Businesses, especially photography businesses, have found Facebook an excellent way to supplement their web presence over the last several years. Having a Facebook business page allows for customer engagement as well as providing exposure to potential future clients. It’s a great way to showcase your best photos while putting yourself in front of your ideal demographic – friends and relatives of already satisfied customers.
Or at least it was, back when people actually saw your posts.
Suddenly, in the last few months, having a huge fan base on Facebook is almost useless. The Facebook algorithm changed and impacted the number of people seeing your posts. Rather than another endless rant, this post provides information and ideas on how you can move forward with social networking for your business.
A small page may reach the same number of users with each post as a very large one. The thousands of ‘likes’ that you’ve managed to garner over the years isn’t worth much if they can’t see your posts – and frequently they can’t.
I don’t know what Facebook is up to – catering to the user, manipulating businesses to purchase ‘sponsored stories’ to reach their fan base, or (probably) some of both – but I do know that your social media strategy needs to morph and change in order to keep up with the always changing algorithms of the Internet.
So what does this particular change mean for business owners in regards to Facebook?
- Interest Lists: Asking users to add you to an interest list (as shown here) doesn’t completely solve the problem, though it may help a bit.
- Compelling material: Give your readers something interesting. Your posts may just die unless you are offering some very compelling material.
- Interaction: Encouraging fans to interact with your page is marginally better. This will ensure that those users who are actually interested in your page see more of your posts. But it takes effort, and how many people get on Facebook to exert themselves? Additionally, even when people interact, many are not seeing posts from those companies automatically in their feeds anymore.
The bottom line is that you can no longer rely on Facebook as the core of your social media strategy. So how should you, as a business owner, respond?
Here’s a modified social media plan for the post-Facebook cyber world. Tweak for your business and share your thoughts in the comments!
1. Plan your social media campaign around your own blog and website.
Your blog is something that you have total control over. Shift your primary focus from Facebook to your blog. Use it for client sneak peeks, sale announcements, giveaways, and company news. Foster customer communications – post frequently and engage your audience in the comment section. Give your visitors a reason to stay and a reason to come back. Think about what your intended audience will find valuable – it’s not always the typical photography blog stuff. Several months ago I wrote a post on how to choose clothes for a family picture. It’s our most popular post to this day!
2. Utilize other social media outlets.
Are you on Twitter? Google+? Pinterest? Tumblr? Find out where your ideal clients are hanging out and make sure you’re there too. Rather than relying on a huge Facebook following, spread out your influence to other parts of the web. Think outside the box! Learn how different social media sites work and use them creatively to boost your exposure and engagement.
3. Change the way you use Facebook.
All this doesn’t mean you should neglect your Facebook page. But instead of focusing solely on the numbers of your fan base, try to improve engagement with the ones you have. Instead of just trying to be seen by as many people as possible, make yourself irresistibly valuable to those who do see you. Become a page that people WANT on their newsfeeds, and you’ll be more likely to show up there.
As you’re implementing these and your own ideas to revamp your social media strategy, ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want my social media presence to accomplish?
- Where and how are my present and future clients using the Internet?
- What information and interactions will they find valuable?
The answers to these questions will help you develop a social media strategy that makes the most of the tools you have available online to engage current clients and attract prospective future ones.
Rebecca Weaver and her husband Roger run Presenting You Photography in Ephrata, PA, where she manages social media (among other things). When they aren’t doing photo-biz stuff, they’re usually hanging out with their three young children. You can visit their small but growing Facebook page here.