So we all know that social media is a great tool for marketing – but figuring out the best ways to use this tool can be a different story. Facebook is a super outlet for photographers to stay connected with clients and reach a new audience. Follow these tips to establish or increase your Facebook presence and start connecting with old and new clients alike.
1. Create a Fan Page for your brand. If you’re serious about having a photography business – even if you’re just doing the occasional paid shoot – create a fan page, rather than relying on your personal profile. There are a few reasons this is important – you can keep your business and personal relationships separate (more on this later), you can have unlimited fans (but only 5,000 friends on your profile), AND, most importantly, fan pages are seen by search engines, while profile pages are not. This is a valuable component of search engine optimization.
When you are an administrator of a fan page, you can choose (the option will show on your fan page) to use Facebook as yourself or as your Page. If you are commenting, posting, etc, for business purposes, you can show your fan page profile photo and link to your fan page rather than your personal profile. Get your fan page started at http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. If you do business in one area, you might wish to establish yourself as a local business, or you may feel that an artist or organization page might better suit your brand.
2. Create a good business profile photo. You’re a photographer, for goodness sake, this should be your shining moment! A fan page profile image can be up to 180×540, so you can create a great skyscraper image with your logo and a collage of photos or one striking image that represents you or your brand – take advantage of this space!
3. Get a custom URL. Make your Facebook page easy to find by snagging your URL, like www.Facebook.com/YourBizName. You have to have 25 fans to do this, so grab your closest friends and ask them to be your fans right off the bat, and head to http://www.facebook.com/username/ to claim your name. Note: with some new FB changes, you may be able to grab one username without any fans, so if you’re not at 25, check it out and see if you’re eligible.
4. Use lists on your personal profile to separate business contacts from personal ones. You may well have some overlap of “friends” and “clients”, but make sure that you’re posting appropriate content for your audience. Your clients don’t need to hear you complaining about your job or see last weekend’s party photos. But if a personal connection is a part of your image, you may want to befriend your clients and let them see some of your personality.
5. Have good Facebook etiquette. Don’t go around posting spammy “like me!” comments on peoples pages – if it doesn’t get you banned from their page, it will at least annoy people and not encourage them to do business with you. Instead, post insightful or thoughtful messages on their page – “Happy birthday to Riley, it seems like just yesterday we were taking his newborn photos!” The birthday reminder feature is a great way to get a hint to post on someone’s page, and watch your clients pages for other items to comment on, milestones, etc. Remember to post such message as your Page to lead people back there!
6. Share your photos freely. This one might be controversial, I know! While photographers cringe at the thought of their photos being widely shared without receiving a penny for your work, you have to remember – promoting your product is the way to sell it. Letting your clients share the awesome photos that you’ve taken is the best form of word-of-mouth advertising you can get. If you give away a few photos for your clients to share, everyone they know will see them. Their friends know they don’t look like that in an average snapshot, so that photographer must be a magician. Let the photos speak for themselves. With that being said, educate your clients on fair use and copyright. Watermark your images prominently so that everyone knows who took the photos. Embrace this opportunity to share your brand!
7. Configure your wall post settings. You can choose to allow others to post on your wall or not, it’s up to you. Not allowing outsiders to post on your Fan Page wall can lead to a one sided conversation or a barren landing page. But note that if you allow posts, you give up control over what is on your page, so make sure to monitor your wall. You can configure Facebook to notify you when someone posts on your wall, and you can always remove a post if necessary. You can also customize and send people to another landing page by default, rather than your wall. This will let you tell more about your business, which your wall may not do as well.
8. Have good content. Post links to your website, your online photo galleries, make sure to fill out all of your business contact information, post beautiful example photos (and tag the people in them, that’s a surefire way to get traffic to your page!), and post useful information. Remember that you are marketing to potential clients here, so while you might occasionally chat about your gear or photography technique, you should really be speaking to your clients. Remind them of great photo gift opportunities, post tips on what to wear for photo shoots, how to choose a photographer, tell compelling stories about shoots or other clients. And post often – nobody wants to arrive at a page to see the last post was months ago. If you need to, put Facebook posting on your calendar!