Over the years I have been able to organically build a base of over 26,500+ people that follow my work on Facebook. In addition, while many complain that Facebook is only sharing their posts with less than 10% of their fan base, I am averaging around 40% of my fans that are seeing my posts. So what's the secret? Here's how I get my fans engaged and some tips that will help you do the same.
As a wedding photographer I have thousands of photos of couples, hundreds of ring shots and more pictures of wedding dresses than I know what to do with. But do people surfing Facebook really care to see more photos of a wedding of people they don't even know? Unless they are actively planning their own wedding my guess is no. So why is it that as wedding photographers we focus solely on filling up Facebook feeds with our favorite wedding photos?
What I have found over the years is that the photos that get the most engagement from my fans are the ones that have nothing to do with weddings. Typically they are photos of my kids, my pets or other random daily happenings in the Dayley house. Let me share some results with you.
On average I receive about 150-200 likes for each photo I share and a handful of comments. However a few days ago I shared this photo of my boys playing outside in the rain and it picked up 738 likes and 23 comments. About 3-4 times more than normal.
Here's another example. I woke up one morning (well actually it's about every other morning) and had my son's foot in my face. I reached over to my bedside table and grabbed my phone to capture this selfie. Shared it on my Facebook page and it picked up 686 likes and 28 comments.
This next photo I shot of my daughter out playing softball. The sunset was gorgeous. She was lit up by the lights from the stadium. Sadly I didn't even nail the focus. But posted it on my Facebook page and it racked up 1,356 likes, 45 comments and reached 19,032 people.
I want to remphasize that these photos are nothing spectacular. I realize that but yet time and time again it's these types of shots that get much more engagement from my fans. Why is that important? If Facebook sees that your friend John "likes" a photo on your page then the next time you post a photo you will have a higher probability that Facebook will deliver that content to John's feed. So the more people you get liking, commenting or sharing a photo on your page the better chance you have of Facebook resharing future content with them. Like a snowball rolling down the mountain this continues to build and build with each post. Just because one is successful does not mean that the next one will be. You have to keep working it actively and sharing content that gets people engaged.
One night I was alone at the house and each time I would walk around my cat would jump out at me ninja style. When I realized he was doing this each and everytime I walked by I decided to grab my camera, toss on my wide angle lens, point my flash directly ahead at low power and focus a few feet out. I then carried the camera down low by my hip and as I walked by the cat I grabbed a few shots of him attacking. Posted it on Facebook and picked up 1,120 likes, 119 comments and 47 shares.
The point I am trying to show here is that as a wedding photographer my wedding photos are not the ones getting my fans to engage. Or in other words stop trying to make your page about how great you are. Instead share your life with your fans. Let them see behind the scenes. Let them be able to relate to you. We need to stop trying to make every post a sales presentation ("hey look how good I am") and instead fill your fans Facebook feeds with content that helps you come off as another friend and someone they can actually relate to.
Social media brand consultant Gary Vaynerchuck wrote a great book called "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook." In it he compares Facebook posting to a boxing match. If as a boxer all you are doing is throwing right hooks (posting your best photos) people learn to expect it and grow bored and tired of it. Instead you have to soften them up with jabs (pets, family, quotes, funny stories) and then after you have softened them up you can toss in a right hook every so often. No one likes to be sold to and especially while browsing for a few minutes on Facebook so instead make the experience enjoyable for your viewers and you will be rewarded with those likes, comments and shares that will result in more views and eventually more fans on your page.
Here are some more examples of how this idea is working for some other talented photographers.
Janelle Putrich Photography started posting a series of self portraits on her Facebook page and as a result her engagement began soaring. Here's one example of a self portrait that received 426 likes and 39 comments.
Melissa Kilner Photography got a new puppy. Posted a sweet shot and asked her fans for name suggestions. By the end of the day she picked up 178 likes, and over 80 comments. That was about 3x what she was getting from most other posts at the time. She is now averaging around 200 likes on every photo.
Chad DiBlasio Photography shared this photo of his family taken by Sara Long Photography and picked up 300+ likes and 30 comments.
I know the buzz out there is that Facebook is dead. Photographers are scampering looking for the next big social media outlet to share their photos and stir up business. I'd challenge you to give Facebook another 6 months. Put this to the test. Give yourself a goal to post one photo to your Facebook page everyday. Every third day mix it up a bit and instead of sharing your work share something different like the examples above. When someone comments on it be sure to "like" their comment so they know you read it and if it calls for it engage with them on your page in the comments.
Give it a shot. It's worked for me! Facebook is one of my biggest sources of referrals for my business and I am certain it can be for you as well. Much success! If you have had success doing this in the past share a link in the comments below along with your results.