In this post by Julia May PhotoInterview.ru we look at the topic of how Facebook can be used by Photographers. By the way – don’t forget to ‘like’ the dPS Facebook Page to keep in touch with our latest updates.
Many of you have probably been hooked with Google+ lately and no wonder why. Featuring a unique approach to images, this social network looks as if it was created for photographers.
Thanks to James Brandon you already know why photographers should love Google+ and Twitter, but what about Facebook? Does it have anything to be loved for? Hell yea! Facebook’s appeal for your photography career is too big to be ignored. Let’s study some of the key benefits Facebook provides for photographers and some simple tactics to promote your photography brand on world’s largest social network.
Go where people are: many of them are on Facebook right now!
With its recent phenomenon, Google has snatched a big piece of cake from Facebook and even Twitter. Some public personalities and celebrities fuel the fire by officially ditching Facebook for Google Plus. However, there are at least two reasons why you should not abandon Facebook in favor of Google+:
- Facebook and Google+ are complements rather than substitutes to each other. Google+ has circles, Hurdle and Hagouts, which makes it great for networking and learning. Facebook has Pages, Apps, and Ads, which makes it great for brand building and interaction with your audience.
You already know how to get the most out of Google+, now let’s look at some technics for increasing your brand visibility and influence on Facebook.
Create a page and customize it
As opposed to Google+, Facebook gives opportunity to create public presence to both individuals and entities. “But it’s just me and my camera, do I still need a page besides my personal profile?”, you may ask. The answer is yes, definitely. As long as a brand is concerned, a page gives several advantages over a profile, including public visibility on the Internet, unlimited number of people who can connect with you and receive your updates in their news feeds (you can have 5000 friends, and countless fans – isn’t it cool?), and ability to customize your page.
You can find “Create a Page” link in the bottom of any page on Facebook.
The latter is especially relevant for photographers, as you can have your portfolio right on Facebook. There are lots of Facebook page editors available on the Web now, but I’d like to suggest one that I believe fits photographer needs perfectly. It’s MotoFanPages, a free app that allows adding a full-fledged Flash website on your Facebook page in literally several clicks. You get to choose from a variety of design templates, which you can then modify and fill with your content using an integrated content management system. The entire setup takes three steps, and you can also add a so-called fan gate to your page, which enables you to address your new visitors that are not yet fans with a call-to-action message. That’s pretty much for a free tool, isn’t it?
MotoFanPages is a quick way to publish your photo portfolio on Facebook.
Make the most out of Facebook’s internal apps
Unlike Google+, Facebook hosts an enormous directory of applications. However, Facebook apps aren’t limited to
Zynga’s opiate games third-party products, some of them come standard on your profile and page and it’s up to you whether to take value out of them or not. Here are a few tips on how photographers can utilize Facebook natural apps:
- Don’t leave the Info tab blank. Fill it with your biography, contact info and testimonials. Facebook pages are indexed by search engines, so plugging keywords here and there might work.
- Tag your clients and relevant pages in the Photos. This will automatically send your picture in their news feeds and keep the circles on water going. Note, that you can’t tag people when you are logged in as Page. Pages can tag pages, people can tag people – this is how it works.
Use Facebook suggestion feature to tag clients, related pages, and communities in your photo.
- Ask Questions to get advice from your fans and friends. Asking something interesting or even holy-war questions, like “What’s better, Canon or Nikon?”, you can get your question really viral and put your name in front of many pairs of eyes.
- Add Notes and open Discussions to interact with your audience and receive feedback. Why not use Notes to post some short photography tips, for example? Give value to your community and peeps will most likely give it back to you by subscribing to your updates and spreading the word about your business.
Di Fruscia makes a good use of the Notes app on his page.
Do Facebook ads
Most likely, we will all see this coming to Google+ at some point. Meanwhile, you can give your photography brand an additional boost using Facebook advertising. Don’t worry, it doesn’t necessarily mean big expenses. With the right targeting and message, you can get it be as much or as low as you want. Facebook ads deserve a separate post. A few tips to help you get started:
- Have something cool to advertise. Exclusive photo session, discount on services, or print giveaway are good causes to run an advertising campaign. Linking your ad to your home page you’re likely to waste your money.
- Set your Max Bid to a bit lower value than Facebook suggests you. Facebook’s suggested bids are often exaggerated. If it recommends a $1 bid, you may safely make it $0.25 and see the results. If you have set a very specific targeting, you can have a fairly good exposure for 25 cents.
- Make use of Facebook targeting options: by addressing smaller groups of people, you can have higher click-through-rate.
- Use compelling images for your ads, as Facebook conversions depend primarily on images. I recommend you to create about ten versions of your ad, varying images, titles and copy, and run them by turn during equal periods of time. This way you will see which ads are the most effective and worth spending money.
Your ad should be compliant with Facebook Advertising Guidelines.
Create polls and contests
According to various surveys, from 34% to 57% of people like a brand on Facebook because they want discounts and special offers. Sweepstakes and contests are proven ways to attract people’s attention to your profile. However, remember that quantity is not always better than quality. Giving away an iPad you will probably get twice as more fans as you would get giving away your limited edition print, but the effectiveness of the iPad-driven crowd is questionable.
British horror photographer Daniel Tunstall gives away a limited edition print to everyone who posts a creative idea on her Facebook wall or Twitter page.
Add Facebook social plugins to your website and/or blog
Facebook offers a line of nine social plugins, but there are only three of them I would recommend you to install on your photography website:
- Like button. Of course! The mechanism of social proof is becoming an inevitable part of the modern Internet. The recent Google +1 button is another proof of this trend. Adding the Like button next to your photos, you kill two birds with one stone (seriously, who came up with this metaphor?) – you get people to share your works and at the same time, you have another source of feedback.
- Comments. Many respectable blogs and newspapers, such as TechCrunch and Boston.com, have switched to Facebook Comments and are quite happy about this decision. The matter is that Facebook’s commenting plugin involves a unique comment syncing mechanism. Basically, if a person leaves the “Post to Facebook” box checked when they post a comment, a mention about this appears in their friends’ News Feed, and if someone responds to the discussion by liking or replying to the comment in the News Feed, this actions is displayed on your website as well. In other words, people can leave comments on your posts right from Facebook – imagine the potential of this feature when applied on your site!
Facebook Comments is a great tool to share your content with max efficiency.
- Like box. This is a good way to notify visitors to your website that you are presented on Facebook. Unlike the Like button (I hope you like wordplay), this plugin enables people to like your Facebook page without visiting it. Another two birds are killed with one stone – users like your page and don’t go from your site. Just make sure you disclose Stream and Show Faces options when generating your Like Box plugin code. This way, your website visitors will not get distracted by photos and links displayed in the like box, and thus, are more likely to stay longer on your website.
In conclusion I’d like to say that the best way to promote your name on Facebook or any other social network, is to provide people with great content. They come there to see your amazing images, and once they are amazed, they will like it, +1 it, and tweet it, for sure.
Julia May is a social media enthusiast and blogger, whose interest in photography results in PhotoGalleryCMS project and PhotoInterview.ru, a blog dedicated to the interviews with talented photographers from all over the world.