Leveraging Facebook for Your Photography
- [Colby] We've talked a lot about some of the core elements of social media and kind of where we started and where we come from and kind of how to build that foundation of creating kind of an idea of a social media strategy. And now I want to dive into some of the platforms and some of the networks. So Facebook. Who here, raise your hand, in our audience here, who here is active on Facebook? Okay, better question, who here is not active on Facebook? I like it. It's okay. Facebook is, as I've talked about before, one of the networks that is almost impossible to ignore and it's kind of interesting because a lot of people actually don't really love Facebook. It actually has pretty bad approval ratings and overall satisfaction ratings, but most people are there because everyone else they know is there. And so from a personal level, your family is there, your mother, your father, whatever, your coworkers, other brands. And so that in itself draws a lot of people to keep coming back to Face...
book. And so for that reason, as a photographer, you can't really ignore it. It's someplace that you should be. And so let's talk about a little bit about the network and talk about how I feel you should be using it. So Facebook itself, again, was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2005 and it started off as a social platform for college students built in the dorm rooms of Harvard. And the whole core concept of it was simply to be a communication tool between students, to be able to engage with each other, to talk to each other, to learn from each other, and from there, that initial core reason of why Facebook came to be helped direct a lot of the different choices they've made over the last 11 years, 12 years, to be where we are today. And that's really important because that gives you an idea of why they built the network as they did and how it's operating now. So let's talk a little bit about some of their numbers. So right now Facebook has around 1.5, 1.79 billion users. That's B, billion. And is growing, still growing at a 16% rate. Now, there's certainly talk about things like Snapchat and Instagram taking some of the younger demographics, which is true because the growth rate is not necessarily correlated with the younger generations, at least as significantly as the rest of the market demographic of people that are typically using Facebook. So it's still growing and it's going to continue to grow. Remember the statistics when we first started this class. You know, there is 2.7 billion people that are active internet users. Like they still have ways to go and because they're the largest, they... It's like a planet in the solar system. The larger the planet gets, the more it's attracting, and that's what's going to happen. So Facebook itself generates over 5 billion likes a day, so people that are liking the content that are on there. It's a lot of people out there for photographers to look for. People to engage with, people that you want to push your stuff out there and hopefully they engage back with you. There are 1.18 billion or daily active Facebook users. That engagement or that amount of active users is fairly unprecedented in the social media space. It's a large block of 1.79 total users to 1.18 people that on a daily basis check into Facebook. So I've gone through and checked out my feed, I've checked what my family is doing, I've checked out what other companies are doing, we are, you know, promoting this class. It's all pretty standard and common for us. Again, we talked about before the significance of mobile. And mobile is important to understand as a photographer because, again, you have to understand the mediums in which people are viewing your content. So if you're posting stuff out to Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat, you realize that when they're viewing your content, they're viewing it like this, vertical format, and then you have so much stuff happening on your screen. So because of that, that's why a lot of social platforms generally see more interactive rates with vertical images. Because mobile rates are growing higher, so more people are viewing content based on the fact that they're viewing things from their phone. Have a question? - [Woman 1] Yes. My question is about video. What do you think about vertical video versus horizontal video for Facebook specifically? - That's a good question and it's also a bit of a pain point, to be honest, because as content creators, I think the idea of vertical video, for the longest time, has been this sliver in our hand. It's like why would you create vertical videos? Everything we've seen for the longest time has been horizontal, that's the way movies are supposed to be, but that mindset is changing. And the reason it is changing is because companies like Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram are all kind of building out their platforms based on this idea of mobile consumption. And so, for me, what you're seeing and what you're going to continue to see a lot more of is big name companies and big name brands out there are going to be cutting movie trailers to fit into a vertical format. They're going to be splicing up their film or their videos to create marketing pieces in vertical format because those are generally going to get more engagement. Because if you think about it, it's no different between photo and video. So from Instagram, you sit there and you look at your screen and a horizontal image is only going to take up so much here. So it's going to be a small portion of what you see. A vertical image is going to take up more of it, so you have more chance to inspire people or to pull people into what you're doing. So for me, vertical video now is not something that I personally shoot with the mindset of shooting in vertical, but I'm going to create my videos or my marketing campaigns or whatever I do and then I will make sure that a couple of those cuts will be put into that format and the cuts will be specific to be towards that idea of mobile consumption. So yes, I think they're important, I think Facebook is pushing it, which we'll talk about in a second, but vertical images or even square images, you're seeing a lot more of that because that's a little bit easier. (inaudible) great because if you think about it, a movie format, if we think of this as a standard movie widescreen, 16 by 9 format, if you do vertical, then all of a sudden, the content you're seeing is very small. So what people are doing is they're putting it into a block and so it becomes a square block like Instagram and that is a combination of the both. So a long winded answer to your question, video is important and vertical video right now is actually seeing more engagement than we've had ever before. So definitely take advantage of it. I just don't recommend shooting it with that mindset. You know, do it after the fact. So here let's talk about some of the demographic. Ages 25 to 24 make up around 30% of all users and that's the largest demographic. Where Facebook is starting to lose followers or at least slow growth is in the 24 and younger and that's where places like Snapchat are growing exponentially. Is because a lot of that younger generation are leaving Facebook for these younger, more content that is built on scarcity and other things that we, again, will talk about here in just a little bit. Now, let's talk about some statistics about Facebook and why it's important again. So average visits to Facebook is around 20 minutes at a time. So if you think about most websites, like what are the general retention or times for people staying online? For my website, it's probably like five to six minutes. I don't know what it is for Creative Live. Obviously, people are watching videos, so that's probably maybe an unfair comparison. But in general, 20 minutes to be active on a single site is actually quite a long time per usage. And, again, people are doing this multiple times a day. Highest traffic statistically happens midweek between 1:00 and 3:00. Now, again, this is based on a correlation of a lot of different social platforms or a lot of different profiles and business pages. It's not necessarily guaranteed to be a success for you, but in general, studies have found that posting during midweek, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, during the middle of the day, again, we talked about before with Instagram being before work and after work, lunch break, maybe there's a correlation there, tends to have the highest amount of traffic. Now engagement itself... Now, traffic is people that are actually online. Actual engagement for content tends to happen at the back end of a work week. So Thursdays and Fridays get 18% more engagement. That doesn't mean you should only post once a week, then that's the time to do it. It's simply saying that hey, if you're going to create a schedule for your post, maybe try to experiment with some of your more engaging stuff to happen during these time spans. Experiment, see if it works for you. 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every single day. There are over 83 million fake profiles on Facebook. So if they have 1.79 billion accounts, 83 million of those are fake. So fake followers are people that are trying to spam you and market to you generally. They're from a lot of developing countries which is fairly prominent. There are also bots that are set up and all sorts of other stuff. Mostly I mention it just so that you're kind of aware that there are quite a bit of it out there. It's not necessarily something you have to worry about, but it is prevalent. Five new profiles, so five new Facebook profiles are created every second. So that's 5, 10, 15, 20. These are all new people that you can potentially be engaging with. So, again, these are really important numbers just to kind of exemplify what most of us already know. Facebook is important. You may not love it, you may not even like it sometimes, but everyone's there, so you really can't ignore it. So Facebook personal profiles versus Facebook business pages. This is probably one of the biggest questions that I get when it specifically comes to Facebook. What do I do? Do I create a personal profile and just run it like that? Do I create a business page? Isn't Facebook not pushing out my stuff and the algorithm holding things back causing me to have to pay to play? These are pretty common. I'd be interested to know for all of you guys here, how many people have a Facebook business page? Okay. How many people just use their personal profile? A couple people. How many are happy with either of those two? I see no...there's no hands. There's no hands. No one's happy with either. And I can understand that. I can understand the frustration. Again, we talked a little bit about the algorithm of why a lot of that uneasiness or unhappiness is probably there. And if you guys, again, have specific questions, we'll certainly talk about some of those things. But when it comes to personal profile and a business page, there are differences and there are reasons that I recommend that anyone that wishes to run any sort of photography business, whether you want to be paid for it or not, or whether you just want to take it seriously or not, is to create a business page. So let's talk about the first difference. So the first difference is in the total number of followers or fans that you're able to get on each. With a personal page, your limit for Facebook friends, 5,000. You cannot get more than 5,000. If you try to get more than 5,000, you'll get errors. People will get messages saying, "Hey, this person has reached their limit. Please try again later." So you cannot have more than 5,000. Now, you can follow people on Facebook now for personal profiles, but most people don't in terms of personal profiles. Generally, more of the friendships. You have to be a friend and when you're a friend, it does two things. It means that you're actually a friend and you're connected with them. It also means you're following them. For business pages, it's all just about following. It's all about about being a fan. Business pages, there's no limit. So could be 5 million, could be 100 million, doesn't matter. So that in itself is important. Know that the ceiling for your growth for in terms of follower numbers is significantly lower with your personal page. Now, in addition, business pages also provide important statistical information. So it's what's called Insights generally with Facebook and what that does is Facebook is actually better than most other social platforms in giving you a lot of information to digest and to try to understand. It's going to tell you, of course, how many engagements you got per post. It's going to tell you what type of engagements you got. When I post on my business page, it's going to tell me how many people clicked on that little corner box and said, "Don't show me anymore from this guy." It's going to tell me how many people sit there and said, "Hey, this is spam or this is not something that I like." And over time, with a lot of statistical information that you can gleam from the business page, as well as some third-party services that we will discuss a little bit later, you can get a much better accurate profile of how your page is actually doing. So you can sit there and say, "Okay, when I post during the morning, I get this type of engagement. All these different type of numbers are showing." And then what you can do is you can kind of put those next to each other and it will happen in a chronological order and you can say, "Oh, I'm getting this much reach per posts." And all of a sudden, you can see that there's this, maybe you're getting 20,000 impressions per post and all of a sudden this next one is 5. Then you can look at that post a little bit more and say, "Oh, I didn't include a photo. I was just kind of pushing out text and trying to get some engagement that way." But regardless, you can understand why things are happening for you. So that's another reason why I recommend the business page. The next one is you can't boost posts. So when it comes to personal profile, you have no means to extend the reach. You are literally left up to the Facebook algorithm gods to determine how much of your stuff is going to be seen. And yes, I will be honest that over time, it has been showed, statistically proven, that Facebook seems to be lowering the organic reach of Facebook profiles as a general thing. It's not happening across the board, it's not happening for every account, but a lot of places are lowering that reach to sit there and say, "Hey, you're going to push it out and maybe 15,000 people might see it." That's kind of what the reach is. To sit there and say, "How many people can see it?" So not how many interactions you're getting. How many people are actually seeing it? So that is happening. But that being said, the ability to boost your posts, in my opinion, is big and it's big for the reason that you get to subjectively choose what type of content that you want to push out is going to have when you want to give it a little bit of extra energy. And you can do that in a way that is very targeted. And I don't want to get too much into the details because, again, there will be other sections for that, but the idea that you can sit there and say, "Hey..." I can say, "Hey, I am going to push a post out," and I publish an image of Iceland or Patagonia or Norway or one of my workshop places and I post it out there. So I'm going to include a link, we talked about links generally. You're going to get a little bit lower reach because Facebook says, "Hey, I don't want that to go everywhere." So you push it out there and maybe I get a sign up. Someone says, "Hey, I want to come with you to Patagonia." Perfect. That's awesome. Well, maybe I have two extra spots to fill. If it's on my personal profile, that's it, I'm not going to post again, spam my audience to market whatever product and services I'm doing. Where with a promoted post, I can sit there and just click the Boost Post button. I can sit there and say, "Hey, I want people that are in North America that follow my page and maybe people that are my followers and they're friends so people that are similar to see this and I'm willing to put 200 bucks into it." Because for me, $200 is kind of a drop in the hat if I'm charging $4,500 for people to come to Patagonia for me. That may be advantageous for me to push out there, but I have the option. With the personal profile, you have no option. So we'll talk about paying to play in terms of spending money to create ads or boost posts in a section specifically correlated with that, but I want everyone to understand that you have no options when it comes to having a personal profile. In addition, there's two things left. One is that on Facebook, Facebook business pages, you have the ability to schedule posts, which is really big, because for me, generally... So a really good example is the last week and a half, maybe two weeks. If you guys all went into my social media feeds for all the different platforms that I'm active on and you looked at the amount of stuff that I published out in the last two weeks, you'll see that I dropped off. I didn't post as much as I normally do because I was busy creating this class and doing a handful of other things. And so scheduling posts in times like that can be highly advantageous and there are third-party options which, again, we will discuss. But specifically within Facebook, a lot of the times like when I'm traveling, I'm working on a project, I know I'm going to be gone a week. So what happens is Sunday comes around and I'll go through and I'll look at the week and I'll schedule out my post. I'm going to write the copy for everything, include the links when I want to include it, I'm setting the time of day that it's going to post. I'll spend maybe 25 minutes putting together a single post a day on my business page, making sure stuff goes out, and I'll send it out. And then that stuff gets scheduled and then Facebook makes sure it goes out, so that even when I'm super busy, I'm still going to have content out there that's going to be getting engagement. And this is important because what's going to happen for me and my social platforms having not been consistent over the last two weeks is that I'm going to pay for that. I'm going to pay for that with a drop of engagement for a short period of time until I get things back because Facebook, again, and Instagram and all the social platforms reward consistency and consistency includes timing. So if you're constantly posting, you're constantly publishing stuff, you're going to get rewarded for that with engagements and within reach. If you sit there and you don't post for a while and you come back and try to post, your engagement is going to drop. People aren't used to seeing your stuff. You haven't developed and improved your algorithms in terms of those engagements and what's happening. So the algorithms don't understand necessarily that what you're posting out is something people want to see because you haven't really been doing it. So scheduling for Facebook business pages, to me, is really handy. I use third-party systems when I want to do more of an overall strategy for a campaign because I want to sit there and have Twitter and Facebook and all this other stuff, but when it comes just to Facebook, every once in a while, I just want to make sure that my page constantly has content and so I'm going to use that. And again, it's a tool you don't get with your personal profile. And the last thing I'll mention... Oh, question. Yes. - [Woman 2] Does Facebook know the difference between you posting something and having a third-party program post it? - That's a good question. So the question was essentially does Facebook know where the source of the content is coming from? And the answer is absolutely yes. And what I have found through my own studies, which probably aren't super 100% scientific, but I imagine, logically, there's correlation across the board, is that things that happen within the Facebook universe are going to be promoted. Rewarded, I guess is more the accurate term. Things that happen outside of it might get dinged in terms of having a negative reaction. Now, it might not be a ton. if I sit there and you use Buffer, (inaudible), or some of the other stuff that we'll talk a little bit about tomorrow, I think, I think there can be advantageous aspects of that and I think that depending on how your followers are used to stuff coming from third parties, there may not be a huge drop off. But overall, I found that as much that you can keep in network in terms of feature sets and content that you're creating is generally going to be rewarding to you. Like for me, I rarely use third parties to schedule for Facebook because they have a tool and that allows me to do essentially what I would be doing on a third party, but I know that Facebook is not going to penalize me for it. So yeah. There may be a penalty. For other stuff in terms of content source, Facebook does penalize, so I don't see why they wouldn't for this if that makes any sense. And the last one that I have, the last piece, the last difference is essentially that a Facebook personal profile, according to the terms of services that we all agreed to, and I'm sure everyone read thoroughly, essentially stipulates that you are not supposed to use personal profiles for business purposes to make or generate money. So on the off chance that a random Facebook employee or an algorithm they've developed determines that you are trying to use your personal profile, in theory, I've never heard of it actually happening, they could close down your account. It's a risk. It's something to think about. Like I said, I've never ever, ever heard of it actually happening, but it is technically in their Terms of Service. Use call to actions, we talked about this before. Now, there are times when I'll just post up something and there are benefits to sit there and just saying, "Hey here's a pretty photo," and give some sort of fanciful name to this photo, eternal light and post it out there and just let it be what it's going to be. But every once in awhile, probably at least every couple posts, I recommend including a call to action. Have some sort of text within your caption or if you're just posting straight text, which you can do now and then, have some sort of call to action that's going to spur positive engagement. I think someone brought up that question before where it's like how do I get engagement besides people just saying, "Great photo." People are going to say, "Great photo," no matter what. But if you can ask questions that correlate with the content that you're creating, you, again, are giving that...you are providing that conversational opportunity. That conversational opportunity has value in itself, but also to the networks to sit there and say, "Hey, someone actually commented in. Rather than just liking this page, they commented in. And then this page actually wrote back and then there was a dialog and it continued back and forth. And maybe there was 10 people that did it." So that's telling Facebook something about your profile. People are engaging and they're not yelling at you. They're not clicking on the Like button and going all the way over to angry every time you respond. But regardless, the call to actions are huge because they spur that engagement and that engagement is good for you because it only increases the algorithms' view of you as a profile. So asking questions are great calls to answer to sit there and say, "I'll do a post on Iceland. Has anyone been to Iceland? The weather was like this. What's your favorite lens to use?" Here's a post, I'm also looking for a tripod. What do you guys recommend? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter necessarily what it is, but the idea is that that call to action is spurring that engagement. That engagement is going to help you become more favorable in terms of the relationships that you're building both naturally with your followers because they're engaging. I spoke to someone earlier and I can't remember who it was, saying that they were surprised that I actually responded when you asked a question about a specific camera. To me, the fact that that's a rarity in this industry is an absurdity. Social media is about those connections, about those engagements, about responding and engaging to people. And you are constantly rewarded for it and yet still people don't do it. People will post and then I'll look at their pages and people have questions and...especially pages that have gotten some momentum and have some followers and they'll never go back and engage back with them and I'm just like what do you...these are wasted opportunities both from an algorithmic standpoint as well as from a conversational standpoint which again builds that relationship and that trust. Especially if you're selling products or services, that's huge. Don't be afraid to boost posts. Now, this is something that I talk much more in-depth in my class about monetizing social media for outdoor photographers, which is separate from this class, but I will say that I highly recommend that people don't become so fearful about the idea of spending a little bit of money here and there to help boost some of your posts, especially the ones that are important to you where you actually have value that can be attached to them. Whether it's you're including a link to your blog or you're selling a product or service or whatever it is. Something that actually means something for you to get out there. Don't be afraid to do it. But there's also a lot of benefit to using it strategically to help you increase your organic engagement, your organic reach. So a lot of the times what I'll do is I'll intermittently boost posts here and there, not because I'm sitting there and saying, "Hey, this is a wonderful photo that I'm so attached to and why didn't so many people like it?" But I did so so that I can increase that engagement and when that engagement comes, I'm going to be ready for it. I'm going to engage back all those people that engage back with my post because I boosted it. And by doing so, I'm doing what? Increasing the algorithm. I'm increasing the profile because yes, I had to pay to get my post to see more people, but out of that payment, became organic interaction that I was able to then spur to increase more engagement, which only makes my relationship with those people that might not have seen my post if I didn't boost it to be higher. And so the next time that I go out and post, maybe I'll get a little bit more reach. Now, if you strategically try to figure out ways in order for you to boost posts, not necessarily just because you want that one post to have a certain number of interactions, but because you are strategically using it as a tool to increase the potential for you to have those engagements and then you engage back with them and hopefully conversations are started, that can be quite advantageous for you. And I've found a lot of success over the years. I know a handful of photographers that have highly active Facebook pages now that did so by, yes, creating stunning content, and, yes, being quite engaging, but also because they weren't afraid to spend a little bit of money here and there for the purpose of a long term-benefit, not necessarily for the short-term game of that single post that you were marketing or whatever it was. Again, people don't want to be marketed to, they want to be inspired, and the best way that you can encourage people to hire you or clients to purchase your products is through that idea of inspiration and inspiration generally doesn't come in a marketing pitch. It comes from organic interaction. So the more that you can work to increase your organic interaction through things like boosted posts, which are inorganic, the better. And it's one of the tools you have at your disposal to drastically push your stuff out there and say, "Hey, there's a great call to action in this thing. I'm getting some good engagement. Let's spend 10 bucks. Maybe that will help." Maybe you'll have to spend 200 bucks or 100 bucks a month or 60 bucks or figure out a budget that works for you and throw a little bit of money at it. And think about the target demographics, which, again, I know I haven't talked about just yet, because you'll be able to choose who you're boosting those posts to. But even if you just want it to be to your followers that are already seeing it, the reason that they're not seeing it is because those algorithms have determined that that content is, I don't want to say worthy, but they don't need to be showing it. So if you can show Facebook that maybe they do need to see it, then you can use Facebook Boost Post to help you get there in ways that you couldn't otherwise. Utilize your personal profile and your business page. Again, this is something that I do and I'm a big fan of it because it allows me to do both things. It allows me to have a personal page that is essentially very...that is on point to the business stuff that I'm doing, but a personal page that allows me to allow people into my life, into my brand. Again, I share pictures of my family, I talk about what's important. I'll share my opinions, every once in a while, I'll break my rule of talking about religion and politics because all those engagements are still engagements. But it allows me to do both, so I highly recommend that you use both. And you can use your personal profile to help lift up your business page every once in a while. Or you can sit there and post to your business page and then maybe a couple hours later, I highly recommend not doing it right away, but a couple hours later, you can then share that post that you have from your business page onto your personal page. And by doing it two times of the day, you're hitting different demographics and different people, different followers. And then you're getting a little bit more engagement on that original post and then that spring things a little bit more. It's creative thinking like that that's going to really help you build your audience. So linking your IG profile to your Facebook account if you have Instagram, highly recommend. Instagram is still... Facebook owns Instagram and Instagram is connected to Facebook, so I still find it advantageous when I share... I'll share content to Facebook and then within... Oh, sorry. Share content to Instagram and then within Instagram, I will share that to my Facebook business page, and a lot of the time that's rewarded quite heavily. I don't necessarily know why, I don't know if Facebook is sitting there and saying, "Hey, this is coming from Instagram, so let's actually boost this up a little bit," but I find that the engagement is actually quite high. So on your Instagram post, what I do is I post my photo and then once it's posted to Instagram, you hit the little menu item for that specific post and then you go to share it. And then under sharing, if you've linked your profiles, you can select your business page and then share it directly to it. Then you can change the text, so you don't need to worry about hashtags or tags you put in there. You can change the text all around to whatever you want to, you're repurposing that original content. Again, I don't recommend doing it right away because you don't want to spam your followers with seeing the same image across multiple platforms. It's a personal pet peeve of mine, but it is advantageous. Utilizing Facebook live video and video in general. Again, Facebook is thirsty for video. They want to beat Youtube, I get it. They're putting stuff behind it. Doing Facebook live videos, uploading videos to your stuff is being promoted. So do as much of that as you can. Even if you're not getting a ton of engagement, in general, if you do it consistently, you should see an uptick in your overall reach for your content because they feel that you are engaging and trying to work with stuff that they're trying to promote. Schedule your posts. Again, if you have a hard time finding time each day to get your post out and remain in that consistency, schedule your posts. Question. Yes. - [Woman 3] On Facebook, we all... I'm sorry. On Facebook, we all deal with trolls now and then, what's the most effective way to deal with them that doesn't ding you in terms of engagement? - So the question about trolls, I mean, for me, most of the time... So engagement is still engagement. Now, of course, there's probably keywords being understood about trolls coming in and saying horrible things. To me, honestly, I don't worry about it too much. Now if it's offensive or vulgar or whatnot, pretty quickly, especially if it's my business page, then it's done. Like what's the point? What's one person saying disparaging things about me for whatever reason when there is 1.8 billion other people that are on Facebook to engage with? I just don't have the time for that and I don't think necessarily blocking people hurts any sort of algorithms. Maybe if you do it like religiously and there's like 1,000 people a week that you're doing it to, maybe there's some negative aspects. But for the most part, when it props up, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and give an explanation of saying, "Hey, I don't really appreciate that type of stuff. You're free to share your thoughts and opinions, but keep it within the spectrum." Usually, the trolls are trolls, so they'll come back with some wonderful retort and then they get the ax. I don't want to spend time on it mostly is what it comes down to.