Ever since Facebook changed to curated news feeds, there has been endless grumbling in the photography community about diminished reach and post engagement. That shouldn’t stop you from trying to beat their algorithms. You can still have a ton of success with Facebook posts. You just need to know how to work the system.
Tag Your Subjects
Tagging whomever is in the photo is the best way to get more reach. Depending on the person’s settings, the post will automatically show up on their wall and also in other people’s news feeds. Facebook doesn’t allow businesses to tag people, so you’ll have to tag them as yourself. Tagging yourself will help as well if you have it set to show up on your wall.
When you post is extremely important. According to Adweek, page engagement and number of likes are highest on Fridays between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. You can also tell when people are engaging your posts most often by looking at your Page Insights. It varies from page to page and depends who your audience is. You can schedule all of your posts to be published at the optimal time.
Call to Action
Calls to action are critical. Facebook has started to penalize low quality posts. They also penalize overt advertisements, so the wording of your call to action is important. Adding one is a good way to get people to engage and show Facebook’s algorithms that you have a quality post. Asking people to like your page or visit your website will most likely be more detrimental than good. Instead, ask people "what do you guys think?" or something else benign.
According to Business Insider, posts that mention the word “congratulations” or “congrats” get bumped up in news feeds. They do this because it could be related to one of your friend’s important life events. You want to know when your friend gets married, right? If you're a wedding photographer, this is easy. Ask people if they can give the newlyweds a congratulations. This will get you tons of comments, higher engagement, and people will say the magic word.
Interact With Your Own Posts
Like your own posts as soon as you post them. The earlier your post gets engagement, the better. Replying to people’s comments also builds rapport with your audience and makes them more likely to engage in the future.
Dripping content is a great way to keep people interested in your page. You can use Facebook’s scheduling feature to set up a series of posts, each revealing a little more about what you’re doing.
Paying for page likes may seem like a good idea at first, but may be detrimental in the long run. You will get more page likes, but the people who liked your page from the ad probably won’t interact with your page at all. This will result in extremely low engagement, even though you may have thousands of page likes.
Photos Are Best
The type of post greatly affects how much engagement posts get. Photos will get the most engagement, closely followed by videos. Links get far less. Plain text updates have the worst engagement. I have posted plain text updates before, and the reach was so pitiful that it wasn't worth doing it. Wait until you have a photo to post to say what you have in mind.
Appeal to Emotions
Evoking an emotional response is the best way to get people engaged. This has long been a technique marketers use to get better return on their ads. It won’t stop working anytime soon.
People are obsessed with stories. Telling a story (with emotional appeal) will work wonders for your engagement. Take Humans of New York for example. All of his posts are about people, and they are relatable. He has the most successful photography page on Facebook, and it's hardly even about the photos. My best posts to date have been about veterans and cancer patients.
Short and Sweet
Keep your posts as short as possible to get your point across. Most people don’t want to spend five minutes reading a Facebook post.
Posting consistently gives your fans something to look for. The more consistently you post, the more people will come to expect seeing your work. This also helps prevent your content from being filtered out of people’s news feeds. If people don’t engage with your posts, Facebook interprets that as them being uninterested in your content.
Content Is King
You can do everything mentioned above, but if your work isn’t up to snuff, your engagement will suffer. Only post your absolute best work. This cannot be stressed enough. Live by the motto of "if someone else posted this, would I press 'like' if it was in my news feed?" If the answer is "no," don't post it. The work you post has to have a wow factor, or people will scroll right past it.
On Facebook’s New Reactions
As of now, any reaction to your post still counts as positive engagement, even if it’s “anger” or “sad.” They may change it in the future so that your post and similar content will be filtered out of people's feeds if they react angrily to it.
There are, of course, limitations to what will and won’t work with the tips mentioned. For instance, commercial photographers may not be able to tag the people in their photos for various reasons. I’ve tested each one of these tips, and they all work well for me. My page is definitely not the largest on Facebook, but my reach and engagement is higher than some pages with 10 times the amount of likes. I hope these tips help you out and grow your business as a result!