Originating from New Zealand, wedding photographer Cathie Watts of Phunkey Photography is a Facebook wizz. With just shy of 11,500 ‘likes’ on her photography facebook page she boast more ‘likers’ than many full time wedding bloggers! So how did she get so popular on the social network? What things did she do to get herself ‘liked’?
This week I asked Cathie to share some of her top tips for getting started when using Facebook for your business. If you have any more specific questions for her, hit us up in the comments. I’d certainly love to read a follow up from her! Over to you Cathie…
Brand your Facebook page
A consistent and streamlined brand is essential to your small business. If you’re unsure about your branding, a good place to start is to decide on three words that you want your clients to use to describe your business. Once you have these words, be sure that all your Facebook posts clearly communicate at least two of your three words.
For example, my three words are fun, funky and professional. So I make sure that the content (‘content’ refers to everything you put on your page, from your profile picture to your ‘about’ section) I publish on my page communicates at least two of my words. Branding is a subtle art, you can’t set your ‘about’ section to say ‘Phunkey Photography: fun, funky and professional’ and expect people to just believe you… they have to feel like they’ve formed this opinion on their own… after all, actions (even digital ones) speak louder than words… right?
For more (glorious) information on branding read ‘Enchantment’ by Guy Kawasaki.
Post regularly, but not too regularly
The last thing you want to do is to annoy potential clients. If you’re appearing in their newsfeed too often it’s all too easy for them to click ‘Hide all by Phunkey Photography’ and they’ll never hear from you on Facebook again (and no, Facebook doesn’t notify you when a ‘liker’ does this). As a wedding photographer, I have three types of posts: sneak peeks, personal content and a ‘sharable post’. I publish my sneak peeks whenever they’re due (although never more than one in a day), my personal content 3-5 times per week, again no more than once in a day and a ‘sharable post’ once a week.
‘Sharable posts’ are like gold for bringing a sense of virality to your page. They’re those random posts that are totally unrelated to the topic of the page that’s posted it, but people have commented and shared it like crazy. The best things to use for these posts are either inspirational quotes (posted as an image) or amusing images (by this I mean an image with text on it – some sort of joke). As a general rule (breaking this rule can work wonders for some businesses but it is difficult to pull off and must be carefully monitored) I highly recommend you avoid anything about race, religion or politics, also be sure to keep your three words in mind and remember your target market; you need them to relate to it closely enough to want to share it with their friends.
Encourage people to ‘like’ your page, but never ask them outright
In order to get people to ‘like’ to your page (essentially, you’re asking them to say ‘Yes! I care enough about your business for me to read about it regularly in my personal time’ and say it in a public space) you need to make them want to know about your business. Again, they need to feel like it’s their idea to ‘like’ your page, and they need to feel like they are going to be rewarded for it.
When I first started my Facebook page I would practically beg people to ‘like’ it. This gave people the feeling that:
a: I wasn’t very confident in my business
b: I obviously didn’t have enough customers to like my page without being begged
c: They were doing me a favour, and now I owed them something
Doesn’t that just scream ‘fun, funky and professional’??!
Have confidence in yourself and your business. You have damn good content to share peeps and anyone who isn’t a ‘liker’ is missing out, big time! Make people feel like your Facebook page is a thriving, friendly, supportive, fun community and they will start lining up to be a part of it.
The sky is the limit. No, seriously…
Following on from the last point, believe in yourself and think big. I am a 23-year old punk who had a baby to feed, no money and no formal qualifications, yet in two years I built a business that has over 11,000 ‘likers’ (that’s nine times the population of my town!), was fully booked 12 months in advance, and when my mother walked down the street, random people would stop her and say, “Hey! You’re the Phunkey-Photographer’s Mum!”
Really, you can do whatever the heck you want to, you just gotta dream it.. but dreaming is the hard part. Find out what inspires you, what makes you really excited. What is it that dissolves hours for you? Do more of that, and keep a notebook by your bed, in your bag or in the car. When you have totally crazy that’s-not-possible ideas, write them down. Then make them work. One of the biggest contributing factors of my online success is the promotions I run. Most recently, I managed to convince several high-end wedding vendors to give away a prize of a combined retail value of over $10,000. Before that, I convinced several household brand businesses and a radio station to give me product and advertising also worth over $10,000.
That was me… a punky ‘lil girl who had no money and no qualifications… so if I can do that, what can you do?
Make it all easy
Sweat the small stuff, like including your website address in the ‘about’ section at the top of your page so that people can find you quickly and easily.
Whenever posting links, be sure to include the ‘http://’ at the start – including this before the ‘www.’ will turn the link blue and make it clickable. Be sure to to this also in photo descriptions, if you include a link.
Pin your most recent work to the top of your page (click on the pencil, top right of your post and click ‘pin to top’) so prospective clients ‘stumble’ across it.
Keep all your content organised by how the customer will shop. If you’re a photographer, keep your photos organised in genres – a ‘Weddings 2012’ album, a ‘Engagements 2012’ album, etc. If you’re an events hire business, you might want a ‘Kids Parties’ album, a ‘Weddings’ album, etc. Further than helping the customer look through what you have to offer easily, any comments, likes etc that you accrue on each album will stay there and build up. Facebook will always display the most recent comments but it will display ’35 comments’ (for example) which looks far better than ‘2 comments’.
Include details below each photo or post on how people can get hold of the specific product/service that the post is about. All it needs to be is a ‘Click here for wedding photography info: http://www.yourwebsitehere.com/weddingphotographyinfo‘. Be sure to make it a link to your wedding photography info page, and not your website in general… the key here is to MAKE IT EASY!!!
Encourage people to ‘like’ your page from offline – people can text the name of your page to ‘FBOOK’ (32665) and it will automatically subscribe them to your page. For more info check my blog post here: http://lilmissgeekchic.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/getting-offliners-on-your-line
If you’re really commited to cultivating your online following, you’ll need to stay resonably up to date on what’s new in the the world of social media. It changes daily and often without warning. Probably the best and easiest ways would be to follow the ‘Mashable‘ blog who are best for social media news. If you’re looking for tutorials though, I suggest you start with the Social Media Examiner since they just rock!
About the Author
Cathie Watts of Phunkey Photography is a professional wedding photographer originally from New Zealand who has just moved over to the UK to continue her business here (in case you’re wondering why her FB page is currently silent, it’s because of the move and getting settled in before she relaunches her business properly after the Summer). Cathie is still available for work however so you can contact her through her website if you want to know more about working with her.
Cathie has also just launched a blog full of social media advice.
All photography Credit: Phunkey Photography