUpon.com you might ask? By taking my images, and creating pictures, or memes, this can be a source of revenue by selling them directly to the public as is or custom ordered with different sayings for example. StumbleUpon.com would be a very useful tool to have attached to any photograph or picture that I upload to any social media anywhere, as it gives the viewer the option to share my media, and I can see where it is going, and how it is being used.  This is a tool that I need to learn more about, but from the little I have explored with it, I can already tell that this is one tool that I do not want to be without.  http://StumbleUpon

Social Networking

The 2nd tool that I need to explore more and start using once my business is up and running will be LinkedIn. Social networking will play an important part of building my business, and by incorporating my business profile with my existing personal LinkedIn profile, I have an immediate audience. I currently have 84 connections, and these are all people that I worked with previously. While they may not be able to give any references or recommendations on my photography skills, this is still a valuable tool in building my reputation, since my connections certainly could cast some insight to my reliability, trustworthiness, and overall character.

I have seen a lot of one day workshops and seminars / classes that are specifically for LinkedIn, and what it can do for you professionally.  I have decided that this is one of the goals I am setting for myself to accomplish this summer, as I believe it will help me both business wise and career wise, and I look forward to learning more beyond using the site simply for setting up a resume. http://LinkedIn

Social Media

If you Google "social media for small businesses" you will get conflicting results as to if social media is a good way to build a small business; some articles say yes, and some say no. Bottom line is it depends on the business, and what type of audience you want to reach. The first thing I have to decide is what will my business will consist of, for example, do I want to "take" or "make" digital photography? See the examples I posted below for the differences.

Since I am going to be launching a digital photography business I can use social media for “take” aspect of my business, and that is to reach a local audience. They say word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising, and for a small start-up business with little-to-no money, social media is the best way to make my business known in my target market.

Because I will not want the added expense of travel costs so early in the business, I can create a Facebook page for my business, and have my privacy settings open so that anyone can view it. By showing my work on both my personal and my business page I can start getting examples of my work out for to the public without it costing a cent.

Twitter is another good tool for showcasing my work in the local market. By combining Flickr and my Twitter business account, I can use #hashtags to promote pictures that I have taken in the surrounding areas of people, events, weather and other current happenings. Anyone interested in seeing more of my work they would be able to find out more information from either my Twitter account, or my Flickr account.

http://facebook.com  and  http://twitter.com