This is a social media guest post, by Doug Cohen of Frameable Faces, about his approach to social networking for he and his wife’s photography studio. Learn from their experiences.
Providing a complete how-to on all of the social media platforms could easily be a 3,000 page book. So instead I’ll summarize our experience with some of the social networking tools to illustrate:
- How they can be used to help expand your business.
- The trial and error that goes into a social media marketing strategy.
- How our strategy is a work in progress as is social media itself.
We (my wife Ally really – I hadn’t joined her in the business yet) started with a website around 2004 and a blog in 2007, but for a while we didn’t really know what we were doing. Interestingly, as much as other platforms appeared and evolved, many still say that your website and your blog are still your two most important sites because you own them – you don’t own your page on Facebook. We’ve gone through one complete redesign of the website and we still update it semi-regularly. As for our blog we also went through a major overhaul of that too (more on that in a bit).
March 10, 2010 was the day Frameable Faces joined Facebook as a page. When facebook launched business profiles that was a game changer. These have evolved quite a bit and the tools available to a page administrator are just fantastic, providing you with real time data about how many people you have reached with each post, how many are clicking on them, sharing them, demographics of the people who like your page – the list goes on and on. Facebook is a great way to build a following and share content and interact with your fans. It also allows you to promote your presence elsewhere like your blog, YouTube channel, Pinterest page or wherever else you are in cyberspace. We now have 904 likes – not a huge number which is fine with us. We’ve grown that number one by one mostly with clients, vendors and partners and we’d rather have 904 fans that connect with our studio than 3000 fans who liked our page to try to win something and don’t know us or don’t care about us. As a side note we have a second facebook page just for our senior business with just under 200 likes.
Twitter (we are @frameablefaces) took us a little while to latch on to. At first we just automated our facebook posts to post to twitter until we figured out what to do with it. That was my decision and I still can’t believe I did that… As a general rule of thumb you should never automate in my opinion. Scheduling a tweet for later in the day to space out your content is okay but if you are going to bother with a platform then you need to actually be there. No one wants to try to interact with a comment you made somewhere else which has been imported by a robot. The best of twitter culture is in the conversations between people connecting with each other. You can provide links to various items in your tweets, but just make sure you are actually there to interact, otherwise don’t bother. Twitter has plenty of customization to help you get the most out of it like “lists”. Think of them like the bookmarks in your web browser to manage the websites (or in this case tweets) you like to follow. For example I have created lists for “social media focused” and “photography”. I use Hootsuite to set them up in different tabs so I can follow each category in a manageable way, and our lists are public. If you are interested in seeing who we follow for social media or photography. I also tweet as @dougcohen10 where I indulge my own social media, history, music, and football obsessions.
Back to the Blog and content marketing philosophy
We recently relaunched our blog and I was invited to write about it on a blog called The Collective entitled “The Return Of The Photography Studio Blog”. We moved to a self-hosted model so we would own it and we committed to posting consistent and original content. This content strategy extends to all our platforms – we do NOT waste time selling at people. I still see this a lot and it’s boring and cheesy. “Book a session now and get free this or free that! Hurry – only 10 spots left!” Gag. We prefer to put the focus on our “frameables” (our people) by posting images of them from their sessions (with signed model releases of course), and content from around the web that helps them and brings value to their lives. http://blog.frameablefaces.com
In a sentence or two we use the following platforms as follows:
YouTube – We have our own channel for slideshows, interviews, and behind the scenes videos. You can customize your page and subscribe to other channels where you can learn from other studios around the country.
Pinterest – Fun way to share and discover items from around the web. Represent your style and culture with various pin “boards” by category. Once again not too much focus on ourselves here – even less so than the other platforms. The culture of Pinterest is not to self promote your own work too much but rather to share interesting items you find around the web.
Google+ – We violate the rule of having a page that we don’t pay much attention to here… We still don’t see a lot of people using Google+ despite the pundits talking it up. We focus where our people are and we don’t see them here. This could change and we don’t want to completely blow off Google because, well, it’s Google. We also have Foursquare and Yelp pages but we don’t put much energy into them either at this time.
Instagram – We just started on Instagram. Like a micro photo blog with fun image layers. Not the ideal way to show off your finished images but we have used it to post fun pics we take with our smartphones of various happenings with our studio. Things like poison ivy on a location shoot and pics of Ally photographing for example. Photographing a scene from one of our high school senior sessions can create some fun buzz with their friends and the location map can highlight some of the locations we use around town. Same as our twitter handle – @frameablefaces
LinkedIn – Good platform for business to business connections. We network there for some of the commercial work we do and I use it personally for some of the social media consulting I do on the side. LinkedIn is admittedly not our strongest platform yet but we are working on it.