When Facebook opened up to allow businesses to have their own pages, I jumped on board. I started promoting my Wedding Photography business on Facebook which is something I had been doing with social media since Myspace started growing in popularity. In the beginning, there was not much more you could do with your Facebook Business Page other than collect likes and post updates. Now there are useful features, which I will outline below.
When I was actively promoting my Wedding Photography business on Myspace, I had a lot of Myspace friends. The logic was that the larger the friend list was, the larger the reach. However, I quickly learned that quantity had nothing to do with quality.
Perception vs. Reality
To me, nothing throws up red flags more than numbers that do not add up. Legitimate likes or follows result in legitimate engagement. I know people on Twitter who have 30,000+ followers and have only been on Twitter for a few months. If you look through their tweets you see nothing that would lead one to believe that they should have 30,000+ followers. I also see Facebook pages with the same thing going on. I am aware that you can pay people to load you up with Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers but if you look at the lists of their followers or likes the accounts are obviously fake. The fake accounts do not comment back on your posts or retweet your quips.
An active social media profile should have engagement taking place. I see social media engagement as two way conversation taking place on social networks. Though the term “engagement” in association with Social Media is overused, I believe for the most part it’s misunderstood. I would rather see a Facebook Page with 25 likes and engagement taking place on posts then a Page with thousands of likes and almost no engagement. It just doesn’t add up. Engagement can also take place on your website in the form of comments on blog posts.
Why Should You Have A Social Media Presence?
I believe that Facebook and Twitter are a great place to connect with people, however, the days of having a social media presence for the sake of having one is over. Nobody is going to “Like” your page if you are not giving them a reason. Information is too readily available for any industry or ideal so you have to be able to present it in a way that connects with people. Most of us are not national brands recognized with or without social media so using these tools can help if we do it right. It can also annoy if done incorrectly.
You do not have to spend countless hours on social media. For my Photography Business I spend a total of about an hour per week. The Facebook Page App for iPhone gives me notifications when something is posted so I know when new activity has taken place. There are also alternatives such as Hootsuite that you can use to manage multiple social media accounts with one app. The excuse is no longer having time to do it or not.
The question you should be asking yourself is, “Will we be able to add value?” With my Wedding Photography page, I am adding value by posting client photos for them to share. I could just upload their photo from my personal profile but I want to keep their photos separate from my personal photos. Using my Facebook page, I can focus on Photography alone and answer questions there as well. On occasion, I share personal details on my Photography Page, but only if I can relate it to photography somehow. I do not get many posts to my wall but I get a lot of comments and shares. The comments received under client photos that I post are like mini testimonials from real people, many of which are friends or family of my client. When somebody shares the photo, they are creating a link from my page to their profile. Occasionally I will post photography related information but not to often as I recognize that most of the people who liked my photography page are past clients, friends or family of past clients, or future clients who like my work but are not in the market for a wedding photographer yet. At this point I do not have a nationally recognized name, nor am I recognized among Photographers, so I keep my content geared toward people who just generally like wedding photography. Because of this, I am not confusing my brand or alienating people by talking about topics that do not relate to them. I could start to talk more about photography technique, but at this point I am marketing myself as a wedding photographer, not a photography instructor.
I believe the bottom line is that if you can find a way to keep a conversation going with your audience, social media is a good idea for you and/or your business. However, just having a Facebook Page for the sake of having one is not a good idea. Wherever you have a presence you need to be active in that space. I prefer an online presence over an in-person presence because I am just one person. I feel that I can spread myself around more online than I can in person and to be honest, it takes way less time to do it this way. I have a greater reach than most Photographers that attend every trade show and take part in more old-world advertising methods such as the phonebook or newspaper.
Learn More About Facebook Pages for Business
I get so many questions about how to use Facebook Pages that I created a free online course for it. Visit my course titled: Introduction to Facebook Pages for Businesses and Organizations. Because of this course, I was a featured instructor on Udemy for a couple of months in a row. I produced the course for free because most of what I know about online marketing I have learned through free or close to free resources. I enjoy giving back to the “internet” and helping people figure things out the same way I did when I was learning.
So, Are Facebook Likes Actually Useful?
Yes, if you are willing to cultivate them as if they are relationships in the face-to-face world.
Think of “Likes” as “People,” because they are.
Your etiquette should be the same as it would be if you were conversing with each person in a real life situation. When you think about posting something to your Facebook wall or contemplate sending out a mass email to all who Like your page, think about how that would come across if you were actually emailing them directly. Better yet, how would it come across if you were taking your message door to door. Everything should be as personal as you can make it.
If you are having a hard time figuring out how to do this, see how others are doing it in your industry or one like it. The great thing about the internet is that it’s easy to find things to compare against.
There are tools that can be used to find the usefulness of your current Likes as well. With each “like” that is connected to a person’s social media profile comes the users information that they voluntarily gave to Facebook. Because that information is in Facebook’s database, we can use tools to find out just how interested those Likes are in what our business or organization is about. For example, I can use tools to find out how many of my current Facebook Likes are “Engaged to be married.” This would tell how many of my current likes are potential clients. I could also sort by age and marital status to determine how many parents I have as fans. Parents are also potential clients. Cultivating a community on Facebook starts to look more useful when you start to look at it from this angle.
In the future I will release a second course that will teach more about how to use Facebook Pages to grow your business.
If you need help getting started, contact us, we can help point you in the right direction.