Photography fan pages are pretty common these days as they’re an excellent way of keeping up to date with clients, sharing current and past work, and finding potential customers. I pride myself on my Facebook fan page, which I update almost every day, and have grown for the past 10 months. Very few of you know this, but I actually used to spend a lot of time writing for a website on internet marketing, so I know a thing or two about setting up a decent looking fan page, which will do your career a lot of good.
When registering your fan page, the first thing you’re going to want to do is select the right category, and I find it’s best to list yourself as a website, rather than a public figure. Couple reasons for this, the first being that you look a bit ridiculous when you’ve got 12 fans and you’re calling yourself a public figure. Secondly, when you do become a massive success, there are limitations in place when you reach 10,000 fans and you’re not listed as a website, so make sure you get that right. I wouldn’t be surprised if this changed now that Facebook is allowing subscriptions though.
One of the good things about having your own fan page is that it can turn up in Google if they deem it relevant enough, but to do so, you have to include the right sort of information. To do this, you need to edit the basic information section of your page and say what you’re about. Have a look at mine below to see what I mean.
You need to use as many keywords as you can, which may be similar to the following:
Brighton based photographer, specializing in portrait and landscape photography.
Then when someone Google’s ‘Brighton portrait photographer’, there’s a better chance that you’re going to pop up. Fill in as much of this information as is relevant to you, but try not to repeat yourself. This section is useful for search engines, but I don’t typically read them myself; I prefer to focus my information on the profile picture, or the about section on the page. The about section will appear under the profile picture, but above the like counter, and can be used to attract new visitors who are viewing the page for the first time. It costs nothing to fill in, so don’t avoid this.
The profile picture is a little bit more complicated than what you may be used to, because this is where you can really try to promote your page. What you may not be aware of is that you have 180 x 540 pixels to work with, so you can use that space to either display a picture, or some text that will entice your visitor to click like. I’ve personally used both, as you can see below, but I currently prefer the simple version.
With the simple version of the profile image, I can do three different things. Firstly, I display my full name and logo at the bottom, just so that there’s no confusion, I can include a photo of one of my models, and I can include my logo icon. The logo icon is especially important because it’s what people see when I comment on a post, or write something on my wall. It helps to build upon my brand, and it can do the same for you if you choose the right one. It doesn’t have to be a logo as such, maybe just your name, or your favorite photo, but something that you want to associate with yourself. The choice of a portrait was a no brainer, because I can change this once a month to a new photo, which will attract the attention of new and old visitors. You have to keep your fans entertained.
If you’re planning on using the Facebook banner on your page, then that’s fine, but I would warn you off of using any fancy custom banners, and make sure you have at least five photos if you do activate it. The reason I say that you shouldn’t use these custom banners is because this is the perfect space to display some of your own photography, which will get people interested in what you have to offer. And obviously, make sure you have five photos because there’s five boxes, and you don’t want any empty, but you’re going to uploading lots of photos so there’s nothing to worry about.
All photography fan pages should have a portfolio on them, but I’m aware that people are still worried about sharing their photos on Facebook. Don’t be. So long as you take care of how you put them up, no one will steal them and use them for anything worthwhile.
The first thing you will want to do is learn how to professionally share your photos on the internet, which you can read about here. Make sure you pay very close attention to how it’s done, because it’s deceptively important. Things like colour profiles and image size are very important.
If you’re worried about people taking your photos, then it’s not uncommon, or unacceptable, to include a watermark. Make sure it’s small, and in the corner, and then if anyone steals your photo, it will be clear where it came from. Have a look at my Facebook watermark below. There’s nothing worse in a portfolio than taking a good photo and putting a big garish watermark right in the center. It’s completely distracting from the photo, and not doing you any favours.
Only choose the best photos. I see this all the time on Facebook; a few good photos dispersed amongst a load of rubbish, so that you can’t even tell what’s good anymore. You need to remember when you’re sharing that your album as a whole is only as strong as your weakest photos so if you’re going to include all of your wonky, poorly exposed duds as well, you’re not going to go far.
I’ll give you an example, I was at a friend’s wedding BBQ the other day and I took 761 photo, but only 156 made it into a photo album. I’m way past taking poorly exposed, wonky, or out of focus photos, but I still make sure that the variety of photos is going to be something that’s going to interest the reader, not 5 photos of the same person doing exactly the same thing. If you leave the viewer impressed and wanting more, then you’re onto a good thing.
The next step with photos is to add regular wall photos. You may have noticed that I regularly update new photos on my Facebook wall, and that’s so that I can keep you interacting with my Facebook, and get your feedback on my photos. You may also notice that you don’t hear from certain pages on your Facebook, even though you like them, and that’s because you stopped interacting with them, either because you weren’t interested, or they stopped posting content you wanted to see. Keep up your interaction with regular photos if you want your fans to remain interested.
If you really want to try to gain new likes on your Facebook, and you have a way of sending people to your fan page, then I would suggest using a fan page generator to help convert more fans. You can have a look at mine here, which is the landing page for my fan page, and if you haven’t liked it, then you can’t view that particular page until you have. There are free versions of this, or paid alternatives, but they do basically the same thing, with different limitations. Here is the version that I use, and you can see how useful it can be from this article, which I wrote for another website. Again, you’re going to want to keep everything photography related, and there are themes for that.
Claim your Name
When you’ve got all of the above complete, then it’s time to start sharing the page and get people liking it. It used to be that after you had 25 likes, you could claim the custom URL, but I think that’s changed now so you don’t have to. Either way, it shouldn’t be hard to find 25 fans, just bribe your friends. One of the first things you will want to do is claim your name, and my top tip for this is use capital letters. Facebook will recognize where you have specified capital letters, so when I set the URL to ExpertPhotography, even when someone types in www.facebook.com/expertphotography, it will still revert back to www.facebook.com/ExpertPhotography, which looks a lot better. All of this can be done from your Basic Information section.
Keep your title relevant, and include the word photography, because ‘Tim Smith Images’ doesn’t tell you that he’s actually a professional photographer, even if you do think it sounds better. Keywords are key when it comes to internet marketing.
Share your Page
The next step is to go into your resources tab and select how you want to connect with people. You may want to take out some advertising, or email your contacts to tell that you have a new fan page, but there’s two options that I always use. The first is to connect your page to Twitter if you have one, so that way, whenever you post something on Facebook, it will appear on Twitter too, which should hopefully improve your reader’s interaction.
Slightly more complicate; you’re going to want to use a social plugin if you use a website. This means generating a Facebook like box that people can click on while they’re browsing your website, which will instantly make them your fan. There are different options for different websites, but one thing I would absolutely recommend is that everyone uses the official Facebook plugin. I wasted so much time not using it, because although it’s not the best looking thing in the world, it certainly helps to gain new fans. My page is currently growing by about 1,000 new fans a month, and I put a lot of that down to this plugin. Don’t miss this step.
When you’ve completely everything above, the very final step is to share it on your Facebook and ask all your friends to like it. I’m not one for finding fans like this, because if they’re not interested in what I’m offering, then I don’t really want you on the page – it does nothing - but when you’re first starting out, it helps to try and boost your numbers so you don’t look like an amateur.