9 Reasons Your Studio Is FAILING at Facebook
This opinion piece written by Doug Cohen of Frameable Faces Photography is a no-holds-barred-rant meant to motivate you to change the way you Facebook.
Much of my social media material comes from my own experiences running our campaigns. I handle all of the social media community management, monitoring, and content creation for our studio. I spend much (most) of my time doing this. There is a lot of trial and error, I make my mistakes and I learn from them. I also learn from a handful of “gurus” whom I’ve grown to trust over the last couple of years, and I also follow many studios on facebook who are clearly floundering.
I hear the frustration of many on some of the forums I’m on. I feel the pain of those who are stuck and don’t have a good grasp of facebook. On top of that facebook made a few changes which has many throwing in the towel. Sure it can be frustrating, but the time has come to suck it up and I feel some tough love is in order.
Here are 9 reasons your studio is failing at Facebook.
- You are over-posting because your content sucks, it isn’t reaching anyone since facebook changed their algorithms, and this is the only (really lazy) way you can come up with to overcompensate. That may sound harsh but a lot of this is about effort. Listen, you know when you are just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Don’t do that. Put some thought into what you are putting out there for your peeps. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself whether you would find this interesting – look at what other brands are doing so you can get some inspiration. Posting a ton of memes is probably not the answer – does that really represent your studio? Does it really represent YOU? If you flood the news feeds of your followers they will hide you and you likely won’t get them back. That’s called a backfire…
- You are still whining about how your numbers have gone down since the algorithms changed. Kind of number 1b regarding the facebook changes. Stop it. Really. Believe me when I tell you that good content still gets nice reach and engagement. That hasn’t changed even with the new algorithm. You just need to earn it now by being more creative, putting in more effort, and maybe even spending a couple dollars to promote a post here or there – more on that later.
- You are posting images of your clients without their permission and (at least in the 43 states that require it at last check) a signed model release. I’m amazed at how many photographers blow off getting proper permission and then end up with upset (former) clients. I know of some who are still doing it and getting in trouble as we speak, or their clients just get upset but don’t tell the photog and go out to sprinkle a little bad word of mouth to their friends.
- You aren’t social. Yes this is social media. You have to take the social part to heart. Be sure to like other pages that you have a connection with – find pages that are local to your community, pages belonging to your clients who have supported you, pages in your industry that you can learn from or partner with, pages which provide content that is relevant for your audience. Like, comment, and share the stuff that you like and BE GENUINE about it. If you don’t like it, don’t like it.
- You are putting links about yourself in the comments you post on your clients’ statuses and finding other ways to ram your brand down their throats. Don’t hijack other pages whether they belong to brands or people for self promotion. I see people I know whose photographers have commented on a picture on their personal page to the effect of “This is so cute of your son! By the way please like my page at XYZ Photography”. Yuck. This tends to make you look pretty bad. If you want to participate and be seen that’s great – but do it without an agenda. They’ll already know it’s you especially if you are commenting as your studio.
- You aren’t promoting properly. I’m still tinkering with this formula myself so there isn’t a perfect answer that works for everyone. In the meantime here is a great article by Jay Baer with a nice 4 step checklist to determine when you should pay to promote a post. Spending $5 – $15 once in a while to promote a worthwhile post to make sure people see it may not be the worst decision. Personally I have done this three times.
- All your eggs are pretty much still in the facebook basket. Focus on your website and/or your (self-hosted) BLOG. You own those. Tweet if it makes sense for you, maybe try Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. You don’t need to be everywhere but you can’t be in only one place. You just can’t. Being in only one place makes you a sitting duck when that place changes things up on you like facebook recently did. Here are some tips on the other platforms from another guest post I wrote for MCP Actions in September 2012. Keep in mind having all your eggs in the facebook basket may not directly explain why you’re failing ON facebook, although the fact that you did is likely why you’ve been panicking since the changes and abandoning your strategy which is probably leading to failure.
- You are mixing your personal page with your business page too much. This is another mistake many photogs are making at this very moment as a way to try to game the system. In other words “well my reach went way down on my studio page so I’ll just post all my sneak peaks and specials (barf) on my personal page”. Don’t do it! People who like your page like it because they like your brand. People who want to be your friend just want to be your friend. They don’t suddenly want you selling to them. Would you do that to your friends offline? Then don’t do it online. Your message will start to get lost. I’m not saying you should never ever mention your studio on your personal page, but don’t overdo it. P.S. – the reason I barfed after the word “specials” is because I think sales and specials for a photography studio devalue your work. Just my opinion…
- Your content is all about you. This ties back into the first item on this list when I said your content sucks. If your content is all about you, then yes your content sucks. “WE do this and that and such and such for our clients”, “WE can do this kind of session, WE can even do that kind of session!”, “Hurry in to take your holiday photos – our time slots are filling up fast”, “WE just got a whole bunch of orders in!”, “A FREE this or a HALF OFF that for the first three who comment”, “Check out our SALE!”, “Make sure you like and share our posts or facebook won’t put us in your news feed” – that one might be the worst of all of them. What better way to put the focus on your clients than to make them jump through hoops to serve you – right? Wrong. Sorry to break it to you but these examples collectively represent boring garbage. Do people really go to facebook to seek out commercials and be sold to? If this is all, the majority of, half of, or in my opinion even a quarter of what you are sharing then you are BORING. Okay so if that’s boring then what is interesting? I think that’s going to be my next post…. Stay tuned.
Doug Cohen is a co-owner of Frameable Faces Photography with his wife Ally in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, MI. Ally is the photographer and Doug handles the sales and marketing You can also find Doug personally on twitter in addition to the studio at dougcohen10. He writes for their blog and sings in a rock band called the Detroit Stimulus Package.