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A Guest Post by Alison Zarrella – co-author of The Facebook Marketing Book.
2011 is shaping up to be a big year for photography on Facebook. Their New Profile highlights images above practically all else, and allows for some pretty creative customization with images. Facebook has also added the option to upload high resolution photos, and expanded the maximum number of photos in one album from 60 to 200.
Photography has historically been an area where Facebook excels, and for good reason. They are constantly making tweaks to photo album display settings, creating a simple interface for users to upload and friends to browse. In fact, they’ve been held up as an example as what more traditional photo sites should look to emulate.
As a person, you’re allowed a Facebook Profile. (Duh, right?) But you can also set up a Facebook Page for your professional photography services. The Page complies with all of Facebook’s stipulations for business and allows anyone to “like” you without the hassle of the friend approval process for a Profile. And a Profile allows you to suggest the Page to friends, manage Events and message people privately to discuss pricing or other private information.
Photography websites are almost always beautiful, shining examples of work. But photos and search engines don’t always play nice. A search engine needs plain text words to figure out what your website is about and display it in search results for relevant keywords. So if you have hundreds of images but no descriptions, it’s really hard for Google to tell potential clients that you have amazing portrait packages or special wedding deals.
Facebook albums allow you to easily add captions to every photo without any coding ability. Know your way around HTML? Try your hand at FBML and create custom tabs for each type of photography. You can add lots of gorgeous examples, as well as a few very important keywords.
It’s easy to post a text-based status update on Facebook, and that’s great for asking questions and adding more keywords. But to really stand out in the Newsfeed and show off your stuff, make use of media. Include a photo or link, or post new albums as status updates. And don’t freak out about going overboard. Data has shown that the most successful Pages post less than once a day. Aim to post three to five times a week, and make those posts count!
Whether you stick with the old look or update to the New Profile, take advantage of customization options. Create a longer icon for both your Profile and your Page. The ideal size is 600 pixels by 200 pixels, where one third (200px by 200px) is your logo. This longer icon gives you space to show off your work while the 200 pixel square logo is perfect for cropping for the Profile or Page thumbnail that shows up next to status updates and in the Newsfeed.
Facebook provides lots of native, free applications to help brand your Page. Photos lets you add lots of images, and Notes allows you to write and format lengthier articles than a status update. (A good strategy every once in awhile for showing your photography knowledge as well as image examples.) As mentioned before, Static FBML will give you even more freedom to design your Page and showcase your work.
It may be tempting to constantly post more photos to your Page, and you should, but don’t get stuck in a rut with links to large photo albums. Brainstorm other types of status updates that include relevant photography keywords to get you into Facebook search, and ask people to participate. Encourage engagement with open-ended questions and respond to people on your Page. Your goal should be to drive more engagement on your Page, in the form of comments and “likes” on posts. This will improve your Page score and help people find you more easily. Talk about photography, don’t just show it. Post links to articles you find interesting and really show that you know your stuff.
Alison Zarrella is a social media consultant who has worked with brands of all sizes, ranging from international companies to local businesses. A self-described Facebook fanatic, Alison has over 7 years of experience on the social network and recently co-authored The Facebook Marketing Book with her husband Dan. She can be found on Twitter @Alison, or on her blog AlisonZarrella.com, where she talks about social media marketing, online shopping, and of course, Facebook.