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Guest Contributor | Carrie Swails of Photography Awesomesauce
Lifechanging Facebook Tips for Photographers
The last week of February I attended the United conference. I attended last year and this year it was put on by the Shoot and Share community. It was an amazing week. Not only did I have the pleasure of making tons of new friends, learning new things, but I was also able to contribute to my fellow photographers by teaching classes on SEO, Getting Legit, and leading a couple of portfolio shoots! I’m excited to share more here in the weeks to come.
One of the biggest things I walked away with was Facebook knowledge. I have to admit that I have become social media lazy. When I share an image I do a quick post, tag my clients and myself and then log off. Sometimes if I’m really feeling adventurous I post a few sneak peeks from a session. I, too, like many was noticing less and less interaction on my business page over time. This led me to putting a lot more time into building relationships with my clients through my personal page. I still maintain these relationships are an important way to use social media. Friending clients, interacting with them, showing interest in what they post – and all similar things develop a sense of trust in your services and brand that cannot be matched. These are the things that drive my referrals from clients. Over the last two years my business has become so great between referrals and SEO I am even considering dropping bridal shows as a marketing method. However, I still feel like I am not using Facebook to its fullest potential. I have this thing called a business page – surely there is more to it than using it just for posting images here and there.
A photographer friend of mine, Matt Kennedy (yes, I’m calling you a friend Matt), is my new favorite social media genius. In fact, the things I learned from him at United and from his other tools on his website for photographers were eye-opening. Mostly I was sitting here shaking my head thinking, “DUH! Why didn’t I think of that?” I guess I’ve put so much time into being disappointed with Facebook and thinking about moving to Google Plus that I no longer gave Facebook any serious deep thought. By the way Google Plus isn’t for me. I go where my clients go. They aren’t on Google Plus so I won’t be spending a ton of time trying to reach them through there.
Matt is an amazing wedding photographer and former Canadian Idol participant based in Canada. I only throw in the Canadian Idol bit because it makes him all the more well-rounded. He broke down Facebook in his talk at United quite well. I walked away with two big things I’m making changes to. The first was doing a Facebook “Like” Gate. This is a way of setting up and utilizing tools on Facebook so in order for a viewer to actually see a photo they must first like your page. This can be a little complicated to set up so I defer to Matt’s awesome free videos tools on the instructions.
The second thing was the bigger part for me. The thing that made the most sense and seemed so glaringly obvious after he explained it that I wondered why I haven’t been doing it all along. Matt probably has a better way with words than I do to explain these tools, but here are the big points I gleaned from United. In order to get your posts and photos seen on Facebook there are a few things you can do. None of them involve promoting your post or paying money. Facebook’s algorithm for the news feed is all about keeping the most interesting topics and posts at the top of your newsfeed. The more interesting something is, the more it’s shared, commented on and liked the longer it will appear in news feeds of all your followers. There are a couple of ways to make this happen. First, I would advise posting interesting stuff. This is something I’ve talked about before on here in our online classes. We have to stop being generic and posting what everyone else is posting. Posting that you’re up late editing – generic and boring. It’s unlikely to get you a lot of attention. A great image with a little explanation telling your clients story is very interesting and unique to you and your page. Take time to think through your posts and question yourself on whether what you are about to write or share is interesting to your followers. I purposely try to second guess myself. Once you know what you are going to post…that’s where the fun comes in.
When we post images to our Facebook pages as photographers we tend to post several in a row, you know a few of our favorites from our session. We may post late at night when we’re editing. We also tend to tag everyone all in one go. If we pretend that Facebook has a rating system, it is rating your posts based on how much interaction you are getting. Likes are okay, comments are good and shares are GREAT. Try to save your amazing photos and post them during a time when Facebook will have the most traffic, i.e. not at 3am. Once you post an image make sure you leave some time 10 minutes – 1 hour to watch the post and add to it. Matt suggests posting an image on your page and then not doing anything. As people comment, take the time to comment back. One of the great suggestions he shared was to treat a comment with a similar comment. So if someone posts the word, “Nice!” on your photo – you don’t need to give them a 3 paragraph explanation of thanks. If they post one word, you post one word in response. If they post a sentence, you post a sentence. Every time you respond to a comment your image will jump back up in news feeds. After 10 minutes or 30 minutes of an image being up and you responding to comments, then tag your clients and yourself. I’ve actually gone so far as to tag my clients 30 minutes later and then tag myself another 30 minutes after that. This causes your photo to jump back up in the newsfeed ratings again and show to a whole new audience of everyone who was tagged. The longer you can keep your photo looking “busy,” the better it looks to Facebook. Finally, at some point not too long after your original image post start sharing it. You can share it to your own Facebook, a group, on your clients’ page. Shares are great and get you lots of bonus points. You can share yourself and write in your description of your image for your clients to share too. You can read Matt’s much better explanation of this on his Fstoppers article.
These are some of the very simple changes I’ve been making to my own Facebook interactions. I’ve been tracking my stats and my reach for posts has increased anywhere from 200-500% on individual posts. I’m getting more likes, more comments and more views in general. If you can take an hour out of your day and give yourself some time to focus after you’ve shared an image you can really increase your reach a lot. It takes a little work. If you add in a “Like” Gate your likes can increase as well with quality followers.
Matt has generously allowed me to share what I’ve learned here from him. I’ve been lucky to not only hear him speak at conferences, but also to take one of his online courses for photographers. I highly recommend them as he is an incredibly knowledgeable and kind photographer. You can check out his website for photographers >here<
Chic Critique is beyond thrilled to have Alba Soler of Alba Soler Photography return as one of our Celebrity Photographers in May!
Sign up to get your images critiqued by Alba Soler this May. 10 Spots Left!
Alba has run her own business for 6 years, and writes a popular blog about photography and lifestyle, both in english and spanish.
She specializes in fashion and fine art with touching conceptual stories with clients in China, Germany, Spain and the UK. She also offers a similar approach shoots to her smaller clients which have become very popular.
Alba has a degree in media which has help her create her brand and her communication strategy, however, all she know about photography and business has been self taught.
She knows perfectly how hard it is to learn both, and she is excited to share her knowledge with you all!
A Welcome from Alba:
Welcome! I hope you make the most of this course! I can’t wait to start, see you soon!
Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?
50% and 50% each
Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?
Sometimes, we know something is wrong but is hard to tell by ourselves what is it. I think an honest critique from an experienced professional could save us a lot of frustration.
What camera do you use? Favorite lens?
Canon 5D Mark II
What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?
“I don’t know what you are doing, but your work is starting to look unreal”
What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
sensitive, delicate, dreamy
Where do you pull your inspiration from?
I love to see other people’s work, but not when searching from inspiration. I hate when everybody’s portfolios look the same. I rather write and look for inspiration in my own feelings. After that, comes the search for props, clothes, places, and is during that search when I know whether the idea is going to work or not.
What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
I think for me is to have an specific schedule. Knowing what to have to do in each moment of the day, other way you get distracted about anything. Family should understand, even if you are at home, that you are working, you have deadlines and a responsibility, if not, hang your schedule in some place they can see it and be strict following it anyway, at some point they will respect it.
Best biz/photo advice?
Be yourself. It is hard because you barely know who you are yet, but figuring it out is how you find your style to.
What have you learned the hard way?
I think I’ve learnt all the things the hard way. I mean, when you don’t know something you learn it by doing mistakes.
One of the most important things I’ve leant so far is to separate your personal work from your business. Business is business and you should earn money by that always. If you want to experiment that’s fine, and you should, but try to don’t mix things. Don’t charge less because it’s going to be interesting, because as long as you are not “the client” it won’t be really yours. Experiment when only you are in control.
How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?
My business started at the same time as the rise, so I didn’t experience a before and after. I try to no compare my work with others in terms of price, services offered, but in terms of quality in order to work only on being the best in quality.
Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?
I know this for sure. They have came from my online marketing strategies. I don’t advertise by any other way, and don’t even have a visible shop in the street.
What has been the best workshop or convention you’ve attended so far?
Off Barcelona, the most similar to travel around the world creatively speaking.
I had the opportunity to see the best creatives from every discipline in a short period of time. Not just photography. And that is for me an other point in favor. We use to look for the answers on people alike to us, that do the same, but we forget about the wealth that can be hold on unexpected places.
This kind of experiences are fundamental to keep your mind fresh and active. Doing the same every day and being always in contact with the same people, makes your mind get stuck and at some point it isn’t able to see further. For that reason it is important to look for ways that remember you that there is a lot outside your comfort zone.
What is your most popular product?
ONLY 10 SPOTS LEFT!
ONLY 10 SPOTS LEFT!