You may have heard the term "Hot Thread" by now, and with regard to Facebook, this is the best way to get more interaction and reach for your posts. This system engages your viewers and their friends so you can use Facebook's algorithms to your advantage.
Simply posting your amazing images and waiting for the likes to roll in just doesn't cut it anymore.
A "Hot Thread" has less to do with the content of your post, and more to do with your online presence with the post. This means that when a fan comments on your image, you reply back to them in a short period of time showing that you're actually there and reading what they have to say. The reason this method is so beneficial is because of two things:
1 - Facebook wants to spread engaging material
2 - Your clients want to know they are actually talking with you
Think about the last time you commented on a post form someone you look up to. Did you hear back from them? If so, how did you feel?
I can remember many times that I've commented on posts, only to wait 3 seconds before receiving a reply from the photographer I admired. I could almost visualize them sitting at their computer, or looking at their phone and having some connection with me.
It's kind of like when you go through a meet and greet lineup with a famous band. You line up, get your picture taken with them, some part of your body gets signed, and then you move on. How would you feel if the lead singer was staring off into the distance and talking to his buddies while you were trying to engage with them? Pretty worthless I assume. In contrast, how would it make you feel if they took a few moments to really connect with you and talk? They would be placing value on you because they are trading their own valuable time to spend a few extra moments with you. I'm sure this would make every Taylor Swift or Jonas Brother's fan buy WAY more product at concerts!
So think of yourself as a Rockstar for a moment. Now stop. Get your head screwed on straight and don't get an ego. People really do want to connect with you and share some dialogue, so here's an easy system to ensure that you can make that happen.
1 - Post Great Content - At time of post
Content is King. It always has been, and likely always will be, so it's important that what you're putting out is your very best work and marketing efforts. Resist the urge to post large amounts of photos at once as that will often lead to less interaction because your viewers will spend their allotted time just clicking through and liking images, rather than commenting on them. A single image with a call to action is the best way to create a buzz.
2 - Prompt A Response - At time of post
Ask a question that requires a personal response. People love to have their opinions heard, and this is especially true when you are there to validate it with a response. If you want your viewer to go to a webpage, provide a link and encourage viewers to click on it. Ask for what you want, and more than likely you will get it if you ask nicely.
Here's one example of a way to have fun with interaction and to encourage sharing.
3 - Tag Relevant People - 5-10 minutes later
This step is best when it comes after the post has been live for several minutes. This gives the first batch of people the chance to see and interact from their news feeds. The second batch of people comes from tagging people in the images so that they see it for sure, and their friends will likely see it more often in their news feed. Don't cheat with this step and tag people even if they're not in the image, people read right through that and get turned off.
4 - Post The First Comment - 5-10 minutes later
If you ask a question in the post, answer the question for yourself in the comments, not the post itself. When someone sees a post in their news feed that has a comment on it, they are more likely to think about commenting on it as well. Not many people want to be the first commenter. If you already had some comments in the time that has gone by then it's your choice whether or not you post your own separate comment or just reply to theirs.
5 - Reply to comments - 20 - 30 minutes later
This is where you can really engage with your audience in real time, and can rack up the Facebook algorithm points! When people see that you're commenting back to other viewers, they will also step in and comment so they can talk with you as well. It's pretty simple:
More comments and likes = More wide spread reach
Something I suggest to adapt as your strategy for replying to comments is to judge your length of response based on their length of comment. My theory is that if they took time to write out something, I'm going to take time to write out something as well. Obviously, as posts get more and more comments, this becomes harder and harder to do, but that's why we're dealing with Hot Threads and not every post. For example, here are a few comments with what I consider suitable responses:
Comment - Great shot
Reply - Thanks Sandra!
Comment - I love this! you really have a great eye for what you do.
Reply - Thanks so much Bella, I really appreciate it!
Comment - How did you do this?! I've been trying sparkler shots at the last few weddings and haven't been able to get anything I'm really excited about. Any tips?
Reply - It definitely takes lots of practice to get really comfortable with them, but you'll get there! I would suggest you take a friend out one night and setup some shots to experiment. Bring lots of sparklers with you and show me what you got when you're done. I'm happy to help if you have some shots you'd like to show me!
6 - Get Off Facebook
We all know how much time we can "spend" on Facebook, and we need to make sure we keep that in control. If you adapt this system, and especially this timeline, you will get the most bang for your buck as far as time is concerned. I encourage you to block your time on social media, and if you block off half an hour you can easily get a great Hot Thread going with this system.
If you want to see this in action you can check out my Facebook page, or just try it for yourself. I'm sure you'll find great success with this as you get creative about your posts and your calls to action.
Great info. Will try all of these on my next posts. Thanks!
awesome.. great.. fantastic.. can´t believe how great this is!!!
you could have cured HIV or invented a 22 stop DR sensor and i could not be more excited... i just pee myself.
HAHA, you're hilarious! Thanks
This has confirmed a few things I've suspected and given me a few extra tips. Nice article.
Great, thanks digitaloxygen!
I see you're in Vancouver, I'm up in Kamloops. Pretty cool to have some Canadian representation on Fstoppers. Keep it up!
Hey I am from Kamloops (well Chase, but shhhhh) and I am living on Vancouver Island:)
Sunt un batran cu pula goala
Si te astept.
Hai de mi-o scoala!
I'm going to pretend I understand what you just said. Judging by the exclamation mark, you're either excited or really mad :)
Haha.. excellent "come back" !
The point 5 : "Reply to comments"
won't really work with French people as they are way less
enthusiastic and they will fell that you try to fill the post ...
Interesting point SamtenNorbu! What would you suggest then for French people?
( you're using your own rule very well ;) )
but to be honest : i still try to figure out how to create great feedbacks ...
For the moment it's still seems random on how some pict have great feed backs and some don't ...
You can have a look to my page, i have mostly French fans : https://www.facebook.com/SamtenPhotographe
(but my ego would love to have the satisfaction of high rank feedbacks ;) )
You say you have mostly french fans, yet you describe your photos in english.. that seems like part of the problem. It would also help to have a more engaged description. Simple 1 line sentences don't usually cut it. That said, your work is great!
Thanks for the advise :)
I put my descriptions in English because à tend to have a more international community of followers, i usually share through my personal wall in French ( depending on the time i share them ). But you're right about the "one line sentence" ... i'll make a try with longer descriptions.
A suggestion for #7: Post your content during lunch. It's when most everyone is awake, and are available to browse.
Daniel huppert. Not always. The best way to really know about your audience visit habits is by going through your analytics. My page gets the most visit from 6 pm to 9 pm. So knowing that I future post for this times and it works magic!
How are you able to see the time frames that our Facebook Page gets the most views?
These are great tips. I'll give them a try (tweaking them to my audience), along with some of the other tips I've been reading about lately.
Great, wishing you great success with it!
really who want stupid likes?
get a life kids. they mean nothing... you all should go and visit a shrink.
"oh what a beautiful photo" ...apply it to EVERY CRAPPY SNAPSHOT YOU SEE.
I think you are missing the point Ulf. Many photographers use Facebook as a marketing tool. Sharing your content and getting more likes spread the word and gets you exposed to people you otherwise wouldn't have. Facebook is just a piece of my overall marketing plan, but a valuable one.
I agree with Pete. It's not that photographers need tricks to feel good about themselves but rather a way to increase "likes" because "likes" equals exposure. When you shoot 25 weddings a year and gain an additional 20 likes with each wedding of happy fans that saw you rock it at a wedding - that's an extra 500 potential sales people with your brand that continuously (or occasionally) pops up in the news feeds with great photos.
If you've ever heard of the marketing term "top of mind", that's what Facebook is great at!
So yeah, I like those stupid likes.
Friday Wedding Photography
Interesting. I think the first point I made is probably the most important one that you would agree with then right? Great Content is the most important thing. I think Shrinks often work on negative attitudes and deep seeded pain...so I think we're ok. Hope you're doing great Ulf!
Thank god I'm not alone thinking this.
If you need likes in your life/workflow, you have it backwards. Many great photogs aren't even on facebook and can't keep up with the demand....
While it's probably good advice on "getting likes" (I didn't read it because I cound't care less) the whole "like/share" system is stupid and morbid.
But please be my guest and feed that monster...
You didn't read it but you're commenting on it? Ok. I would love to hear what photogs aren't Facebook and what they would encourage someone who is starting out and not as established to do. Seems like marketing is marketing to me...and if you read this article, it's really about front of mind awareness and customer care, which are 2 essential pillars of any marketing campaign. Looking forward to hearing your tips.
Marketing is as much disgusting as Facebook as a mean to expose and "reach" new clients.
Marketing is the art of making you want something even if you don't need it. It's creating envy. It's attaching a feeling to (most of the time) an inanimate object.
If someone needs to agressively market themselves, I'd say they are hidding stuff. Good, reliable product don't make the head lines. Think Gitzo, Really Right Stuff, etc... Same applies to service provider.
Counting likes is comforting but doesn't mean s***. Paying THAT much attention to likes and other things is unhealthy.
You are still missing the point of using Facebook as a marketing tool. As a portrait photographer I use multiple approaches to get and keep my name out there. I have photos hanging in local restaurants, businesses and dance studios. I place ads in local papers. I work with local schools on photo fundraisers. I show off my work on Facebook and that is in turn shared with others. I can reach people on Facebook that I couldn't reach in other ways. The plan is to have people see my name in many different venues and locations. When they think of portrait photography they should think of me.
Exposing on facebook makes sense (exposure is always good).
Counting likes? A bit desperate don't you think?
I'm from a small town, and I only started doing photography full time a year ago, and literally ALL my business originates from fans of my facebook page, so to say that likes have no influence, is... well, you're probably just a troll, and an idiot.
Good for you.
Now go back counting your likes! ;)
So if you're not using Facebook to market your business that's cool. Many businesses today do very well without any form of official marketing. But most businesses today can't survive without some form of marketing and Facebook is the easiest for most small biz owners.
Sure counting Likes may be dumb, but the reality is the more Likes/Comments you get on a post the more exposure you get. I equate it to a friend passing out your business card to another friend, which I'm sure you would encourage and be ok with right?
I think you are forgetting that there are a lot of different types of photography. If you are a retail photographer—portraits, weddings, headshots, etc—then facebook, and in turn likes, are an incredibly useful marketing tool. For a commercial photographer facebook can still be incredibly useful but it's not a must have the way it is with retail photography.
I loved the content. Very helpful advice. However, I just don't get how all these people with the negative attitudes towards Facebook and "Likes" have the time to read this and leave comments. Maybe an article on a good attitude check would be valuable.
hahaha, you're so right Cindy!! Thanks :)
Agreed! This is a great post! I am going to try it too! I usually post and tag at the same time, but I am going to try doing it in a more of a staggered way as you suggested! Thanks!
Glad you're thinking about it strategically!
Great post! Keep up the good work!
My fiancé and I are photographers starting our business in Austin, Tx. We just bought your dvd´s and watch them everyday, we are half way through.
I´m sure you hear this a lot but we think you guys are awesome for sharing your knowledge. We are learning a lot from you and the great posts on your webpage.
This is our webpage, we know we still need to invest in a better webpage and separating content. www.samadhiphotography.com
Samadhi Photography (like us on facebook) :D
Hope you guys keep shinning!
Liz and Adrian
Thanks Liz! Keep rocking it, then you'll also get to the point that you're able to give back and help people starting out as well!
Great post. Thanks for laying it out so clearly. Appreciate it.
I think this is a great article and advice. I do a lot of my marketing on facebook. It is very discouraging that my hard work is reaching somewhere between 5%-7% of my clients. I, for one, am going to try this! Thank you!
Hoping for great success for you Tracey!
Totally agreed that content is king. Even with a simple question will allow others to join in the conversation as well.
If you dont mind, I would like to share my page: http://on.fb.me/14XXvUs
Thanks. . .
I will try this on my next posts too.
Good piece @disqus_cAzzWOej2M:disqus. I've been doing this method for quite some time on my pages but never officially gave it a term. "Hot Thread" is kinda fun to think about now!! I'm gonna summarize and expand some on your post on our blog over at Post Planner as I think our readers would enjoy the read. Thanks bro.
That's great Scott! Thanks for the link backs!