Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers


Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers


Lesson Info

Paying to Play on Social Media

Paying to play. Again, this is something we've talked about. I am a proponent of the idea, at least, objectively, in use for your accounts. And the idea is essentially that you're creating content and it's pushing out there, and the algorithms are saying, "Maybe not everyone needs to see this right now." And I'm sure they're doing it for some altruistic reasons, to make sure that everyone's happy on these networks. They're also doing it for financial reasons because they want, like, money. Personally, I'm not opposed to giving companies like Facebook money if it becomes advantageous for me. The challenge is, of course, creating...understanding the right way to do it or the right way to use it or leverage it in order to order to help you, rather get you in a cycle to be dependent on it. All right, you don't want to get into a situation where you're constantly having to boost posts because nothing else is happening. I think that's what happens for a lot of people. They sit there,...

and they boost posts and they see some engagement and then nothing changes. The idea is you have to have some sense of a strategy. You have to implement some sort of, you know, either call to actions or something to inspire or to create engagement after you paid for inorganic growth, or inorganic increasement of what you're doing. And most people don't do that. They sit there and boost it and then they don't do anything different and then they boost again, and then they post back and nothing's happened. So you've got to change things up a little bit. So is it worth it? In my mind it is. In my mind boosting posts is a great way to potentially grow your organic reach. It just takes some time, it takes some money investment, and it requires you to be highly engaged. It's also a great way, again, to change your market demographics. If you want to change things up and you want to share and post stuff that your audience currently is not truly getting, but that's what you want to do, use your boosted posts to not only reach your audience, whatever organic reach you're getting currently on places like Facebook, but to then also reach your target audience. So then hopefully your audience continues to grow because hopefully that audience finds what you're doing engaging. Every time I boost posts, my numbers go up. And it's not because I'm boosting it asking for likes. I'm never asking for likes. I'm boosting it creating engaging content. And when people see it, at least a decent portion, then turn around and follow me back. And then that person becomes part of my circle. And at that point, I then need to figure out ways in order to cultivate that relationship so that they see my stuff every time. And I do that by doing all the things we've talked about, CTAs, asking questions, getting to know my followers, harnessing the relationships. So when you sit there and what happens when you boost the post is that you're on your desktop or your phone and you go to your post... This is a post that we had where...this is actually the boosted post. So I did a boosted post for this class, and I felt that it was amusing to screenshot it and talk about it. So we sit there, and I wanted to boost this post to reach more people, not just my followers, but just a little bit more. And so, what we did is I created the post, knowing that I was going to boost it. I didn't want to create an ad. I prefer to boost posts than create ads most of the time. And I essentially sit there, wrote out what I wanted, talked about the class, what you can do, here's where you can RSVP. Some of you may have seen this, I don't know. Some people that are watching right now, you guys might have seen this. And essentially at the bottom of the social media post, there's a little icon and it says, you know, "Boost post," or "Boost". And you click on it and then the screen pops up. And then here on the screen you have a handful of different options to kind of determine who you want to reach, how much money you're willing to spend, and what's the duration, in which case you are willing to do so. So a lot of the times when I boost my posts, I'm doing it for two reasons. One is to get my content to be seen by more of my people that already follow me. Facebook has decided that whatever I pushed out there, they didn't think they should see, because my reach was low. I have 125,000 people and this image or this post went out there and reached just under 8,000. That's a small percentage, right? So I wanted to reach more of those people because those people are also people that have chosen to follow me. Now, they might not be my highly engaged, but they've already had a connection point. They've already decided to like and engage with me at some point in time. The next thing I want to do, is I also want to reach new people. So often times when I boost posts, what I do is I select the checkbox to essentially say, "Boost this post to my fans, or my followers, and then their friends." And essentially what that does is that boosts this post to people that are actually following my page, and then individuals that are connected to them may or may not see it based on those algorithmic profiles. And the reason that I do that is that it allows for a connection to be between me and this third party individual rather than some random person that I've never known before. Say Scott, whoever Scott is, is a follower of mine and I boost the post out. And he sees it, and he likes it. And it also happens to me because the algorithm says "Oh well, he liked it, let's show it to one of his friends." When it shows the ad to one of his friends underneath the post, what is it going to say? "Scott liked this post." There's another connection point. "Oh, I know Scott. Maybe I could check this out." We see it all the time. I look down below and I constantly see... a lot of the photographers that you guys have seen in the images from in the screenshots and the people we talked about before. I constantly see people that I know engaging with them that are my followers or that I've engaged with because of those connections. And often times it's better, or I've found it to be better, to allow you to post out to that. Now, again, that market audience may or may not be ideal or 100% what I'm looking for, but it gives me at least a connection point and allows me to start a relationship to potentially cultivate them to be a more of a engaged follower. Now what happens when you do this on Instagram? Now Instagram... Well actually, let's go back real quick. So, coming back to this. What we did is, like I said, I wrote it out. I said to my page and all their followers, I sat there and said, "Let's do this for three days." And I put $200 into it. And that $ essentially when this post went out, what I do with my posts to backtrack, is when I know I'm going to boost the post, I'll push it out organically and I'll let it sit on my page for a day, usually 24 hours. Because I want to get as much organic reach as possible. And once that organic reach seems to have plateaued, at that point the next day... So I posted this like midday on a Thursday, and then a Friday morning came around and I was like, "Okay, I've gotten pretty much all that Facebook's going to give me." That's when I boosted the post. I don't do it right away. I want the organic first and then I want to extend that. If you do it right away, I find that things don't go as far. So when I boosted for the $200, it went from, at least from reach of what it said it was going to give me. It went from 8,000 people actually seeing it and there was a handful of comments, seven or eight, and there was 93 people that actually liked it. There was actually much more, thousands of people that actually went through the link and signed up for the course, which is great. Or, not a thousand, there were probably 500 or 600, but when I boosted it for $200, it increased that reach by about 60,000 people. So I went from 8,000 organic to 60,000. And that drastically increased the people that click through, as I just mentioned, ultimately bringing in a couple thousand people that ultimately have watched this or are watching this course. And it was able to give me that reach, an out of that I probably gained a couple hundred followers. And a lot more people signed up for this class. An it was very beneficial. It was $200. And that $200 that you spend is going to vary in terms of how much reach you get depending on that audience that you select. Now we selected for this the idea of doing this, we selected the idea of doing this profile page and your friends. But within that we also had the location selected. So I selected United States and Canada. Now United States and Canada are obviously two Western countries, they have purchasing power. Most Western countries, Facebook and a lot of these other platforms, value higher in terms of a cost per people that are viewing it, a cost per reach, than it is if you select other developing countries. Just the nature of what happens. So depending on what you're looking for you can choose your location. So I was looking for people in North America to follow and watch along because it's easiest. It's in the right time zone, we're doing live streaming. During filming of this course, we're doing all sorts of cool and interesting things. But often times, let's say I'm looking for maximum interaction. Let's say that I'm doing a post out for a marketing company or for something else. Maybe I'll changes that location. Maybe I'll do North America, but I'm also going to throw in, you know, Australia and Germany. Every once in a while, maybe I'll throw in Brazil or India, places in Africa. Depending on what I'm going after, you include other demographics that Facebook feels or charges you less for, you will get more reach, which means, more engagement. So is engagement your focus? Is it actually links or click-throughs? For this, I wanted people to watch this class. So that's why I selected it for that. But if you're going for engagement, like you want to sit there and have a highly engaged post, that you're going to then value and sell that idea to a company or you want to sit there and have it as a pinned post. In your pinned posts, you want to look like it's super, super engaged. You can boost your posts to whatever demographics you want to go for, and that's where you increase the perceived value. Maybe not necessarily the actual value, but perceived value is huge for anyone that's played poker before. If you look like you're holding four aces, you don't necessarily have to hold four aces. So sometimes it can be the simple idea of, "Faking it until you make it." I think there's value in leveraging things like promoted posts or Facebook ads in order to incur engagement. Even if it's not necessarily 100% for the target audience you're going for, there's added benefit to being able to make your page seem more engaging than it might necessarily be. And then you have challenges to eventually have reality and what you have created for perceived interest to reach each other. Because if they don't, eventually it will nip you in the butt. But you have the ability to promote the stuff to wherever you want to. And because, again, Facebook will charge you less to send to other places out there like Brazil and India and whatnot is that you will get a lot more engagement. You will get a lot more run for your money. So, as I said, Instagram doesn't allow you to promote posts, you can create ads. So this is essentially, you click the "Promote" button. Right here you choose, "Am I going to a website," or " you want people to call or visit my business?" And then it goes into similar things. You can select the money, how much it is, where you want to go. I don't do it too much because usually I'm creating ads within Facebook that can actually go to Instagram if I'm creating a proper ad. But it's nice at least to allow this and hopefully at some point I would really love for them to allow to boost posts. Because when I do marketing campaigns, sometimes that can be advantageous as well. I boost a post that I'm getting paid to create content for a company, I want to get all of my followers to see it. So I might charge a company $10,000 and I'll know that I'm going to save $1,000 of that essentially for marketing. So I take $1,000 of that to try to reach as much percentage of my followers as possible, getting the engagement that I'm looking for to show the company. Nothing wrong with that. I mean, I think that's the goal. These are people that are already following me. So have you used promoted posts? Anyone? Raise your hand if you've used it. Can you keep your hand up if you've actually felt that it worked? All right, so we're five for five. That's good. Now again, not everyone feels you need to, and I don''s not a requirement for growing your stuff but just know that it can be helpful. So tips for promoted posts. Have clear goals in mind for what you're after. If you're looking for interaction ranks, you're looking for click-throughs, you're looking for growing your followers. What is the point? Location matters. Select a location that is most equating out to the goal that you have. Know that you're going to get charged more if you're, the more specified you get and the more specified you get within the Western world, the more you will be charged. Just the nature of how they equate things out. Experiment with your chosen audience. So again, you want to sit there and say, "People are my followers." You can create your own audience. That's something we don't cover in this course. It's something that I cover in my class specifically about monetizing your social media following. But you can create audiences based on interests, which is a lot of fun. You might find some success in that. Don't overlay text. Graphics with text overlay get far less engagement. Leave it for the captions. And be strategic about its use. Again, make sure you have an idea of what you're trying to do. So the anatomy of a social media post. Let's take a look at a couple different networks and let's just kind of dissect things just a little bit more. So this is Adam's post here. There's interesting happenings happening. You see all the engagement that he's getting. You see how he's leveraged the use of URLs. We've talked about keeping things short in the caption. So let's look at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, Facebook. Okay, this is one of Chris' shots. So the first thing you're going to notice is that, again, it's a vertical image. It's hard to tell, well it's not that hard to tell. It's essentially the crop of the vertical orientation for Instagram. Again, we talked about Chris uses Instagram to port over. I do myself. So it's a vertical image which does a little bit better on Facebook, more so important on Instagram. Essentially, it's a bright image. Brighter images do do better. And again, I mentioned that you can pull from Instagram because you can. You create a content, you push it on Instagram, send it over to your page. It's a timely post. So we posted this on Christmas Day. It says, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store." And it was a quote from the Grinch. It's a timely post. It's not necessarily a call to action, but it kind of is because the timely nature of it. So he's going to get engagement based on the fact that it's a timely post and the caption he's using isn't asking a question, but it's kind of spurring conversation. The caption is short, simple, to the point. Don't use hashtag on Facebook because they really don't have value. Don't use certain keywords. Again, you're not seeing him sit there and say "sale" or "deal" or "follow me" or you know, "You must see this now," the whole clickbait stuff. Like, Facebook is beginning to penalize for stuff like that. And anything that they think you're trying to do to sell a product, they will lower the reach. So get creative about how you do that. And like I said, a call to action can help. Again, he didn't specifically say, "What are you doing for Christmas?" But the post was timely and it was about Christmas and if you actually scroll through the comments, a lot of people are saying, "Merry Christmas," and "Here's this." So he's getting a ton of engagement but it's essentially equating to the similar actions of a call to action. So engagement with your followers again can help. Now I use Chris' post for this example and, again, we know that Chris isn't jumping into all the stuff, but again also, again, help do your stuff, or help spur the engagement. And the more you that engage, what I do is I post out, and then stuff... people are engaging with the post. And during that interest window that you have for Facebook, that longevity of the post. I will jump back in and talk as much as I can, engage as much as I can, answer people's questions as much as I can. Because while you're within that window, that couple hour window, Facebook is still trying to figure out how the algorithm and how many people should it show. If I could spur that engagement and reply back to someone and they reply back to me, then that's another point. You keep getting that engagement and that's only going to help you during that window when Facebook is saying, "Hey this post is still valuable. I should show it to people."

Class Description

There are no shortages of online networks for photographers to share their images, but which platforms are best for you and how do you utilize them to grow your photography? Sony Artisan Colby Brown will walk you through the foundations of social media and why it’s so important for your brand as a photographer. He’ll show you how to define what you want out of your online experience and how to maximize your time on each of the major networks. 

Colby will discuss:
  • What each of the major social networks are and what they’re best utilized for
  • Tips for growing an audience or followers
  • What networks to use to achieve your goals as a photographer 
  • Tricks to breaking down the different network algorithms to maximize your engagement
  • Develop a social media strategy to build your brand as a photographer
No matter your genre of photography, be it travel, wedding, or pet photography, social media has the power to grow your audience, business, and skills. Learn tips and tricks on where and how to invest your time using these free online marketing tools.

Hoping to go beyond growing your following and learn how to grow your business using these networks? Check Out Colby's other course: Monetizing your Social Media Presence for Landscape Photographers