Building your photography business is a process, which means there…
Like many businesses, we created a PhotoShelter Facebook presence several years ago beginning with a now defunct “Groups” page. At that time, we were trying to figure out what it meant to facilitate conversations outside of our own PhotoShelter forums. Suffice it to say, we didn’t really understand the value.
In early 2010 when Facebook launched their new “Pages,” we followed the pack like a bunch of lemmings. We still had no idea what we were doing, but the world was starting to revolve around Facebook, and it seemed like something we should be doing. So we create the PhotoShelter Fan Page.
Using Facebook for your business is one of those things that might not make intuitive sense. It didn’t for us, until we understood a very fundamental concept: People don’t go to your website every day, but they do go to Facebook.
Facebook has created such an efficient social network that there’s a conversation going on for just about anything at any given time. This is a key concept to understand. Right now, there’s someone looking for a photographer. Right now, your photos are appearing in someone’s newsfeed. Right now, that person is referring you to a friend. This is the essence of efficient networking for businesses.
Like any business, we wanted people to be talking about PhotoShelter on Facebook. That doesn’t mean shameless promotion of the product, but it does mean that we needed to carve out a niche and personality that was suited for how people use Facebook.
Our forums tend to be a lot of chatter about product-specific or workflow-specific concerns, but we didn’t think our Facebook fans wanted that. In fact, some of our fans weren’t even our clients, so it was important to use Facebook as an engagement tool. If we can stay top of mind for a photographer who might be looking for a website solution 6 months down the road, we win.
So we started posting about PhotoShelter users who were photographing cools things around the world. We embedded videos that we thought would be of general interest. We used polls to engage our fans and solicit their opinion. We announced product features and business guides. And when we looked at our Page statistics (aka “Insights”), we saw a rising trend of users interacting with us.
But we felt like we could do more.
In the past few months, Facebook has unveiled a new way to handle what they refer to as custom “tabs” and “apps.” The new structure gives Page owners more flexibility in the design and eliminates the need to use Facebook’s proprietary FBML language. We started looking around at what other companies were doing, and we were inspired to change our own page.
Here’s what it looked like yesterday.
And here’s what our landing page looks like today.
We had a few things in mind for the change. First, we wanted to grow our fan base significantly as this allows us to reach more people, but we knew that people wouldn’t “Like” us without some enticement. So we developed a free downloadable eBook entitled “Facebook Fan Pages for Photographers” which teaches you how to develop your own Page, and requires you to “Like” us before you can grab it.
Next, we knew that people were coming to the Page who had little if any understanding about what PhotoShelter is. So we built an “app” called “Explore PhotoShelter” which features a mini-tour, resources (research report, videos, etc), a showcase of some of our users, and a special offer for Facebook fans.
We added a schedule for our free webinars, and added another tab/app with a very specific call to action to “Try PhotoShelter for $1.”
Back on our Wall, we took advantage of the Photo Strip to display thumbnails that were relevant to our offering instead of just some random photos that we liked.
Since visitors to the page are coming from all over the place, and have different levels of engagement with our brand, we think the new design provides a much wider array of information and calls-to-action to turn potential customers into paying customers, and to stay engaged with our current clients.
All in all, the project took just over a month from conception to delivery, and in our case, it didn’t require any engineers to create. The marketing team handled everything from design to custom app development. In other words, you too, can do it.
Will the changes yield success for us? Stay tuned. But in the meantime, start working on your own Fan Page by downloading our free guide “Facebook Fan Pages for Photographers.”