9 Ways to Generate Great Content For Your Studio on Facebook
In the last post I wrote for MCP Actions entitled “9 Reasons Your Studio Is FAILING at Facebook” I commented at the end that after ranting about what is boring on Facebook maybe my next post will be about what is interesting. So here I am, back with the much-anticipated follow up.
How to do Facebook right:
Let’s focus on some of the things you can do to provide value for the people who like your page, because that’s what it’s all about. If you provide value people will appreciate it. They’ll make a point of coming back, they’ll enjoy interacting with you and they’ll even share your content which expands your reach and your word of mouth. Some folks will even mine your content to share as content for their own following, whether it’s with their clients or just their friends. So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a Facebook end user instead of a Facebook advertiser and have some fun. Give your brand the effect of anticipation and smiles when people see it pop up in their news feeds – a good feeling about you and your studio instead of “yawn – next” or worse yet “ugh – hide”.
Here are 9 ideas (in no particular order) along with some tips for how to consistently generate good content for your studio page on Facebook:
1. Consider using Instagram (or really just your smartphone) as inspiration. Not every image you post has to be an exquisite shining example of your best work. Sometimes it’s fun to turn the camera on you or something fun that happens spontaneously at the studio or on location and snap a quick pic with your smartphone that you can upload and post in real time or the next moment you get back in front of your computer. We use Instagram almost exclusively for behind the scenes fun photos snapped with our smartphone as opposed to our finished images. The fun behind the scenes stuff shows off the personality of your studio, your culture, your sense of humor, your uniqueness – it’s fun! Once in a while I’ll post an Instagram and think to myself “this is too good to not let our Facebook fans in on it” and I’ll post the same image on Facebook with a different caption. Here’s an example that got a decent reach of 249 with 30 likes and several comments:
2. Consider just some comments as updates – ones that are interesting with no links, photos, and even with no questions. Uh oh – Doug just violated the rules. The official social media 101 handbook says ask a question so people will be forced to answer and that equals skyrocketing engagement. Okay well not quite but that’s the obvious tip that has been tossed around since social media experts started self styling themselves as experts. I think the more practical version of this is to post something that people will find fun to participate with. Hopefully if you’re a photographer of people then you have some personality – let it come through in your posts! Don’t only say what you think you’re supposed to say. Use your judgement obviously and don’t be inappropriate, but interact with your peeps the way they’ve come to expect. As of this writing it seems that the latest Facebook tweak gives a little more weight to text-only updates, whereas posts with attachments used to be given more of a push automatically through the Facebooksphere (I made that word up).
Here are three examples:
a) Topical comment (note – NOT politics) – a recent Powerball got so huge it was dominating the news and everyone was talking about it so I posted:
c) Just a short simple comment and for no good reason other than you feel like saying it. I don’t usually do this as I’m NOT a fan of posting a bunch of inspirational quotes or memes (even worse) but I was really just feeling this at the moment and it is consistent with our message.
3. Scour blogs, online magazines, twitter and any online resources you trust where you can find something incredible to share. Don’t put the entire burden on yourself to create new content from scratch every single day. There are a lot of wonderful things going on on the Internet that your audience will enjoy. Pay attention to your audience and become a resource of everything cool that’s going on on the web as it relates to your studio and your followers. If wedding photography is your core business then find awesome wedding stories or photo ideas. Show your expertise and become the best resource around. Value, value, value! Be valuable!
4. Provide great content on your blog and drive people there from Facebook. Seems counter-intuitive to define good content on Facebook as the type that happens off of Facebook, but if the content you are linking to on other sites is your own and it’s good then it just elevates your profile as someone who has something to say. Personally I still love the good ol’ post sneak peeks of clients and tag them. However we no longer post all the peeks on Facebook. We post one sneak peek as a teaser to direct them to a few more at the blog where we tell a little story about the session putting the focus on our clients. Note (stay with me here): sometimes when you just put a link on facebook to your blog post about a random topic it doesn’t get a lot of reach – that’s okay in my opinion. The strategy is when we post sneak peeks we don’t do it in the form of a link, but rather a photo with a link to the corresponding blog post in a comment and these do get reach because we switch our Facebook identity to our personal self, go back to the photo and tag the client (with their permission of course). This definitely drives traffic to the blog and often people will discover the other content there while they’re at the blog. Got that? This goes back to the point on my previous post about not having all of your eggs in one basket. We’ve put a lot more focus on our blog in the last year or so as well as some of the other social media platforms. I’ll expand on ideas for your blog in another post but for now as a tease consider a post about your city or community like our Dear Detroit, You Are Awesome. Love, Frameable Faces
5. Try a themed status you can repeat from time to time. We do a “complete this sentence” series of who or what our followers would want to photograph if they could. Come up with something you can return to – keep track of them on a little spreadsheet so you don’t repeat yourself. Maybe a photo scavenger hunt in your community or bloopers/outtakes (hey I like that one – may have to start that myself…)
6. Highlight one of your partners or neighboring local businesses. We are in a small boutique type of mall with mostly independent retailers so in the spirit of supporting the mall and our neighbors we highlight them from time to time, but you don’t have to be in a mall or even in a retail studio space to put the spotlight on your local partners in your community. If one of them posts an event they are hosting as their status maybe share it as your status.
7. Go totally off topic simply because your gut tells you it would appeal to your peeps. Be careful about doing this too much – you don’t want to completely dilute what your studio is about. But I recently hit a home run with this one – I just knew our fellow 40 somethings would get a kick out of it:
8. Okay… yes…. fine…. “promote” yourself, your studio, a product or whatever you are still itching to promote. Are you happy now? I do this once in a great while – and I usually have a great battle in my head over it if I do. In fact I actually paid to sponsor a post about photo restoration because we wouldn’t mind doing a little more of it. But (and this is a big but) I did it around what I thought was a very compelling story – it was content I was proud of. Here is the facebook post, the blog post, and as a special bonus (if you act now) here is a blog post I did about when to pay to promote a facebook status using this one as a case study… So as you see it wasn’t a salesy post after all. Okay – there was one other where I mentioned boudoir just this January 3rd reminding people that Valentine’s day was coming (I get a shiver admitting it). But that was IT and I withheld dessert from myself that night as punishment. Just don’t make it a habit and maybe just maybe it will have a bit of impact when you do since you aren’t bombarding folks with sales pitches. The boudoir status had a reach of 405 with 23 engaged so it actually got some response.
9. Stay the course, be patient, and don’t get discouraged. So this one is really just general advice but it’s important to your success on Facebook and social media in general. It takes time to find your voice, identify your trusted and reliable resources, and build your following. Trust me every now and then I post something that goes over like a lead balloon and no one comments on it or likes it. It happens. But I force myself to keep plugging and stay the course. I think it’s really important to resist what seem to be shortcuts like over posting, running contests to get people to like your page who might not otherwise care about your page etc. In the words of one of my favorite social media gurus Scott Stratten just be awesome and eventually you’ll enjoy some success.
Remember these are 9 out of 9000 and every studio is different! Facebook is a blank canvas with tools for you to use – let your creativity fly and feel free to add to this list!
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.