In writing the Photographer’s Social Media Handbook I explored hundreds of Facebook pages from premier photographers. I talked about what all of them are doing right and how other photographers can mimic. But just having a cool looking Facebook page with lots of apps doesn’t automatically grow a following. I turned to two of the all-time-greats, Keri Meyers and Alex Dovel to learn how to build an engaged following on Facebook. Here are their profiles as featured in the handbook.
Keri Meyers Facebook Strategy
Maintaining an active and attractive Facebook page is a core part of my marketing strategy. The first things new visitors see is my Welcome Page, not my wall cluttered with posts and comments. I want my Welcome Page to have all of my important information in one spot and let new visitors know what I’m all about. I have a successful portrait business, but I also mentor other photographers and sell actions, tutorials, etc. I want all of that information right there to attract both potential photography clients and photographers.
Important Facebook Wall Settings
Once that new visitor hops on board and clicks on that little “like” button, my work is not done. They still need to navigate my Facebook page and really see what I’m about. I don’t want them sifting through posts and comments from others, so I have my wall tab settings set so that visitors can only see posts by my page. If they are interested in seeing posts by others, they can simply click on “Everyone (Most Recent)” to reveal posts by others on my wall. Because I run a professional business I also have my profanity blocklist set to “Strong”. I have chosen not to allow others to post pictures and videos on my page because as a photography business it is important to me that visitors only see images I have created and that represent my work. I don’t want visitors mistaking other images for my own work.
With 24,000 plus fans it is incredibly important for me to keep my fans engaged and wanting more. I try to post new work at least every other day and post important links that might be interesting to other photographers and my photography clients. I work hard at networking both locally with local businesses that also target my market and in the photography industry. It is important to me to build strong relationships with my fans, clients and industry colleagues. Doing so helps us both increase our fan base.
I use my Facebook page as a source of information for others, but at the same time want my readers to feel like they “know” me a little. I keep my posts business related, but I also throw a little bit of me into everything that I post and I always try to respond to everyone that posts on my page. They took the time to visit my page, look around, ask a question or show some love – the least I can do is say “thank you” or take the time to answer their question as best I can. If visitors get the sense that you are too busy to acknowledge their post, comment or question it is likely they will scroll on down and click on that little “unlike” button.
Keep it simple. Keep it engaging. Keep it fun (and drama free)!
Alex Michéle Photography Facebook Transformation
Facebook has revolutionized my business in a way I never thought possible. I pride myself on the fact that I’ve never invested on direct advertising because of Facebook. There’s nothing quite like it. Facebook is this incredible FREE interactive social site to connect with family, friends, clients and business colleagues. The idea of the Facebook fan page was HUGE for business owners and myself in particular. In a little over 18 months, I’ve grown from being an amateur hobbyist photographer to a professional photographer with a 13,000 fan base following.
Goals for Facebook
I use Facebook primarily to increase fans and build clientele to create more business for Alex Michéle Photography. Every time I post a new wedding or session, my clients then share it with their family and friends. Instantly, my fans multiply! My Facebook fan page is an interactive tool for my business that creates this “digital word of mouth” like nothing else. I’d say 80% of my first clients in 2010 heard of me through Facebook.
My secondary reason for utilizing the fan page is to grow the brand and name of Alex Michéle Photography. I love that I can post when I’ll be in another city or state and book a session or workshop. When you have a following of 13,000 fans, the possibilities are endless. While I post atleast 3 times a day, my main concern is hitting my fan base atleast once a day in their news feed. It’s amazing how Facebook fans can spread so quickly just because of one post. It’s all about relations, connections, and like-interests.
What to Talk About on Facebook
So what do I talk about on my fan page at AMP? Absolutely everything! People can relate with one another on so many levels so it’s my goal to connect those interests. I mainly post about photography related threads but I also post non-photography related items too. I ask lots of questions that get my fans thinking, posting, and interacting. I really enjoy reading such versatile feedback! I have fans email me daily how much they appreciate the questions because they all learn so much. While I like to keep professional on my page, I do share personal feelings quite often. I feel that while you should always conduct yourself professionally you can still be personable and reach out on a friendly level. So when I post the best skinny margarita recipe on my page, don’t be alarmed!
Aside from the questions, I will post anything I find entertaining and interesting such as highlighting a gorgeous blog post on Style Me Pretty or an informational tutorial from Design Aglow. Aside from creating a social interactive forum, I love to create a mutually beneficial relationship with like-vendors in the photography community. My main premise behind my business is synergy.
Another way to gain more fans is by offering incentives, hosting contests, and doing promotions with like vendors. I’ve paired up with “Pure Photoshop Actions” and it’s been very rewarding to both of us. While gaining more fans and getting more notary from the Facebook world, we also help one another spread the word of our business. I’ve booked clients from their fan page and they’ve gained business from my constant chatter about their amazing actions! It’s a win-win!
Facebook offers great PR representation! It’s a digital face into my personality, business, and work. I like to be very informational with my fans while linking anything I think is informational, fun to read, or inspirational. I want my fans to get to know me. I am 25, vivacious and silly! One day I might post a recipe to the best skinny martini, the next a link to a discount on a camera bag, and the following day about a free action download.
It’s important to note that any successful business should utilize several creative tools to grow. Facebook, though, has been by far my greatest, most successful growth tool. Its all about genuine connections and a willingness to take time to get to know people.