Despite the numbers in the headline of this blog post – let’s start with Facebook marketing lesson number 1 – Running a business that depends solely on Facebook for marketing is not a good long-term strategy!
I know many social photographers out there who use Facebook to generate business, and it’s an excellent platform to engage with customers – we use it ourselves. However it should only be a “part” of your marketing strategy – that old advice that your Grandma gave you of not putting all your eggs in one basket, still applies today!
As many of you will know Facebook is now a publicly traded company and they need to keep their shareholders sweet – so their focus is on revenue creation and monetising the Facebook platform as much as they can. So businesses like you are one of the many areas they are targeting to extract some revenue from – notice those “Boost Post” links they want you to use now? Notice how the number of people who have viewed your Facebook posts have now dropped dramatically? Basically Facebook are reducing the number of “business-related” posts from Facebook pages that will appear in your clients News Feed – it’s simple – no pay, no play!
Sadly, I’ve seen a lot of local vendors who, until about a year ago, were running nice little businesses using nothing but a Facebook Page but are now struggling. You can see the tell-tale signs of offer after offer, after price cut after price cut, in an effort to chase out the last few clients to keep them afloat. Diversification in your marketing is vital to avoid a situation like this hurting you in the future.
Now, having said all that, Facebook is still a great part of any marketing strategy, so before we to the detail of how we reached 45,000 fans without spending a cent, lets look at what options we have to ensure our message gets to the customer?
Lets look at the options:-
Option 1 – Use a Personal Page instead of a Business Page?
Hmmm, whilst this will work, you are heading for trouble – this is a violation of Facebook’s terms and conditions, and they will at best ban your account for a period, or at worst delete your account completely. All it takes is for one of your competitors to spot it and report your account. Just don’t do it – play fair!
Option 2 – Disguise a Personal Page as a Business Page?
We’ve all seen this – instead of someone’s name, they use a business name, but it’s clearly a business as they’ve added you as a friend (Business pages can’t do this) – and for the same reason as option 1 this should be avoided! – Play fair!
Let’s look at the more sensible options:-
Option 3 – Use the “Boost Post” option
Now depending on the content of your post and the reason for posting, I do recommend this strategy – but use it VERY sparingly – spend no more than $10 or so at a time – the targeting of your post is quite limited and whilst you see a much better reach (i.e. number of viewers) the Facebookers reading your post may not be the people you wanted to reach. Yes – remember that time you asked all your photographer friends to like your page? Yep, they are not really your clients are they, and you’ve just paid Facebook to reach them?
Recommended but use sparingly.
Option 4 – Use Facebook adverts
This is a much better strategy and you can HIGHLY target who is going to see your advert and it is excellent if you have a particular promotion running – it doesn’t need to cost you much either. For example we use this to market our Photography Training days that we host at our studio and for a $60 investment I know I can sell out 25 spaces within a few days – for me that represents excellent value.
Now let’s look at some unpaid options:-
Option 5 – Avoid posting links directly on your News Feed
Facebook seems to really penalise news feed posts with links in them, and for businesses these are the most valuable as we want to drive traffic back to our website (so you can understand why they penalise them LOL). So instead – post some text about your link, but not the link itself. Once you have posted it, go in and add a comment with the link in the comments – from our testing this has definitely given us a higher reach than we would get if we posted a link on its own. To give you some stats – one of our photography pages has 2,200+ “Likes” – recent posts with links placed directly in the post have been reaching around 300 readers. By posting a similar entry, but putting the link in the comments we are now reaching 800-1000 readers – that’s a 250-300% increase! (Obviously other factors may be at play here, but our experience backs up these percentages).
Option 6 – Use Photographs
Again, it’s the same thing – photos have been reduced in reach as well, but Facebook still generally likes photos – Just make sure you don’t put link in the main Photo area, but in the comments afterwards. Our single photograph posts are reaching 800-1200 readers and again we are putting links etc in the comments.
Now – you’ve got this far, and you’re thinking, yes but what about the 45,000 fans you reached without spending a cent! (It was 35,000 when we first wrote this post – now it’s at 45,000 and still climbing)
Option 7 – How We Reached 45,000 Fans for Free
Now a post about marketing can’t really go by without a little promotion of PhotoProSEO.com.
So, if you would like to know what we did to get 45,000 readers without spending a single cent then we invite you to sign up for a FREE account on PhotoProSEO.com, you will instantly unlock the second half of this blog post detailing exactly what we did.
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