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The Rise of the Curated Feed

Lesson 9 from: Developing a Social Media Strategy for Photographers

Colby Brown

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Lesson Info

9. The Rise of the Curated Feed


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Ages of the Internet


What is Social Media?


Social Media by the Numbers


How Social Media Changed the Photo Industry


Social Media Myths


Finding Value in Social Media


How does Noise Effect Social Media?


Lesson Info

The Rise of the Curated Feed

- [Colby] This is important. That's what we're talking about, that face value. So, the face value, the idea that we're creating content. You're a photographer, you create a post, create an image. You're hopeful that that image speaks to your followers, and, at face value, for social networking, that's important. The other side to the coin is the four-letter word that we like to call algorithms for social media. So, the other side of the coin is that every different social platform is trying to do the same thing, to make the end user have as an enjoyable experience as possible, occasionally spending money, and then making money, but having an enjoyable experience as possible. So, the algorithms that are put into place are done so so that when a user goes onto Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, they are seeing more of what they want. It's also known as an echo bubble, and I'll show you how that works, how it really works in real-time with an image, in just a second. And, essentially, wh...

at's happened is this idea of real-time versus curated streams. Now, when social media first came about, first launched on the scene, every single social platform had real-time streams. And what that means is that, let's say, everyone here in our class, you guys all followed me, and you guys were all online, everyone was having lunch at the same time, and you guys were all having a great bite to eat somewhere here in Seattle, and I posted something, and you guys were all online. So, every single one of you guys would have the opportunity to see that. It's real-time. It happened. Twitter was the most famous that had it for the longest time, don't anymore. What's happened is this rise of curated feeds. So, with curated feeds, essentially, things have changed so that the algorithms can make subjective choices based on a lot of different variables to try to figure out what it is your followers want to see, and as a content creator, this is huge. This is the reason for most people's frustration when it comes to social media, is a lack of understanding how algorithms work, why they were put in place, and how to get around them a little bit. So, let's dive into something here. This is my amazing wife, Sarah, and my son, Jack, and we're going to use them as examples, mostly because I just like to plug them into the work that I do, but, also, because, well, my son's cute, so… I have this image that I posted on Facebook. So, this is my Facebook business page which I use, posted on January 5th at 1:23 p.m., great time for me to post online for my specific Facebook page, 12 to 1:30 is usually pretty engaging for me. And, as you can see down here, I have a lovely and supporting wife, Sarah Brown, +1'd it, liked it, or gave that "wow" face, I don't know which one, I'll have to ask her. So, she likes this specific content. Now, when she liked this post, that did a number of things. Anyone want to grab a mic and tell me one or two things? Just guess. There's no wrong answers. Just guess what you think that meant to Facebook. It's a good question. There's no wrong answers, please. - [Female 1] Well, I was going to say, it's going to show up on her news feed now and tell all her followers that she liked this picture. - Okay. Yes, it's going to do that. But diving in a little bit deeper, what did that…why did it do that? If you don't know, you can say you don't know. It's okay. - I don't know. - Okay. Okay. Go ahead. (inaudible). - [Female 2] It's going to show Facebook that she likes seeing landscape photography, and, perhaps, show her in the future those things. - Yes, excellent. And that's what I want to get to, the idea that engagement with a social…with any content that's out there, has value to Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, all the different social platforms. And what it's doing is it's telling a couple of very important things to Facebook about Sarah, my wife, and about me. So, let's talk about one of them. First off, we'll say…we're talking about "interested in landscape." That's also part of it, but let's say, for today's educational purposes, let's say it said that Sarah is interested in Iceland. This post has Iceland in it. There's the title, "Iceland," maybe I did a geo post…a geotag in it, so it's telling Facebook that, "Hey, Sarah Brown might be interested in the content or the idea of Iceland." Okay, that's good. I post a lot about Iceland because I teach a lot of workshops there, which make me quite a bit of money. So, I like that. That's good. It insinuates a certain level of trust. Sarah trusts Colby Brown Photography, my page. So, there's a relationship between the two behind-closed-door Facebook profiles, or whatever information they've gathered, has now increased because of a simple like. What it's also done is said that Sarah is interested in more photos of me, or from me…sorry, more accurately. She might like pictures of me, but, in this case, more content from me. So, there's trust level about it. She's saying, "Hey, she's interested in Colby Brown Photography, so next time he does a post, maybe I'll show it to her, especially maybe if it has 'Iceland' in the title, because there's two points of contact there." It also is saying, in this specific post, that Sarah might not mind URL links in her feeds. Now, URL links, which we'll talk about in this course, are an easy way to sit there and drastically drop your engagement for posts, because most social platforms want to…they're greedy. They want all their engagement on their platform. It's one of the reasons why YouTube video links on Facebook now do horrible, because Facebook wants to promote their own videos, stuff that's on their network. So, when you post links to stuff, and you haven't…just out of the bat, a lot of times you will see your engagement drop, and part of that is psychological, so there's some elements of that in terms of a lot of people not wanting to leave and go beyond outside the network, so it might just be…some of it is a societal thing, maybe people just aren't comfortable with their personality, but, a lot of the time, it's because the networks or the stuff isn't showing for you. So, it's really important, if you want to include links for posts that you want to do that have value, you need to train your followers, you need to ingrain it into places that you might not care so much about the links going back so that when you do post stuff that does have links that are valuable to your brand, they're used to seeing them because the algorithm will help you out at that stage. And then, Sarah wants to see more from Colby Brown Photography. So not just images, but the fact that we're seeing more. So, this happens, again, on every single social network, and what also happens with all this is the idea that there are degrees of value depending on the type of interaction, and this is where things get kooky, and crazy, and fun, but this photo that I shared of the back of my camera, in Trinidad, Cuba, had 24 likes, and 1 retweet, and 3 replies, or…yeah, something like that. And, essentially telling Twitter a lot about the engagement of the users with this, there's a different valuation for the people that are liking, retweeting, or replying. And so, if…from a Twitter standpoint, let's talk about retweets. So, if you sit there and someone is going to retweet your work, or you retweet something of mine, and you don't put any text in here, that's telling Twitter something. That's telling Twitter that you like what's here, but you're not really that engaged because you're not adding a little bit of your own stuff. You put forth the effort to add your own original text into it. That is a different valuation for Twitter. And the same thing happens for Facebook. Facebook recently came out with these emoticons, or…no, they're not emoticons. They're reactions, I think is what they call them, and, essentially, a Facebook like is something you can just press the button. You press "Like," and people like it, and it's all good, but it takes extra effort to hold your finger down and drag over and say, "This makes me sad, or angry, or wow, or love." Each of those different reactions have a different value proposition to Facebook. Why do you think they came out with it? For the betterment of humanity? No. They want to have another layer of understanding of the content that you're interested in, and just how much you're interested in that content. And, again, it's not about you as a user necessarily, it's about you as a content producer, understanding that this happens. And so, you want to shoot for the types of engagement that are meant to incite the most value for you. So, everything a user does online is being quantified. This is just reality. Every single interaction, every single delay…let's say you come across a screen, and it takes a second before you click on a video, that tells Facebook something. All those actions have value, and are helping to determine what these algorithms see, and understanding that will hopefully help you have a couple of different ideas of how to get around them. So, let's talk about the different affects, what affects the algorithm itself? So, who publishes the content? So, whoever…if I publish it, or you publish it, we publish the same photo. Now, let's say we had…for the sake of argument, we had the same followers, but we have…you have a similar brand profile, at least, to Facebook as you do now. We'll have different engagement rates because we have different profiles, because…not "profile" profile, but Facebook thinks of us differently, and the same thing happens with this. So, who published the content? Which page or personal profile did it come from? What kind of content was published? Was it an image? Is it text? Is it a YouTube link? Oh, no, we don't want to share those. What kind of content? What is the source of the content? So, is it a URL link? If it's a URL link, is it from a place that Facebook also has an understanding, and do they trust that content from that place? Maybe they don't trust the content, so they're going to quiet it down a little bit. What time of day was it posted? Middle of the night, middle of the morning, before work? And the interest profiles of your photographers. This is really the target market. What are your profiles…what do they want to see? How has that relationship been developed? These are very important aspects. And keywords in the post. There are times when I'm posting where I use the word…I'm a Sony Artisan, so I'll use the term…I'll say, "Sony camera this and that," and there'll be times when that has an adverse effect because sometimes Facebook…when I put on my business page, Facebook think that I'm making a business post, which generally means they probably want me to pay to get more reach. So, if you use keywords like "sale," or "deal," or things like that, engagement's going to drop, not just because people don't want to be marketed to, there's an element of that, but because Facebook wants you to pay to have that privilege. So, just know that that's in there. Work around, be creative, buy a thesaurus, or go to, I guess you don't have to buy them anymore, but, either way, use creative words and experiment because those all make a difference. And engagement once it's posted, this is another thing we're going to talk about. I'll get to your question in just a second, but, engagement once it's posted. So, something comes up. What happens right away? People engage with it? Do they like it? Do they share it? Do they like it and then move it over, and do they love it? That matters to Facebook. If something's getting hot, they might want to show it to more people. Question. - [Female 3] What about hashtags? - Hashtags. Well, it's…we're running a little bit behind with this stuff, so what I'll say with hashtags, we'll talk a little bit more about that in a segment, but, for the most part, hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, positive. Facebook, have no value. Hashtags can really help you find and search stuff, but we'll talk about that in an Instagram section more specifically. But, yeah, specifically Facebook, they tried and, "Yeah, Facebook…hashtags matter," and then they're like, "It doesn't really matter." Yes, question. - [Female 4] Regards to the algorithm, what would be the difference really between just putting, say, CreativeLive in the post versus checking in at CreativeLive? - Both different things, yeah, absolutely. I think, just saying, "CreativeLive," has a different value than if you actually try to tag CreativeLive, which has different valuation probably than if you have to check CreativeLive. So, a lot of the times, if I don't have to, I won't tag posts, tag a company, unless it's really integral in terms of what I'm trying to do. So, I'll just use the basic text. "I'm here at CreativeLive doing this," and then if it's something that I built up a following, or a couple people have…it has some engagement, so I've been telling people about this class for a few days, then I don't mind tagging it because there's some of that connection already. - What about in terms of… if we go back to your photo of Iceland, where you just wrote "Iceland" in the post. If you actually tagged that location, as opposed to, say, a company or another person…? - Yeah. Well, I think that has, yeah, a different value because that's determining what you're interested in, not necessarily determining the relationship that you would have. So, for my wife saying she likes the post, or something that has "Colby Brown Photography" tagged into it, is telling Facebook something different than if it was a photo of me that wasn't tagged. So, it's a content different versus of publication difference. So, those are different relationships that Facebook's trying to determine. So, for me, for Iceland, obviously, I'm just going to Iceland so I'm just going to say Iceland, it's a content subject that I want my Facebook page to have a value for people, and I want people to follow me that are interested in that, because I want to talk about Iceland because I want to sell workshops. So, yeah…so check…the idea of checking in or using geolocation, that stuff does have value. How much each of this stuff does, to be 100% brutally honest with you, I am basing all this stuff off of my engagement and the work that I've done over the last 10 years, and a lot of my other peers that we're talking about, where we've had discussions about what works, what doesn't, and what they're doing. Facebook, this is their bread and butter. They want to keep this a secret. They don't want to sit there and say, "Hey, a 'like' means this, and a 'love' means that." They'll never tell us that, but a lot of it will be experimenting. When you're going out there, try a post like that. Try to sit there and say, "Hey, I'm going to do a post and I'm just going to mention a business," and then maybe do another post a week later around the same time, and tag a business, and do it again where you're checking in and see the difference, because, most likely, you'll see a difference, if a lot of the other variables there wasn't too much fluctuation. - Okay. Thank you. - Absolutely. So, yeah, I know we have a lot to…we still have quite a bit to go through. Okay. So, why is your content…so, this is why your content isn't being seen. Again, it's not because people hate your work. It's not because you're a bad photographer, or anything else. Again, maybe there's some truth, I don't know. I don't want to sit there and say everyone's an amazing photographer. Some people aren't necessarily gifted with photography in terms of a skill set, but, for the most part, this is the reason why a lot of stuff is being held back. So, if you have 1,000 followers and you're only getting 50 interactions on Facebook, this is why. Understanding why it happens, and how it happens, again, can help you figure out ways to work around it.

Ratings and Reviews

Giles Rocholl

This course is designed to help you develop a Social Media strategy if you are Photographer. I am a professional photographer with over 37 years of experience and although I know how to use Facebook and Instagram I didn't really understand how to use them to achieve business and personal goals. I started watching this course about 2 months ago and have just finished it due to work commitments. However I have put into practice his advice as I learnt new understanding and my following has grown rapidly. Also my work load and quality of assignment has increased dramatically too. It takes some brain rewiring to understand how social media has taken the place of many traditional media streams but Colby does an excellent job of painting a picture that helps hugely. The best thing about Colby's strategy is that it is real life, honest and something I feel I can personally and ethically live with happily. I happily endorse this course and recommend it.

Beatriz Stollnitz

I was very lucky to be in the audience for this class. Colby is an incredible instructor - he has the rare combination of being successful, knowledgeable and talented, but at the same time down to earth, approachable and genuinely willing to help others succeed. The content presented is actionable - I have so many ideas of things that I can do right now that can help my online presence! I can't wait to get started!

Rob Lettieri

I learned a few things I never knew...especially the whole inside scoop on LinkedIn....who knew??? Easy to listen to....a lot of deflection to later answers to questions...which would have made a director allow for less...why ask if you cant answer just then....and he says every question is a "great question" but it clearly isn't in a few credibility goes down...I understand positive enforcement for the millennials...but every question is not great. otherwise easy to follow and straightforward....

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