If you follow my work you probably already know I'm a sucker for social media, I love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.. not to mention my new found love for Periscope. Using social media in your business can be a tricky skill to master, in recent years the way social media platforms work and ultimately generate business has changed. Emphasis has shifted away from 'How many Likes' and 'How many Followers' you have to now using your social media presence to drive traffic to your own website.
This week I'm solely looking at Facebook, the platform that created the social media boom (let's just ignore your embarrassing Myspace account for the time being). Facebook constantly evolves and adapts, to the general everyday user it probably isn't that noticeable, but for anyone running a successful Facebook Page, you will certainly see the regular and welcomed updates. I'm certainly no social media expert and don't read the post if you're wanting to become an expert at managing your Facebook Page. What I wanted to share is how I have adapted my page over the past few years to a point that now generates more leads and enquiries than I can ever cater for. Also sharing the 'don'ts' allow you to read some of my mistakes I made and what I personally would stay away from!
Let's get stuck into the negatives!
One of the most awesome things about creating a brand new Facebook Page is the clean slate you start with. Creating social media accounts allows you to set yourself and your business apart from everyone else. More than likely there is a host of Facebook Pages you follow in your industry, it's important you don't try to imitate how their page looks or copy what their posts say. Let your own creativity run wild and don't steal someone else's.
Spam Your Posts
Speak to anyone who runs a successful Facebook Page and they will tell you to limit how many posts you write. There is no real rule for how many posts you should be writing daily, weekly and monthly as it all depends on your business, your audience size and your audience engagement. Facebook limits how many people see your posts depending on your audience engagement, so you ideally don't want to be posting more than once a day but even once a week can still be very successful. You may find my recent blog post 'When do Photographers Post on Social Media' useful when it comes to when to post.
Visitors to your page usually have a very quick glance down your timeline, in that very short period you need to keep them glued to the screen with fresh content. Try and keep your posts engaging by using images, video and links to visual content. Don't post the same thing each day, you will quickly notice a decline in likes and engagement and all your hard work will be back to square one.
Write Too Much
We're all a little bit lazy when it comes to social media, with the exception of Pinterest, the average user stays on Facebook for less than 5 minutes. Don't bore them with a mammoth essay about your latest work, keep it short and snappy and if you want to talk more on a post consider directing them to a blog post or website.
Constantly Change Your Branding
Consistency is key when it comes to branding, audiences build up trust with a brand, it may even be just your logo they recognise. They will associate your branding on Facebook with their own opinion they have built up, so changing your branding frequently can undo all that hard work you have achieved. Try keep your Page Name and Profile Picture consistent, whilst updating your branding is important, you don't want to confuse your audience.
Slap Watermarks Everywhere
Whilst you're probably trying to protect your work from theft, nobody likes huge watermarks plastered across images. You will quickly realise that if someone has their heart set on stealing your images, a watermark will probably only slow them down - most people can do wonders on Photoshop. I use a small watermark on all the images on my Facebook Page, I don't use this to protect my images, but instead it's part of my brand awareness.
Here's the fun bit....
Try To Include Images
Even if you're not in the creative industry I would highly recommend using imagery on as many posts as possible. You're more likely to grab people's attention with an image than text so use it to your advantage. If you're interested in sizing your images for Facebook, the longest edge of the image should be approximately 2048px Wide
Try Your Hand At Video
People are still a little scared of video, more so when it includes themselves. Video is the most effective way of quickly sharing your message with your Facebook Audience, whether it's about your services and products, your latest work or about you and the business. Try adding a Q&A video to your Facebook Page and answer some your most frequently asked questions in the business. Once you've mastered posting videos, you may even try Facebook Live Video!
Keep It Simple
Attempting to create a unique and popular Facebook Page can often result in making things more complicated than they need to be. The best Pages are simple. Your Page should clearly state what you do, where you are based, a link to your website and email and finally an insight into what you've been up to (your latest posts).
Know Your Audience
The purpose of a proffesional Facebook Page is to attract your ideal audience. Spend some time pinning down who your real target audience is and design your page to cater for their needs.
Pay For Advertising
Whether it's paying to boost your posts, gain more likes or advertise your website, sponsored adverts really do work on Facebook. I could spend a whole day talking about the pro's and con's, so maybe I'll save the information for another blog post, but make sure it's something you're thinking about in the meantime. Just like limiting how many posts you write on Facebook, I would limit how many posts you sponsor and how much advertising you do on your Page. You can easily spend a small fortune, so try limiting your sponsored posts for the really good content you want your audiences to see.
Drive Facebook Users To Your Website
I recently wrote a blog post '15 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Photography Website' which talked about how important it is to drive more visitors to your photography website. I constantly find myself telling other creatives and beginners to generate excitement and buzz around their work and it's no different with linking their social media platforms to their website. Your Facebook page should be a preview of the services and products you offer, if you excite your audience enough and tease them with content they will soon be flocking to your website. Make sure your website is clearly visible on your Page and try adding links back to your website in posts and comments.
Ask For Feedback From Users & Professionals
There's no point adding blood, sweat and tears into your Facebook Page to find out you've been approaching the social media platform wrong for the past 6 months. It's important to take a step back and firstly review your own results, consider how much time you spend on the Page and how that compares with the generation of leads and sales. Once you've addressed your own concerns seek advice from others, this could be your family & friends or established professionals in your field. They can easily see something you've been doing wrong or looked over, whichever the case, it's always good to get a second opinion. ( Feel free to post your Facebook Page in the comments below and I will endeavour to take a look and post my own thoughts!)
Do you have your own Do's & Don'ts for Social Media Platforms? How have you found running a successful Facebook Page?