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.