Social media is everywhere nowadays. It offers a huge pool of information and data that you shouldn’t leave untapped when it comes to marketing for your school or nursery photography business. From one person scrolling through their feed during their commute to work to another lying at home on the sofa watching cooking videos, everyone is involved somehow. Our social media platforms quench our thirst for light entertainment through casual exchanges and discussions – and let’s be honest, also satisfies our nosy side.
This applies not only to targeted ad campaigns, but also to so-called organic marketing – in other words, marketing without a budget. Such strategies are therefore available to users from all walks of life. For more insight into marketing strategies specifically for school and volume photographers, take a look at this article with nine pro tips for school photographers.
Social Media Marketing in School Photography, Part 2: Facebook With a Budget
Facebook – the Forefather of Social Networks
Facebook is the platform where everything started, and even today is still number one when it comes to the number of users. 169.5 million people use Facebook in the US alone (as of October 2018) – that’s almost half the total population.
Furthermore Facebook is also generally the most well-known. You can find users from every generation, from schoolchildren to grandparents. It’s a veritable marketing paradise. The different targeting options make it possible to focus on target groups according to the tiniest of details. You want to reach women in their mid thirties, who have children and are interested in school photography? Not a problem.
Organic marketing refers to the art of reaching users without spending any money. When social media marketing first came to be, this was still quite easy to do on Facebook. In the last few years however, the organic reach for Facebook has sunk lower and lower. Nowadays, you can’t achieve as much without spending money.
Nonetheless, organic marketing is the cornerstone of a good social media presence. It all comes down to the relevance of the content. The right combination of organic marketing and Facebook Ads is the secret. In this blog post, we will outline some useful tips and tricks on how you can promote your school and nursery photography on Facebook.
The Business Page
The fundamental first step for a successful social media presence is building the business page. Under no circumstances should you use your private profile for business purposes. Not only is it impractical for marketing strategies, it breaks the official Facebook User Agreement.
Facebook reduced the number of potential friends for a private profile to 5000. That means that you would be limiting your reach from the start. Moreover, you can’t advertise your posts from a private profile. You can find further information and instructions to do with setting up a Facebook page on the Facebook help page.
It makes sense to advertise any photography services that are not related to school photography on a separate page. The more sites you have, the more work you might have to put in, but your customers will get a clearer sense of your specific focuses. Otherwise, you might come across as a ‘jack of all trades’ photographer. Having a clear distinction helps to build a real sense of professionalism.
What Should I Post About?
Social media marketing is no longer a hidden secret. There are countless companies from all over the world piling up on Facebook. Every day, Facebook users are confronted with numerous posts and advertisements. Amongst this onslaught of information, it’s important that your posts stand out. Your audience needs a reason to follow your page and regularly read your posts.
First of all, you should of course post interesting content. Constantly posting ads drives fans away; put simply, it’s irritating and doesn’t suit the general vibe of social media. Instead, give your followers a laugh, something to think about, or something to discuss.
The aim of social media marketing is the so-called ‘Infotainment’, or information in an entertaining format. This could include, for example, posts that combine funny images with relevant text or that express your opinion on a topic that generally interests you and has something to do with school photography.
Keep your followers sweet by giving them concrete rewards for following your page. Try offering small but exclusive deals to your Facebook followers, or run competitions on your page. You could also post links to wallpaper downloads of your photos or exclusive workshops. In doing so, you are also generating more traffic to your website.
What Do My Posts Look Like?
When a user scrolls through their newsfeed, you have just a split second to grab their attention. Make sure your posts are visually appealing and laid out neatly.
Keep It Aesthetic
A good photo is the backbone of a good post because it catches the eye of someone scrolling through. As a photographer, your own work is the best source for high-quality images.
Naturally, you need to get permission to publish the photos from whoever is in them. If it’s a photo of a child, you definitely need express written consent from the parents. Don’t rely on verbal consent!
In case you have difficulties in getting permission to publish customer photos, ask friends and family if you can photograph them. Do your best to avoid falling back on stock photos – but that goes without saying in your profession, of course.
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Social media is no place for novels. Posts should be short and to the point. With long text, readers will often lose interest quickly. Concentrate on the most important bits of information and express yourself clearly. Ideally, visitors will be able to see everything important without having to click ‘Read More’. The less work for the user, the better.
You can also use emojis. They stand out from the text and attract attention on newsfeeds. But remember: less is more. Too many emojis can seem unprofessional. You can attach a ‘feeling’ or ‘activity’ or share your location – the options are endless.
Apps Are Your New Best Friend!
Using Facebook on a mobile device is growing ever more popular; indeed, Facebook has spent a lot of time optimizing the platform for mobile use. That means that you should definitely make sure your posts look good in their mobile formats, as well as desktop. Photos can often look different, and you’ll likely be able to see much less text per post.
Hashtags are a popular and useful tool on Instagram – you’ll likely have encountered them before. You can put a few key words to do with a certain theme with no spaces in between after (you guessed it) a hashtag. You can then even follow specific hashtags on Instagram and then relevant posts will show up on your feed.
With Facebook, hashtags are not so widely used. Hardly anyone uses them to search for content or themes, so it’s difficult to target people, which is their main purpose at the end of the day.
Posts on Facebook with too many hashtags often actually get a much smaller reach. Users can even, in the worst case, be put off a post because of hashtag overuse. Use them in moderation; for example, you could attach a certain hashtag to a marketing campaign or competition. In any case, you can then use it to track the success of your campaign.
The Right Timing
The most interesting of posts still won’t have the desired effect if you decide to post in the middle of the night. Choose the times when your Facebook followers are most active. You can use the Page Insights Tool on Facebook to track user activity across different days and times. Try to always post during prime times when most of your fans are active.
To keep the attention of your followers, you should try to post once a day, or at least every other day. The fans of your page should be getting regular updates from you.
Not to worry though, you don’t need to be setting alarms every day to make sure you hit that perfect posting time. You can plan posts for later with Facebook’s scheduling tool or even use an external tool. There are a wealth of social media management platforms that can help with scheduling and managing:
– Sprout Social
Engagement is the Key to Success
The success of school photography in organic marketing on Facebook is based on engagements with your posts. This number is often more important than your total number of followers. Only through your engagement rates can you see how and even if your posts are actually seen.
This could be a real issue, due to Facebook’s way of filtering posts. So as not to overload users with too many posts, Facebook chooses posts to show individuals specific content based on their interests and interactions. That is considered a valuable service to Facebook users, although it does mean that content from low interaction sites almost never reach their fans.
View It As An Exchange
Giving your followers engaging content certainly does the most amount of good for your organic marketing. That way you get clicks, likes, comments, and, in the best case, shares. Ask questions and encourage discussions.
Enter Into the Discussion Yourself
When someone comments on your posts, don’t stay in the background as a silent observer. Reply to comments from your followers and discuss topics with them; at the very least, like their comments. The users should feel like their contributions are read and appreciated.
Facebook themselves have said that they will be placing more and more emphasis on the Group function in future, to combat the cluttered newsfeed that so many struggle with. There are so many Facebook groups that you can join about all sorts of topics, including photography in general and even school photography specifically. In our blog post about resources for school photographers, you can find a few key examples, but we would also recommend hunting some out for yourself according to your specific interests and disciplines. You can then not only exchange experiences with other photographers but also come into contact with potential customers, depending on what sort of groups you join. Parent networking groups are a great example. Customers often posts in such groups when searching for photographers.
If you create your own Facebook group for school photography, you can then connect it with your Facebook page. You can find a step-by-step guide in Facebook’s Help Center.
With groups, you can often reach a wider range of people, and combining it with your Facebook page is a match made in heaven. You can also create a secret group, which only includes your customers. This way, you can offer them special offers or discounts that are only visible for your customers.
Life Can Be Hard For Businesses Sometimes
Some critics have claimed that Facebook is not the ideal place for business marketing, but is only in it for their advertisers. Facebook’s method of filtering relevant posts for its users exemplifies this.
This tactic means that businesses might find it harder in the future to reach their audience. It is therefore more important than ever to foster engagement and discussion with your followers who might have your posts filtered from their newsfeed.
That’s another reason why paid advertising by Facebook can be useful alongside organic marketing. You don’t have to invest huge sums of money. With just $20 or even less, you can reach a surprisingly large amount of people. As a supplement to organic marketing, you could definitely consider it as an option.
If you still have questions or queries about organic marketing without a budget on Facebook, comment below so that both we and our community can see them. You can also leave a comment on the Facebook post of this article and ask any questions on our page.