Contributing article by Armando J. Pérez-Carreño
In today’s crowded online world, a good social presence can make or break you. Here are five tips every photographer should consider to run an effective Facebook campaign.
So, you decided to become a photographer right?
That’s great! What’s your focus (pun intended)?
But really, the very first thing you have to do is find a niche or target market to focus your efforts on.
1. Own your niche
You can’t imagine the number of entrepreneurs that come to me and say their service “is for everyone.”
“Everyone is a potential customer” they say, when asked who their service is for…
This is especially true with those who are just starting out. You may be worried that if you don’t take every available gig you’ll end up without work.
So you end up doing all sorts of different shoots, from wedding photography to newborn sessions, to product photography… And the list goes on.
And sure, you “could” theoretically take pictures of anything under the sun, but you would become an expert at nothing. You end up doing it for the money instead of for the love of it—which is the real reason why you started in the first place: the passion for photography.
I’ve seen it time and time again, accepting sessions just to “have work” turns your favorite hobby into a burden and—as with any artistic endeavor—your creativity tanks and it shows in your work. Eventually the quality diminishes and it takes your self-esteem with it.
“Are You Trying To Scare Me?!?”
Of course not! Quite the opposite, actually. I am helping you save a lot of time and effort so you can enjoy what you love doing the most and get paid exactly what you want.
Trust me, put this in practice and your professional life will change dramatically for the better.
Focus. Focus. Focus.
What do I mean?
For sake of example, let’s say you are a Wedding Photographer.
Once you decide you are a Wedding Photographer (and nothing else), a series of interesting events start to occur:
- Whenever someone asks your profession, you can firmly say “I am a Wedding Photographer” and it’ll be instantly clear what you do (no more trying to explain).
- You know exactly who your target market is: People who are about to get married.
- Because you know who your target market is, you know how to reach them (more on that later in the article).
- Your marketing efforts immediately become more simple, because now your website will talk exclusively about wedding photography, and will tailor to that crowd.
- Your social media followers will love you, because you’ll only be posting information they are interested in (instead of a mixture of everything under the sun).
- And, finally, referrals become way easier, because all your reviews and testimonials will be appropriate for future clients.
You see? Focusing has its benefits, and—I left this one out on purpose—you become an expert at what you are doing. Thus increasing the quality of your work exponentially and giving you the skills necessary to dominate your market.
And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you can’t branch out to other areas of photography; it just means you should focus on one thing at a time until you master it and then—if you want—expand your service offerings.
2. Use a Facebook Page NOT your personal profile
This is perhaps the biggest mistake I see with small business owners and their Facebook marketing: they use a personal profile for business.
This is bad for you for a number of reasons:
You lose a lot of the cool features a Business Page gives you. You drastically limit your potential reach. Facebook can decide to close your account citing a breach of terms.
So why are people still doing it?
I believe it all comes down to lack of good information. I was having a conversation the other day with Vanelli and this topic came up. I think he put it in a great way when he said he wasn’t using a Page because when they first came out a few years back they were called ‘Fan Pages’ and it felt a bit snobby—so it didn’t really resonate with him.
Pages have come a long way since then and I am glad they changed their name as well. Now for the fun part: One of the main benefits of having a Business Page on Facebook is that you get insights from everyone who interacts with your page.
Insights help you to figure out what kinds of people are interacting with your posts and your page. This is a great (free) way to start narrowing your target audience. If you see that mostly women from ages 25-34 are interacting with your posts, for example, then you know that you can create more content focused on them.
Insights can give you a bird’s eye view of your page’s reach or, if you prefer, a specific analysis on a per-post basis.
Ever wondered which posts work better between video, image or text only? No more wondering! Now you can know exactly what sort of traffic and interaction each one is getting you.
This helps you choose the right type of content for your audience by using actual data. And, of course, you can even look at the best times for posting.
Again, this is all based on your page, in your market. You will no longer have to base your decisions on what you read on someone else’s blog.
Interaction and reach change drastically between niches, so it is important that you use real data based on your audience so you can offer the best possible experience and get the best possible results.
Finally—and this is important—if you are using your personal profile for your business, Facebook can decide to remove your profile. This does happen and we’ve seen it happen to various people who had no idea. Now you know.
Facebook wants businesses to use Business Pages and people to use personal profiles.
Why? Updates from family and friends have a higher priority in the news feed, and a business using a personal profile gains an “unfair” advantage.
3. Reach the Right Crowd
As you’ve probably heard, Facebook posts can have “organic reach” and “paid reach.”
Organic reach is the number of people that your posts reach “naturally.” People may see your posts because they follow your page or because someone else shared your content and one of their friends saw it.
Paid reach is when you boost your posts to reach a larger audience anywhere in the world. What many people do not know is that “boosting posts” is just the tip of the iceberg.
Facebook has a whole advertising platform that you can use to reach precisely the correct audience you need to reach. You can define audiences by location, interests, demographics and even spending habits!
This is why I made a point of focusing on your niche. Once you know exactly who your best client is, you can tell Facebook to show your ads to people that fit that particular description. Everyone else, you can safely exclude (and save money in the process).
“Does this mean I don’t have to bother my friends and family with yet another post about my services?” YES! Only those who could benefit from your services should be in your target audience.
For the example we’ve been using, your audience is: people who are about to get married (or are planning a wedding).
Here’s an example of an audience to consider:
- 21 to 26 years old
- Location: (enter your city)
- Relationship status: Engaged
- Interested in: wedding photography, wedding photographers
- Interested in: wedding dresses, bridal makeup
- Interested in: (enter popular bridal publications and magazines)
If you target people with these characteristics, they will more than likely enjoy your posts and interact with them. People in this “audience” already have a need and you are simply providing them with a solution!
4. Explore New Audiences
You may already have a great idea of what interests people have in your market, especially if you’ve been in that market for a long time, right?
Well, if you run out of ideas, here is a special trick that will help you find new interests and demographics that apply to your particular market It’s called Audience Insights and it is part of the Facebook Ads Manager.
Even though it is part of the advertising platform, there is absolutely no cost to use it (yes, it’s free); yet many people don’t even know it exists.
This tool lets you add interests, demographics, age, location, etc. and returns extremely useful data about the people in said group.
You’ll get information about which pages people like, where they are located, how much they use Facebook on mobile or desktop, if they spend money online, travel for business, and so much more… Then you can use this new information to create an even better audience for your next posts.
5. Use Calls To Action
The last tip I’m going to give you today is probably the most important (right after focusing on your niche): Use Calls To Action.
What is a call to action? Just as the name says, it invites a person to do something immediately after viewing your ad.
Most people simply publish interesting posts, quotes, etc. and look for interaction. This is fine to get your name out there, but if you want a return on your investment—and fast—then you need to give people something to do and make it perfectly clear.
For example: Your ad talks about wedding photography services. If it only presents information, it does not invite me to take action. Maybe, if the stars align, I’ll contact you in the future. However, if your ad says: “get a free bridal consultation today,” it immediately lets me know what to expect after I click on your ad.
Now—if your ad takes me directly to a webpage that talks exclusively about this particular service and presents a booking form where I can submit my contact information, you are giving me a call to action.
Giving people an easy “next step” and guiding them to take action is the best way to get results fast. Whether it be booking an appointment, placing a down payment, ordering your book, subscribing to your newsletter, or whatever action you need them to take, make it as clear as day.
Well, that’s it for the five things every professional photographer should know about Facebook.
Do you have any more tips you would like me to include? Comment below!
About the Contributor:
Armando J. Pérez-Carreño is a best-selling author from Mexico. He teaches workshops and online classes on how to use Facebook to market your business. You can find out more about Armando by visiting Academia Ads.