[This information was compiled for a speech for Toastmasters and I though it would be useful to share it on my blog.]
About a year ago, I challenged myself to promote my photography on FaceBook, which I am not a fan of at all... so I read through quite a few articles... followed various recipes... and in less than a week, I got 100 likes on my profesional page, starting from 16! Like number 100 came through just before embarking on a plane to Congo... During the next 2 months, the number climbed to over 1000! Then, I got another 500 likes in the following 6 months... I was thrilled!
So I got the numbers... the followers... the QUANTITY.
But social media is not only about quantity, it is about QUALITY.
Let's look at FaceBook, the giant of social media for people and businesses. However these 2 must be separated. Open an account in your private capacity, that is your personal page. Then create a professional page for your photographic business.
Make sure to customise these pages properly. Write a great profile about you and your business. Choose a nice portrait picture of yourself, not you and your dog or your cat or your gold fish. FaceBook is about people, about YOU. On your photographic business page, the avatar could be your logo but only if it looks great in a square. However if your business is more about you, once again, you should use a great portrait picture of yourself. Then make a nice background banner on your business page, showing your style of photography.
And finally your tagline... You must convey your offering in the most concise way possible. The human being's attention span has decreased radically with the onset of social media. So make every word count. Think about it as if you were on a dating site! You only have one chance to make a first impression!
So your 2 pages are ready, then what? What is your ultimate goal? To sell your photos and your photographic services? But to whom? For that you need to build a good FaceBook following, right? So what is your plan?
First of all, from your personal page, you will make FaceBook friends with all the people you know and who are - obviously - on facebook. Some will keep following you if you post interesting articles, with photos and videos. Then, you should invite them to like your business page, so they will automatically see all your posts.
OK, so let's say you have been very lucky and all your 73 FaceBook friends have liked your business page... then what? BTW, what is on your photographic business page? Interesting articles relevant to your work. You want to present yourself as an EXPERT in your field. DO NOT SELL in every post... some social media gurus say only 1/20! And remember pictures are better than words... and often videos are better than pictures.
What you want is to increase your audience. But how? Well, you can hope that some of your followers (the friends who liked your photographic business page) will share your posts with their network of friends or onto other FaceBook photographic pages or groups... the problem is that you have very little control over that passive viral marketing.
But there is another way, a more pro-active option... it is to search for photographic FaceBook pages or groups that have similar interests. Some FaceBook groups are public and open to everyone to post, others are closed groups in which case you will need to either be invited or request to be part of the group; some groups are even moderated, which means that after being accepted as a member, your post also needs to be accepted by a moderator.
This might take some hard work but this viral marketing is going to result in quality followers!
Important, always remember to use FaceBook for posting and commenting as your photographic business page and not in your private capacity, so when people see your posts and comments and click the link, they will visit your professional page.
From now on, you will have become a FaceBook addict... of course you would have downloaded the FaceBook and Pages Manager apps on your smartphone and use every single free moment to check what is happening, which notifications you are getting (likes, comments, shares...) and how your business page is performing.
I am so lucky my new partner - Lisa - does all that for me! Well I do a lot for her too which I am not going to share here... She is incredible! Last week, in less than a few days, my posts had reached almost 100000 people... With just one photo, which she shared in several specific photographic groups, I got more than 200 page likes in 3 days!
The figure that actually interests me the most though, is the number of people engaged... not with a ring... but the people who talk about you, your posts, your page, your photographic business...
This has worked so well for me that I have already had several requests from potential buyers...
I hope that this brief overview on what FaceBook can do for your business has already convinced you...
What about the other social media... of course, you need to choose according to your needs.
As keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki says, there is a P for each social media... People for FaceBook, Perception for Twitter, Passion for Google+, Pimping for Linkedin, Picture for Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr, and so on...
Let's take Instagram. That social media is great to share photographs. In less than a week, Lisa got me 244 followers. Every day, she selects one of my best picture, writes a little caption with plenty of hashtags. Hashtags are some kind of keywords that people search for in Twitter... Oh she is so good at that! Then she posts it on Instagram which automatically reposts it on my FaceBook profesional page, which in turn re-posts it on Twitter...
And be smart, as according to some statistics, you will get more results with the following posting frequencies done at the best time :
- Google+ : 1-2 @ 9-11 h weekdays
- Facebook : 1-2 @ 13-16 h weekdays
- Twitter : >=5 @ 13-15 h weekdays
- LinkedIn : 1 @ 17-18 h Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
- Instagram : >=2 @ 17-18 h weekdays - up to 20 h on Monday
- Pinterest : >=5 @ 14-16 & 20-23 h weekdays with weekends being the best
However this is just a guideline, and the best approach will be to check the stats after posting and see what works for your specific audience.
The recipe is always the same...
Customise your page with a great avatar, a stunning cover picture, a super sexy appealing tagline, and a well written profile or about. Then post interesting articles related to you or your photographic business regularly, re-post if necessary, like and comment on other people posts and reply on all comments on your own posts, but always be positive. Join other groups or circles or whatever they are called, and be active by posting positive and constructive comments.
AND best of all... find someone to do it for you, especially if you have something to barter with ;)
That is what I would call "Maximised Social Media Efficiency'!